Sketchbook Update

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a great week! A few months ago I posted about The Sketchbook Project. The Sketchbook Project is based in Brooklyn and houses a collection of sketchbooks from people across the country. Back in March, I decided to buy one, but it took me a long time to decide on a theme for it (for anyone interested in starting a sketchbook, a theme is totally not necessary, but was something I wanted to do). I eventually decided on one, and now that it’s summer, I get to really work on them. Today, I’d like to share three of my journal pages with you!

I decided I wanted my sketchbook to be a place for discovery and experimentation. I wanted to try out different mediums and try to find what I really like and hopefully develop some sort of style. I thought the best way to do this was to recreate some of my grandmother’s art. My grandmother, who excelled in her watercolor landscapes, is my biggest inspiration as an artist. Art is what always connected us, and since I haven’t really been able to see her since the pandemic started, I haven’t been able to share my new art with her. I liked that this idea for my sketchbook would give me a new way to connect with her.

This was the first recreation I did. I always loved how my grandmother captured water. The greens and blues and browns go so perfectly together. The way she paints water looks just like the water at Lake Wallenpaupack, where our family has always vacationed. I wanted to see how I could depict water in a different way. I had been fascinated by embroidery and incorporating it into mixed media pieces for a long time, and this seemed like a great way to try it! I started with gouache to make the bricks and the base color of the water. I then took thread from my sewing kit and worked it through the paper for the water. What I would love to do is go back in and make the foam bubbles at the bottom of the waterfall – I found the thread I was using didn’t quite work for that. I think I would definitely love to try embroidering on cloth, so that will be my next challenge!

I was really drawn to this painting, and I think it’s because it isn’t finished. I liked that, in my own way, I would get to finish this one! I found cool scrapbooking paper at Michael’s that I wanted to use. The pink was a marbled design, and the green had maps and globes on it. I found the translucent paper and thought it would be perfect to use as a vase. I cut out petal shapes, and would fold them to give them a bit more of a 3D effect. I then attached them to the stems and added leaves. Using the translucent paper, I attached two sides and left an opening so that I could stick the stems inside to get the full vase effect. I decided to use book paper in the background to achieve the shape of the watercolor in the background of my grandmother’s painting. I really like how this one came out, because it feels very “me,” but I think the influence from my grandmother is clear.

The last one I’ll share with you all is based on this pencil portrait done. A few months ago, my aunt sent me a PowerPoint with over 100 slides full of my grandmother’s pieces and sketches. Looking through it, I found so many figure drawings, which I had never seen before. I had really only seen her landscapes previously, which isn’t what I tend to draw, so finding her portraits and sketches of figures felt like one more thing to connect us! I decided I wanted to make my version colorful, and I tried out my Posca paint pens for the first time! I really loved doing the hair – I’ve always found drawing curly hair to be so much fun. I just wish I drew the face a bit smaller so I had more room for it! I love how this turned out, and I think it’s my favorite so far. The Posca pens were fun to use, too, so I’ll definitely be using them more.

I hope you all liked the sketches I shared! I really love getting to experiment and play with new ideas to make something new out of something old. And the fact that this sketchbook, which will be filled with my work next to images of their inspiration pieces from my grandmother, will sit forever in a library for all to see feel so special. I can’t wait to finish it, and I’ll be sure to share some more images along the way! If you’re interested in participating in the Sketchbook Project, you can find out more here.

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