Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sketchbooks and Journals

I am not a big journal person.  The collection on the table above is probably half of the journals I have kept over the last twenty five years.  Some are half empty. The one in the middle is the oldest and is from college.  The binding is coming apart and the drawings in it are smudged.  The newest one is the smallest journal just above my one from college.  Now, as I mentioned, I am not a person who is constantly putting my thoughts and feelings about art, life and what I ate this morning into a document that will live beyond me into immortality (or shame).  I am also not a sketcher, an artist who works out everything in miniature before approaching a canvas or piece of watercolor paper. I find nothing wrong with that process, I just am not that patient.  I want to make things as few times as possible before being done.

This is what I mostly do in my journals and even my sketch books: I think through structure.  The image above is for a story I have started about the beginnings of cities and culture.  For stories, I do not write down ideas and then figure out an order for those ideas.  I start with an idea and build the structure of the story, going from one thought to the next.  It is an intuitive line of thought and feeling I follow.  Structure comes from my feelings of boredom.   If I am getting bored with an idea, or part of the story, my mind drifts to something more interesting.  I will then pick up that thread and follow it to the next.  In my journal I jot down a beginning and where I want to be at the end of my story.  I will also write down thoughts of what might happen in the middle, but I usually end up somewhere else.  I spend as little time as possible in my journals, preferring to spend it writing or painting or drawing the real piece.

Here is a sketch and the completed ink drawing for a Bartholomew story.  The sketch is maybe 6" x 8".  The final drawing is 10" x 20".  In the sketch I was trying to determine the larger forms in the piece and composition.  By the time I completed the ink drawing, some things had changed from the sketch.  The audience on the sides of the composition are not in arching rows and the council are sitting at a square table area.  Individual faces, bodies and expressions are determined in the moment of drawing.  I like most of my work to be done on the final piece, not on the preliminaries.

Personal journaling is something I no longer do.  As I have looked back over the years at my journals, I find the same drivel repeated every few years.  Obviously, I was not getting anywhere with it.  Like my art, I prefer to spend my time in the final experience of living, not in the sketching out of what I might think about my experience.  I find responding to what is around me far more interesting. But that's me.

No comments:

Post a Comment