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Relax, observe, play, record

Lavender Field

"Nobody sees a flower, really -- it is so small -- we haven't time and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time."

-- Georgia O'Keeffe

 

Traveling with a sketchbook is not about doing “good” drawings or paintings. Traveling with a sketchbook is about taking visual notes, being in the moment and letting the hand record what the eyes see with whatever tool you have available, without judgment, rules or recipes. Words, brush strokes, lines, colors, collages… In sketching there is no right or wrong, no desire to achieve, no pressure, no expectations. There is only you capturing the moment, wherever you are, in a faraway land or in your backyard.

 

I do not teach techniques. I do not talk about values, perspective or “how to lay colors on a page.” I myself never learned how to paint, but I paint, and I love the “wrong” color, the unexpected! When I illustrate a book, I have to do “good,” I have to perform, but when sketching, I am not making Art, I am playing. In a workshop, I give my participants a few tips to help them launch into this amazing adventure of recording life as it is, in a playful way.

My approach to sketching is not for everyone. Some people need structure and academic teaching, while others need to build their self confidence to just do it! Over the years I have seen people of all ages, with no art training become bold and confident, laying the most innocent lines and brush strokes in their sketchbooks. Many times I have heard: “had I learned how to draw, I would never had dared to sketch this.” It seems that the fewer techniques you know the freer you are to experiment and play. Behind every sketchbook page, there are stories and emotions, and a simple line or color will bring you right back in the moment; you will be able to see, hear, feel and smell. Your sketchbook pages are valuable for what they are, not for what they could become on a canvas to be hung on a wall. A sketchbook is your very own place where you can be totally free and celebrate life!

A pencil, a few colors and a small sketchbook and you have all you need to record what you see, anywhere you happen to be! The important is to keep joyful, playful and beauty will come through …

Pages from Oaxaca sketchbook