Flip the pages of my sketchbook

At the opening party for Moments, us artists brought our sketchbooks, which we left out for visitors to look through. I was surprised and pleased that people reacted well, and was encouraged to post my sketchbooks online for more people to view.

I always keep a sketchbook, and work in it most days. Usually I have more than one on the go at once, because I prefer to use large ones in my studio, and smaller ones to take out with me. The contents of the sketchbooks do not always directly relate to my painting practice, and are usually observational drawings from the world around me.

I had a period where I once drew mainly from my inner most thoughts, and subconscious imagery came through onto the pages, but these days I work more directly from life. I find it frees my mind to not have to think about what I’m drawing, and just to get something on the page. This can be a warm up exercise for the ‘real’ work, later.

My sketchbooks are a way to evolve my work, through experimenting with different mark making techniques, using different materials, and sharpening my looking skills. Whenever an artist lets me look through their sketchbook, I feel privileged, as often these are secret places, and an artist can feel exposed showing someone else their private processes.

This sketchbook in the gallery below was kept from 26/07/14 until 30/03/15, and was filled quite slowly, because I had others on the go at the same time. It’s a Moleskine book, full of thick watercolour paper, which I liked, though I didn’t really like the long, narrow landscape format. Once I started using it, it became a challenge to myself to carry on, as I never abandon a sketchbook!

In the pages you will find many rubbish pictures and well as some of my favourite drawings. My favourites remind me of days out with my family and friends, and are a visual reminder of a time and place that will be something to enjoy looking back at in years to come. The pages haven’t been edited – I kept in all the ones where I went ‘wrong’ too, though really you can’t be wrong in your own sketchbook, it’s all a learning process.

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