Saturday, October 24, 2015

Sketches, Work in Progress, and My Sketchbook

There have been several things going on in the studio this week. Here is the rundown!:

The above images are computer generated "sketches" that I did this week. The program I use on the computer is a very simple one. It's a great way to experiment with color and to get an idea of how something might look prior to starting in on a painting or even an actual paper sketch. The image can also be rotated, helping to see if it feels "balanced". It's just an additional tool that can be an adjunct of a regular practice of sketching, doodling, and coloring. (Incidentally, if anyone is listening, do yourself a favor and go buy yourself a box of crayons and Crayola markers. There is no better way to play around with color in a very low tech way, in my opinion. It encourages a different avenue of thought too-lots of cross hatching and increased pressure on the marker for value shifts.)

New Work:
On Wednesday I started a new piece. It took awhile to put the ideas together. Twila Tharp's book on organization came in handy. She has lots of good tips and without giving them all away, I will say that I tried to recenter myself. (She recommends keeping the main idea or "spine" of your creative endeavor always at the forefront.) I laid down on the floor, closed my eyes, and visualized what I was trying to say with the piece. I sort of talked it out, used my hands to draw the shapes and lines in the air, and in about a minute or two of doing this I was OK. Cassie helped too while I was down on the floor, wallowing. 

I got the design together first, using colored papers, and then checked for value variety, color relationships and all that stuff. Then I painted my papers which took awhile. I want to get the colors just right, for me. So, about two days of work. Friday was for household stuff and today, Saturday, I started in with placing my painted and cut shapes. I admit freely that I LOVE this part! Just love seeing the painting come together. Each time I do one of these pieces I learn about the process and refine it as I go.

I have been reviewing my sketchbooks for this year. There are 5 of them. I wanted to see the progression of my learning over the past months. I'll save the results for a later post. Can I recommend something? If you aren't keeping a sketchbook already, it's a great idea to start doing so. Even if you don't sketch, the actual act of writing is a benefit. Keeps your penmanship up as well as your spelling skills. But, the book serves as a record of what you are actually doing. It's my goal (and extreme good fortune) to have what I think of as a regular studio practice. I am here nearly every day doing something and the sketchbook proves that to me. I mine the thing for ideas, to see how I have been feeling, to chart any progress and to find the gaps and holes in what I am doing. Sometimes it's embarrassing to read what I wrote but that is the "real life" aspect of my real life!

OK, hope everyone had a productive week. Thanks for reading and commenting.


  1. I looked at the images before I read the blog and thought - Libby is simplifying even more - no texture!
    It proves to me that your painting on the papers adds a lot of eye interest and that I like it.
    Crayons are a good idea, Libby. I will get some. I doodle with watercolors but have to wait to get the layering and I do enjoy seeing peeks of different colors on a surface. They are safe and not messy also -
    a big plus. Sketchbooks are something I have used forever. My visual diaries with lots of interest notes.
    My kids want them when I am gone.
    Have a good and productive week. Fall is here and the colors are changing. I hope the fire smell has gone.

  2. Dear Libby these sketches are so clean and clear. It is so fun to peak into other's- like you I always have one going. In fact generally two or three at one time. Love the idea of crayons to get colors worked out. Great tip friend.


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