Sunday, February 3, 2019

February 2019 Newsletter

My little, very small sketchbook
and how it solves lots of daily art issues

Back a few years ago, when I was teaching sketching in England, one of my students whispered in my ear that several of her classmates were really intimidated by their sketchbook. Although I was a bit surprised, I actually knew what she meant. I've been there. Sometimes it's just hard to start. If you're a writer or an artist, the white sheet or canvas is difficult to face. What's more, even when you do start, you worry it's not good enough.

To my delight the whisperer suggested, I come up with a "sloppy copy" booklet that students could just scribble in. But more importantly, feel free to put pencil to paper, not actually caring if the sketch becomes a Rembrandt or a child-like rendering. At the time, I thought it was a good idea and filed it away.

Fast forward to last year when my husband and I were in Barcelona. Of course, I brought all my sketching stuff, which I carried in my purse. Then one day, I passed by a shop that was selling Barcelona souvenirs, among them a a small sketchbook. Hmm. I bought it and proceeded to do all my work, in pencil, for the rest of the vacation.

Barcelona sketchbook

One of my sketches--very loose indeed

Happily, I made a new discovery. Not only was I stripped of that concern that my sketchbook wouldn't look good enough, I was freed up to do anything I wanted. All of my sketches didn't take more than 15 minutes to finish and at that, I'd say most of them were only five minutes or less. The sketchbook was small enough for a pocket and accompanied by a mechanical pencil, I was set to sketch whatever and whenever I wanted.  No matter if I were on a bus, train or boat, I could pull it out and start sketching. I was in love! (okay, I spread my love around for all kinds of things--people, objects, food, dogs...)

With this practice in hand, I bought everyone 
 who took my Canadian sketching workshop a similar small sketchbook (3.5 x 5.5, 24 pages).  I can only say we all experienced so much freedom! For me, I actually filled up the entire book with quick drawings and lots of short reminder notes. I believe everyone did the same. 

Later on in the week, we all gathered in a room on the ship (it was a cruise) and spent six hours working on our "real" journals, redrawing the scene(s), inking and using watercolor washes. The secret to the success was that we all took a picture first of everything we were drawing, then did a quick sketch. When we sat down to record everything in our sketching journals it was far less intimidating because we were recounting our adventure from previously made rough sketches.

You can probably see above why taking a photo is so important. My quick sketch of Ben Franklin's grave monument was very short and fat. But by referring back to my photo I saw the true proportion. Using both references allowed me to create a very pleasing sketch.

There are lots of small sketchbooks on the market.

Of course, there are lot of choices. I like using the Moleskine book with a brown craft cover. They come in packs of three, which can easily cover three trips or just daily sketching. It comes with a small envelope in the back for small items such as tickets, and receipts of little items one picks up along the way.
I also sketch in field books or pocket notebooks, which are used a lot by scientists and other professionals for field work. The books usually have a ruler printed inside and other notations. They come in three and five packets and can be filled with blank, graph or dotted line paper.

Finally, I use a couple of thicker books, especially in my purse for when I get bored in the doctor's office, waiting for someone or going on a short trip. My favorites are Daler Rowney, which is really inexpensive at Walmart and Moleskine. They both have at least 70-80 pages, 32# paper, an internal pocket, ribbon bookmark and elastic closure. These are sturdier than the paper covered books.

In my classes, I now give every student one of the smaller sketchbooks. The homework is to sketch one item per week--nothing complicated, just a quick visual note. We're also learning how to sketch in one-minute, two minute, three-minute sequences. It's amazing how quickly your internal critic disappears when there is little time to "bad-mouth" your work.

This may all sound silly, but I suggest you buy one of the small sketchbooks and sketch something everyday in pencil. You'll surprise yourself how good you will get.


What's coming up!!

Seats available in all classes and workshops. 

Workshop Opportunities

Glastonbury Studios One-Day Workshops
All studio workshops are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Includes most supplies and lunch. Sign up early. Most workshops fill up quickly.The cost is $90. Class size is limited to ten students. Pre-registration is required. Only payment reserves your seat.

Saturday, February 9
Drawing Birds
Here’s an introductory course to sketching birds from skeleton to feather. We’ll cover many different birds, using pencil, ink and watercolor wash. Bring a Strathmore Visual Journal/Mix Media with you to class. All other supplies, including lunch, provided.

Saturday March 23
Drawing the Face
One-Day Workshop
In this workshop we will explore all types of faces, including humans and other animals. I will show you how to truly see the face, use facial measurements to gain a likeness, develop shading to create form and how to draw realistic hair/fur/feathers. Bring a Strathmore Visual Journal/Mixed Media with you to class and I’ll supply the rest, including lunch.


Sketch'n-on-the-Go Series™
"Sketching Dublin & Beyond"

Sunday, September 1- Sunday, September 8, 2019
Eight Days & Seven Nights Workshop
Tuition: $800*  
Go to Dublin Workshop.

Contact me:

Winter 2019 Classes 

Just a warning. The students in these classes are 
very liberal-minded, fun-loving women!
Be prepared to laugh, love and live a lot.

Classes begin week of February 17. Come join the fun, while learning how to draw and/or paint in the Glastonbury Studios classes. To sign up for classes in my studio, please email me at Five-week term; limited to eight students per class. Only registration and payment secures your seat.

Art of Sketching 2/19
Learning to sketch actually improves your drawing skills; besides it’s amazingly fun. We'll be  using pen and ink with watercolor washes. Limited supply list
The Landscape
(ink and watercolor)
Every Tuesday morning
10 am to 12:30 pm
$80 per five-week term
Seats available

The Morning Draw 2/20
We will be exploring a variety of subjects and drawing techniques. Limited supply list.
The Landscape
(oil pastels, ink and watercolor)
Every Wednesday morning
10 am to 12:30 pm
$80 per five-week term
Seats available
Page from Art Journal
Art Journaling  2/21
Drawing, painting, collage, writing, mixed media. Limited supply list.
Every Thursday morning
10 am to 12:30 pm
$80 per five-week term
Seats available

For more information email:

 “Every artist was first an amateur”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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