Monday, August 24, 2009

Resolutions for a new sketchbook

I found this little nest in our garden last week and drew it with dip pen and sepia ink, in a lovely new A5 sketchbook that my nice nephew brought me from the Tate. I want to be quite consistent in medium and subject matter in this book, but annoyingly, before I'd decided this, I started on the first page with a watercolour sketch (below) - not a great one, and the paper doesn't suit w/c well. Also annoyingly, I wrote in the notation on the nest page that it was built on stalks of the jacaranda flowers, when it's the leaf stalks that are falling like rain right now. Will I ever have a neat and ordered showpiece sketchbook? Concentrate Catherine!

17 comments:

RHCarpenter said...

I love nests and love this sketch! I think your journal is fine whatever you put in it, whatever it contains (mine often contain crossed out words because I've rushed and mispelled something! but no one will see it). To me, the journal is not a showpiece but a way to work through things, create, doodle, imagine - if you choose to show others, you can - but you don't have to do that at all. However, I'm glad you shared these with us!

Cathy Gatland said...

Thanks Rhonda, I do have lots of doodling, imagining, working sketchbooks - just that I see beautiful journals of others that are artworks in their own right and I'd like to make just one of those!!

Art with Liz said...

Who needs neat when you capture moments like these!

dominique eichi said...

You can always carefully cut out the first page. It will look like you started with your nest BTW it's lovely. I love the idea of a pen & ink book like that.

Robyn said...

Ah, I recognise a kindred spirit! Of course nobody is going to fail to love this sketchbook because it has a lovely watercolour at the beginning. But, I know how you feel. The only sketchbook I have that looks like a real sketchbook is the cheapest, the one I don't care if I mess up, all the others are either empty or far from full because I am in awe of the process. Silly isn't it?

vivien said...

I don't think it matters at all about being consistent with media - it adds interest to see a variety.

I do have some sketchbooks that are purely for certain themes - like ones just for the coast and others just for the waterways project.

Other books are much more random.

The nest is a lovely drawing.

I stick things into sketchbooks that were worked on odd sheets of paper (and they are ideal for hiding works I'm really unhappy with!)

Cathy Gatland said...

Hi Liz - I have to admit neatness is not my forté! But I'll keep trying...

Nice to see you again Dominique! I could, except I drew it on the back of the w/c - I didn't want to waste paper, did I? Ah well, it will puzzle the archivists for centuries no doubt ;)

Robyn, me too - I buy cheap sketchbooks to just fill up without inhibition, and they are the best, liveliest ones. I think you have to accept that 'bad' sketches in between successful ones aren't a train-smash, and all add to the total. I can be fond of lousy sketches, just because of the occasion/place/memory.

Vivien, that's a great idea to hide the real bloopers. I love your themed series, they have such a calm ordered feel to them, even if you've used varied media - there's something that ties them together.

Cathy said...

This nest is a gem!!!!! How beautifully you've sketched it!! You've managed to render how clever and artistic these birds are!

Too bad for the sketchbook consistency, but I love the watercolour sketch of the garden though!!

Gillian said...

The nest is beautifully rendered, Cath. All I can say is the little sketchbook I purchased from the REAL art shop 'proper' is still blank as snow on every page. My cheapie that a friend gave me and the dog chewed a corner off - is half full. There's something about perfection that puts me into a mental straight jacket immediately! I love the Emmarentia Park w/c too - even though the paper didn't appreciate getting wet.

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

Great nest - congrats to bird and yourself!! |It seems however we plan to use a new sketchbook, it has a life of its own - so just go with it Cathy it will reveal all its own charm. Neat and tidy sketchbooks are never so interesting to view.
Sad to say I wrote a long comment message on your wonderful sketching people post, but it does not seem to have appeared. Summing up it said 'wonderful' 'so informative' 'so grateful for the advice', 'might make me braver when tackling people in the landscape'.

Cathy Gatland said...

Thanks Cathy - the birds are so artistic, its quite heart-wrenching the little details and bits of precious fluff they put in their nests - and then they fall down! (hey - maybe there's a lesson there for us and our 'precious' sketchbooks!)

Yes Gillian, its a strange thing... I've also got a pile of nice watercolour paper that I just can't think of anything 'worthy' enough to put on there. Crazy!

Thank you Joan - and for the lost comment - I hate it when that happens! You're right - sketchbooks do reveal themselves in spite of our intentions :)

Vivienne said...

Reminds me of all the pencil sharpening, paper smoothing, etc. I did as a little girl, in order to draw a REALLY good Cinderella/ bride/ fairy... and Hilary always did a better one. So no sympathy from me!

africantapestry said...

Hie hie...I had to laugh! I (and everybody else) will love whatever you put in this book and whether it be leaves or flowers...seeing your pages stays a joy! I DO understand that desire to have a book for each purpose and neat and a great showcase, but int he end, the scribbled pages have a charm too!
This nest in sepia it just too beautiful...
Enjoy your new book
Ronell

laura said...

I like the watercolor sketch, Cathy--the colors, your brushwork and line.
I know what you mean about sketchbooks: every new one I acquire and begin in is a chance, in my mind, to get it "right," at last. Sadly, I usually end up abandoning the book and starting another when my efforts don't live up to my intentions. Terrible habit!

Teresa said...

I think you are concentrating, Catherine... your sketch and watercolor is lovely!

Ginny Stiles said...

In Florida in the winter I live on JACARANDA Drive. Although there are no Jacaranda trees even on the street...there are some in nearby Leesburg that bloom in the spring and are so showy that the local papers always print when they are in bloom with huge purple flowers. i love that this next is made from parts of the tree! I have a dip pen but rarely use it! Do you then carry the ink bottle with you to sketch?

Cathy Gatland said...

Ginny, so far with this pen and ink sketchbook, I've brought the subject matter into the studio to draw, but I know of artists who take pen and ink with them - Martin (http://www.wandernundzeichnen.de/) suggests taking a small container used for chemicals, with a double lid, to use as a reservoir for ink - I guess so if you knock it over you don't lose it all, but I haven't found one of those. I'm thinking of trying a contact lens case, which is deepish, seals tightly and holds a small amount.

Jacarandas abound in Joburg - there are quite a few sketches and paintings of them around this blog - almost irresistible when they are in full bloom!