Joe Hemes

Brainstorming with sketchbooks, drawing, and thinking, is the brain-hand connection that works so well for me as an artist. Sketches are the feedback loop to my brain’s imagination run wild, the reality check for a better, more evolved idea. My early morning subconscious visions are more enlightening as a sketch rather than written. I use sketchbooks to develop my initial concepts and then for exploring sculptural possibilities. For elucidating a sculpture’s direction, I use both words and detailed construction sketches to discover ways to manipulate the real materials. I test colors, paste materials, and glue photographs into my sketchbooks to document the process of making. Sketching helps me translate my creative ideas into the physical world.


Hemes 1 BeeSanctuary copy

Joe Hemes, Bee Sanctuary, felt tip/colored pencil, 5.5 x 8 in.

Hemes 3 FlowerHeadBird copy

Joe Hemes, Flower Head Bird, felt tip/beech leaf, 5.5 x 8 in., 2024.












Hemes 2 FutureGrayOwl copy

Joe Hemes, Future Gray Owl, felt tip/colored pencil, 11 x 8 in., 2023.


Robin Brooks

brooks 1 birchharbor

Robin Brooks, Birch Harbor, Gouldsboro, watercolor and graphite, 5 x 7 in.


I suppose my habit of carrying a sketchbook dates to high school. Our art teacher Joyce Crain gave weekly sketchbook assignments, and we were required to keep one. Since then, I have tried many styles and formats. These days I prefer carrying a small spiral-bound book that can fit easily in my bag or backpack. Curiously, I usually have two or three sketchbooks going at any one time, including one that is devoted solely to sketches of my cat.


brooks 4 pophambeach

Robin Brooks, Popham Beach, Phippsburg, acrylic pen and graphite, 5 x 7 in.


I take my sketchbooks along on my travels and carry one with me on most days. They are filled with a random assortment of words and images sketched in a variety of mediums—pencil, sharpie, watercolor, etc. I sketch with various intentions. Here are just a few: to make notes and observations, to occupy my time while waiting, and to train my memory. Lastly, although my sketchbooks are not made for an audience, I may bring them out to share at a workshop when speaking about my process.


brooks 2 johnlewis

Robin Brooks, John Lewis sketch and text from Americans Who Tell the Truth Installation at Meetinghouse Arts in Freeport while gallery-sitting, acrylic pen and pencil, 7 x 5 in.

brooks 3 colornotes

Robin Brooks, Color Notes, de-collaged, and Backyard Trees spread, 5 x 14 in.


Amy Peters Wood

Wood 1 clerodendrum

Amy Peters Wood, Clerodendrum, watercolor gold leaf, 9 x 7 in.


When complete, my handsewn and bound sketchbooks contain private ruminations, rants, ideas, travel logs, poems, scientific illustrations, architectural plans and inventions, and sketches for my large format egg tempera panels. Starting out as sewn signatures, and carried in a small leather satchel I made years ago, everything I need to do a quick watercolor, colored pencil, pen and ink, or charcoal drawing is with me at all times.


Wood 3 Bluemorpho

Amy Peters Wood, Bluemorpho Butterfly, watercolor, 9 x 7 in.


I am still carrying the same satchel, which for me, is cheaper than a psychiatrist. Fully retired from my former veterinary world, I am also fortunate to be able to travel, and live in two of the most beautiful corners of the country right now. In re-reading my journals for the first time in six years, I discovered a messy trove of random commentary and reports of current events. With another election cycle in front of us, it makes for lively re-reading years later and a dizzying sense of déjà vu.

Wood 6 Katahdin

Amy Peters Wood, Katahdin, marker and pencil, 9 x 7 in.

Wood 8 Puffin

Amy Peters Wood, Puffin, pencil and pen, 9 x 7 in.


Image at top: Joe Hemes, Spirit Bird, felt tip/colored pencil, ink, photo, 11 x 8 in., 2024.