sketchbook checkup : june

Regular art reviews have been one of the most interesting, and surprising, pieces of learning I have done so far in my first year of studies out west. I have learned a surprising amount about myself, my artworks, and my process through reviewing my sketchbooks, daily drawing journals, and other pieces I have worked on in the past ten or so months. But by ways of introduction, I should start by explaining what an art review is and the forms it can take.

An art review, in its most essential form, is simply that: a review of the art you (or a client) have created over a given period of time. I was introduced to the concept of an art review in my first semester of graduate studies, as part of a ‘daily drawing journal’ assignment. Essentially, the objective was to engage with art materials on a daily basis and then, along with a colleague or two, look at the emerging themes and motifs.  It has been a really interesting and enlightening process, and I thought it might be interesting to continue doing it on a smaller scale.

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So, here are some of the pieces I have created over the past month or so. They’re just a small selection of what I have made this June, but I must admit I have not made as much as usual due to the condensed and busy nature of the summer semester.

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One of the first pieces I did this month was during the BCATA conference I wrote about earlier this month. Two of the workshops were about journalling, the second being specifically about art journalling. After the talking portion of the workshop, where we talked about the importance of taking care of ourselves as clinicians, and finding ways to engage in our own art making process both personally and professionally, we were given the opportunity to actually do some art journalling ourselves. The photos above are of the second piece I made at the conference, where we were invited to let go of whatever we did not need and to call in what we needed more of in our lives.

It was such an engaging but simple and fun activity, that I’ve found myself returning to it a few times since then. Below is my art journalling response to some things that came up while I acted as a guinea pig for my colleague Brynne, who had just created an art directive but wanted to see how a real, live human would interact with and interpret it.

This month, I’ve also really returned to using nature materials in my journals. During the fall my journals and sketchbooks were absolutely full of leaves and twigs, but during the winter this kind of fell by the wayside. I’ve noticed that over the past month I have been finding excuses to go outside and pick flowers to use in my art, even if I’m just pressing them. There’s something so lovely about preserving a cut flower, something so impermanent but so beautiful, for a bit longer in a sketchbook. Although, clearly my technique needs a bit of work, haha.

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In May, I acquired some really fun fineline markers that I’ve been having a blast with. Every time I remember I have them on my person, I find myself doodling almost non-stop with them. These geometric patterns have been an ongoing, recurring motif in my work for about twelve or more years at this point, but the finelines are so well-suited to the quality of line that I like when drawing them that I haven’t used them for anything else!

 

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Also in the past month or so, I finally caved and bought myself some rubber alphabet stamps from Micheal’s. They were pricey, but I’ve been looking for something for so long that I finally just gave in and bit the bullet, which also means I have finally started adding text to the affirmation cards I began in April and May. My technique still isn’t great — probably because I’m using paint to avoid the plastic container that the Micheal’s inkpads come in — but it’s still exciting to see them beginning to take form. The one below is part of a quote I love by van Gogh: “If I am worth anything later, then I am worth something now, for wheat is wheat even if people think it is a grass in the beginning.”

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That’s about it for the highlights of June; I’m looking forward to seeing what I create over the next month!

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