Monday, June 18, 2012

"Red and Yellow Bouquet" (oil pastel; 9" x 9")

"Red and Yellow Bouquet"

Art making is fun, but can be fatiguing.  You paint all day; by the end of the day you feel pooped out.  The last thing you want to do in the evening is more art-making.  That is why so few professional artists I know of sketch daily.  I can come up with only two names!  After a hard day of painting, which is in many ways drawing with a brush, you don't feel like picking up a pen or pencil and draw for fun.  You'd rather watch TV or read a book.  Or go to bed early.  Quite a few artists create illustrated travel journals, but don't expect them to keep it up at home. 

I am embarrassed to admit that I was not an exception.  Until a few weeks ago, I used my home-made journals as scrapbooks for printouts of my blog entries and family photos.  All I can say for myself is that I have been keeping a pictorial journal for more than five years; the current book is Vol. 42! 

But my beautiful journal books with Fabriano 140 lb watercolor paper were meant to be more than the receptacles of photo printouts.  I was supposed to fill my journal pages with drawings, paintings, and insightful comments.  Perhaps, that was the problem.  I may have been intimidated by the high-quality material; how do I mess it up with insignificant sketches?  A terrible dilemma it was. 

One day, I was rereading Danny Gregory's Creative License.  He said something about how trees died for us and that's why we must "waste" our sketchbooks by drawing things inside.  A light bulb went off!  I have stacks of sketchbooks, pens, and other art supplies that haven't seen the daylight for ages.  What am I hoarding them for?  For afterlife?  It was time to use them up!

Here are some of my daily sketches--some done from life, others from photos--I want to share with my readers.  Several led to paintings.  You see, creativity thrives with practice. 

"Flowers from My Garden" (pen and wash)

"Smithsonian Castle Rose Garden" (pen and wash)

"Limes and Lemon" (pen and wash)

"Pink Hydrangea" (watercolor and water-soluble crayon)

"Snow White and the Huntsman" (water-soluble pencil)

"After Shirley Trevena's painting" (watercolor)

"General Stonewall Jackson's Equestrian Statue" (graphite)

"Ducks" (Micron pens)

"Clock Tower at Ellicott City, MD" (Micron pen)

"Cherubs at National Gallery of Arts" (watercolor)

"Limoncello Bottle" (pen and wash)

"Flute Concert" (Micron pen, 5.5 x 7")

The very last image was drawn during my daughter's end-of-the year flute concert at the Levine School of Music ten days ago. I noticed a boy who was playing with his flute while sitting out advanced pieces. He was bored out of his mind; I wasn't because I was occupied! You may notice that some sketches are on a page with my blog entry or photo. I tried to be imaginative to come up with an image that fit the odd shape and shared a theme.

Now the question is this: how long will I keep up with my daily sketching?  A month, six months, a year?  I hope forever!


  1. Hi Kim, I know exactly what you are saying! A couple of years ago, my daughter and son in law and I did a workshop in Northern Ireland. Another artist who was taking the workshop had a very thick and lovely sketchbook that she worked in daily. What a great body of work it was and an inspiration. So good intentions made me buy one and for a few months I worked in it nightly, even though I was painting hard every day. Gradually, however, I became lax. Now you have once again inspired me. Perhaps we should start a second and new blog called Daily Sketchbook!

  2. Yes, I periodically become enthusiastic about daily sketching. Then life gets in the way; I start skipping it. You know the rest of the story.

  3. What beautiful sketches Kim! Are those watercolor pencils? I think I may try to add color to my sketches after seeing those. Of course I have to remind myself to sketch more often!

  4. Thanks, Karen. The only sketch I did with watercolor pencil (black) was the "Snow White and the Huntsman" poster. So far, I have been keeping up!