Véronique Plesch – Sketching Memories

I am no artist. Often people who don’t really know what being an art historian entails and perhaps further confused by the fact that I teach in an Art department, ask me if I make art. Although I did study studio art a long time ago and for a while wanted to be an artist, I became, as I like to say, a nerd. Sometimes, I answer that I dabble. In recent years, I have gotten used to making sketches in a diary of sorts. At times, I have been able to regularly record my life and keep up with my diary, but don’t always succeed.

Why and for whom do we keep a diary? Although I can’t speak for everybody, I can say that in my case it is for myself and to mark a moment in time. Leafing through the pages allows me to remember past moments, some of them momentous but more often than not to relive simple joys, for instance when I discover the name of a plant during my walks in nature.

Plesch 3 diary (cow) copy

Véronique Plesch, diary page, watercolor and pen, 7 x 10 in.

Plesch 2 diary (Ronzano) copy

Véronique Plesch, diary page, watercolor and pen, 7 x 10 in.

The presence of an image confers a certain structure to the diary and instantly identifies a particular moment through a snapshot that encapsulates an experience and provides an effective stimulus to accessing memories. I have also noted how sketching a plant or a work of art allows me to truly observe it and comprehend it in a fuller way. Although I must confess that I base my drawings on photos, as I record the object of my attention, I prolong the moment in which I experienced delight in front of it. It also allows me to truly see it, even if after the fact.

Plesch 1 diary (England) copy

Véronique Plesch, diary pages, watercolor and pen, each page 7 x 10 in.


PS: Natasha Mayers insisted I share pages from my diary!


Mark Nelson

A dip into the torrent of data spewing

Every second “in the course of human events”

Yields data shards, little bits, some recorded on paper.

The photographs capture our attention, hit us in the gut,

Supply image and color, scale, text and context.

Gluing transforms them into elements of a visual story.

A story enshrined on a page in a book.

A book of responses to the torrent.

Nelsen 1 News1 copy

Mark Nelsen, News1, collage, 10.5 in. x 16 in., 2022.

Nelsen 2 News2 copy

Mark Nelsen, News2, collage, 10.5 in. x 16 in., 2022.

Nelsen 3 News3 copy

Mark Nelsen, News3, collage, 10.5 in. x 16 in., 2022.

Nelsen 4 News4 copy

Mark Nelsen, News4, collage, 10.5 in. x 16 in., 2022.


Nikki Millonzi – Memoir of a Sketchbook: A Love Story

My earliest memory is of her running fingers over my cover, smiling, then softly opening me up. She fluttered my pages. The next thing I knew I was on her artist workbench and she was writing in me. Numbers . . . many numbers, adding them, subtracting them, crossing some out. She was planning a trip. Then a marker glided over it. She started using one color after another . . . she colored over the numbers and then she colored over colors. Music got turned on as more pages got covered in colors and designs. Actually I learned she was drawing a flower garden and it was the middle of winter!

Millonzi 2 Color copy

Nikki Millonzi, Color Experiments, marker, 9 x 11 in.

As my pages filled, she started smudging with charcoal and made shapes that looked vaguely familiar, like the people who visited us. She was drawing her family, naming them and putting little playful symbols by them. I felt her warmth being poured into me and designs  covered many of my pages. I knew it was love when words and pictures were made into a poem.

Millonzi 1 Ken copy

Nikki Millonzi, Ken and His Mac, marker and pencil, 9 x 11 in.

All was going along well until the day she opened up to new pages, set me on the floor and started dribbling paint on one side—blues, pinks, and golds. She closed me up for a moment, but then I was opened, and she loved the way the colors had transferred and bled into one another. She did this many times admiring what was created. She loved me and what was inside of me.

Millonzi 3 Sorry copy

Nikki Millonzi, Sorry, No Can Do, marker, 9 x 11 in.

Millonzi 4 Trouble copy

Nikki Millonzi, Trouble Maker!, marker and pencil, 9 x 11 in.

It was cold the night we went to figure drawing but warm inside the room with the model. She used many pages as the model assumed many poses.

Now it is spring and she looked through me thinking about entering the UMVA sketchbook issue. I am happy to know that I will be seen by you.



Image at top: Véronique Plesch, vignettes from her diary, watercolor and pen.