The gifts are all opened here at Chez Bogard and we are settling into the quietude of Christmas vacation. No work or school schedules to worry about for a few days and we all have our new presents to play with. However, one of my favorite gifts has yet to arrive. My husband sent away to Dan Price to get a copy of his long-running sketch series, The Moonlight Chronicles.
When I first began keeping a sketchbook in earnest years ago, we stumbled upon Dan’s delightful work in Backpacker magazine. Over the years I have collected his numerous books about his art and life and have admired his “hobo-artist” approach to things. Dan is one of the artists upon whose work I have kept an eye while developing my own style of sketch journaling. I have given countless copies of his How To Make a Journal of Your Life to various fellow artists in the hopes that his down-to-earth approach to successfully keeping a sketch book will inspire folks to make their own. I am looking forward to getting a “real” copy of The Moonlight Chronicles in the mail from Dan himself.
Yesterday I dipped my toes into the very rich and ancient art of book making. My friend and fellow artist, Lisa introduced me to one version of book making, the end result of which is a classic looking “real book”. My plan for this book is to keep it as my new sketch book. Having a totally hand-made-from-scratch book as my sketch book will be a new thing for me and I am thrilled to engage it and work with it in the coming months. My hope is to make a few more of these lovely books to get better at the involved process and improve my craft.
Meanwhile, things are looking up in the dog world, at least at my house. Even as the weather gets icier, at least some things seem to be thawing….
An exciting thing occurred to me today. I was at a local art store getting some Christmasey gifts for some of the children in my life (I believe early artistic infection is a positive thing…) and I glanced at the piles of catalogs, brochures and such at the end of the counter. There among the stacks was a purple catalog from the Art Academy of Cincinnati listing the winter/spring courses available in their Community Education program. I grabbed the catalog to check….and there it was…my sketchbook course! I will be teaching a four-week, one evening per week course on creating and keeping a Journal / Sketchbook.
My own sketchbook is something that I share on a regular basis with those who know me and those who just happen to catch me in the act of drawing and come to look over my shoulder. It is a place where I capture interesting moments and images, big and small, momentous and meaningless. It is a place where things come together and begin to make sense. In my sketchbook I collect quotes and photos, sketches and thoughts. It is an extension of myself and my process. It is the place where my life and my art work meet and mix, with unpredictable results. It’s my stew pot for ideas and memories.
Over the years I have kept a fairly steady number of books, each one better than the last, I think. I take chances and experiment more now than I did even a couple of years ago. In my Art Academy class I plan to share with students how I got started sketch-journaling, and how I start each new book. I will help them get their own books started and encourage them to begin collecting their own life bits. Everyone’s individual life has purpose and meaning and this is often forgotten in our fast paced world these days. This is why I blog. And this is why I keep a sketchbook; not just for art work, but for the life moments in between the work.
So here’s hoping at least a handful of folks sign up for my class so it can move forward. I am excited to get more “sketchy” people out into the world at large!
I am fascinated with other people’s sketchbooks. Over the years I have gathered a collection of sorts of published artist sketchbooks, the latest of which arrived yesterday. This new one is a book called Sara Midda’s South of France; A Sketchbook. It was published in 1990 so it is by no means new, but I hadn’t ever come across it and bought it used on the advice of a friend.
This book is a delight! Midda’s drawings convey the sense of light and colors and tastes that she experienced in her year there. Like myself, she makes most of her drawings using watercolors, and goes on to name different colors by what they represent to her in her sketches. Blue, gold, and green become sky at midday, stucco, and fishing boat. The list is evocative and endless.
In spite of a wonderful color theory class in art school, I have never been very scientific about my use of watercolors. They have always been more about play for me than about formula. I hope to keep it that way. But Midda’s work has me thinking about my 14 color travel watercolor set in a broader field today as I try to make as many shades of lots of colors as possible.
Also, here’s a daily dog from yesterday….. meet Arp.