I love sketchbooks. I always have several on the go at any one time and at the moment I am using three.
I always have an A4 workbook in which to record ideas (both drawn and written). I also put things I’ve read that are interesting or relevant to my thinking in there – it’s a dumping ground for all concepts and ideas.
I have a smaller A5 sketchbook that I slip in my pocket and take out on walks. These drawings are quick, rough and would probably mean nothing to others. They are my own personal hieroglyphics.
At the moment I also have a rather lovely moleskin watercolour sketchbook (the drawings you see here come from it). It is landscape in format and opens out into a really wide spread that is perfect for Norfolk drawings. I am enjoying the process of filling it up with rather splodgy, wet paintings. They are done from memory – I think myself into a place and see where the paint leads me.
Working in sketchbooks is all well and good – I do a lot of it. But recently I have been wondering whether it is just prevarication. These are quick sketches, rather carelessly done. I’m a great one for splashing paint around so naturally everything ends up blotchy and a bit messy. What, I ask myself, are these sketches for?
Well – all thinking, drawing and making has to be relevant to my practice. Every time I make something or draw something leads me onto the next thing. Progression can’t happen without doing and at the moment I am feeling a great need to put these rather scrappy drawings onto a firmer footing – to recognise that drawing is a very big part of what I do.
It was Terry Frost who said that thinking happened before and after making a picture but that painting was all about putting paint on canvas. I want to explore paint on paper or even paint on canvas – to get to know these materials more intimately and to turn my sketchbook drawings into artworks in their own right.
I’m starting by re-doing these drawings on a nice, big piece of watercolour paper – with no creases, splashes or smudges ….. I’ll let you know how I get on.