In an effort to build consistency in making and open up some playful exploration I've decided to dedicate a newly gifted sketchbook to 10-minute daily sketches. It’s a beautifully constructed book by SugarBoo & Co., comprised of handmade paper signatures, bound with leather and embossed with a quote by E.B. White.
The quote by E.B. White reads: “I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.” If you know me, this is fitting at times, and aspirational.
I felt it too important not to waste the book, despite having other sketchbooks in progress, to set it aside until the others were full. I’m allowing this book to be a place of openness and play, not restricting media or subjects, to see what emerges. I'm finding some surprises and challenges with the paper, but it was the perfect blank slate from which to begin this practice.
The sketches began in pencil, and once I landed on the 10-minute framework, I quickly jumped from observational to a journaling, memory style sketch. I was enjoying this but also frustrated with how much the graphite was smudging, so it pushed me into trying different media, including wet media.
You can see some of the ghost marks of the smeared graphite above. I actually do like to smear and shade my work, but in these drawings I was finding it frustrating.
So this day I worked in watersoluble crayon and some colored pencil. It's definitely not mixed media paper, so I again felt somewhat frustrated, but equally enjoying brushing the medium on the paper. Additionally, the 10-minute time frame I used as a minimal guideline, so when I'm tired it feels achievable. In this case, I went over the limit.
So I shifted again and worked in pigmented pen, ballpoint pen and marker. I'm just allowing the subject matter to shift with what's coming up for me when I sit down to draw.
I was tired and uncertain what to draw. I grabbed some swatches from a bedroom painting project and collaged them onto the surface, also noticing the marker seeping through the front and allowing the drawing to work with that as a palimpsest.
And then I found my way back to landscape of North Carolina, along with the markers, the pens, the colored pencils and my brushes. And then the chair returned, which is the focus of the first painting above.
While my first reaction to the paper was frustration, I think due to the learning curve on a new surface, I quickly adapted and have found that I love the feeling of the dampened paper, heavily worked and showing through the backside. Those impressions are adding texture and depth to the drawings in a way I hadn't considered. I'm due for day 16 already - I started on the 2nd of January and I did allow for a missed day, so long as I picked it back up again.
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Jennie Traill Schaeffer
Deemed the Kitchen God's Artist by NJ Savvy Living for my sainted appliances, I'm now known more for my vibrant, meditational paintings of chairs set surprisingly in landscapes. Since relocating to NC from NJ, mothering my two sons, and caring for our rescue pup, Cider, took the lead. Now, that my Durham home studio is renovated it's open again for virtual art coaching and the resumption of my personal art and commissions. The work I make is inspired by my joy of teaching, exploring nature, and traveling. On The Teaching Artist Blog, I share my approach to teaching and educate my readers about my creative process.
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