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Friday, December 17, 2010

The Sketchbook Challenge

I am sorry that I haven't been posting for the last couple of days. I've found that with all the things I have to do to get ready for Christmas and the fatigue I've been having, I just couldn't bring myself to write. However, if you've stopped by, you probably noticed the big "SKETCHBOOK CHALLENGE" badge.

A couple of weeks ago, Lyric Kinard, Jamie Fingal, Laura Cater-Woods, Carol Sloan, Melanie Testa and a slew of others totaling 16 artists issued a sketchbook challenge. The challenge is to sketch daily in a sketchbook following a monthly theme. The "leading artists" will post their pages and the followers are encouraged to post on their own blogs as well as on a flikr group site. You can find out more about it here.

I thought about this for a while. I have a sketchbook which I sketch in periodically.....and I find that sitting in doctors offices help me to do it more now. I don't do it religiously and it is more like an artist journal than anything else. I started it with Jane D'Avila and Elin Waterston's Art Quilt Workbook "class" we did with the Miami Valley Art Quilt Network. I put in thoughts, ideas for themes, photographs (both mine and others) and all sorts of stuff....including notes I took at the SAQA Ohio meeting in Columbus last month, so it is an eclectic thing. I know that drawing is the bones of art as well as being part of the process of good design. Like most things, you can't expect to get better if you don't practice. Daily. Without fail. The same can be said for quilting.

Knowing this doesn't mean following through. Last year, I swore that I was going to be disciplined as I feel like I have artwork ADD. I flit from one project to another without finishing stuff. I also procrastinate...and that's fodder for another blog post as the reasons for procrastination are somewhat surprising. I joined the Fast Friday Fabric Challenge to try to force myself to practice the habit of art quilting on a REGULAR basis as well as to explore new methods and perhaps a theme.

Well...that one sort of flew out the window. Many of the problems this year were with my health....falling and breaking my arm while photographing mushrooms for one of the FFFC challenges sort of threw me for a loop. Finding out I have breast cancer mets to the bone again also put me back into the treatment/doctor's appointment/testing loop, as well as the extra energy necessary to push when pushing was needed. I'm still a mom of a daughter who is presently a senior in High school with all that entails (cross country, track, college visits, applications, etc.) who also has had some health issues this year (a tonsillectomy, wisdom teeth removed...blah blah blah). So...these are excuses. Lyric Kinard is able to do this in spades--she has more kids than I do.... I need to be able to do this AND keep a house and a garden....the garden is important to me, but I AM downsizing a bit and trying to make it work easier. But I still need to make a list of priorities and goals and mark down what I need to do to achieve those goals.

In addition to the prioritization, I need to look at the time eaters and make sure that they do not consume the time in non-productive ways or ways which don't help me meet my goals...and yes, having a reasonably well-adjusted daughter and clean house as well as gardens are also my goals. But, I need to make sure that I also work on progressing with the art quilt ends.

The first image in this post is of an egret. I took the photo in Florida the last time we were there. On the right is the sketch I made for the first entry in the Art Quilt Workbook's mini quilt. It has yet to be quilted, but at least it is committed to fabric. This second one is the abstraction (not very abstract I admit) of the image of the caged rooster I took at the Miami County Fair. Yes, I need to work on being more abstract. I'm afraid I'm very much of a realist, although I really appreciate abstraction.

In addition to actual sketches, I also do some doodle like things. I tend to make patterns very large and do sketches in which one image takes up the whole page. I think I would be better served to make smaller images and then be able to compare right on the same page what design works better. That's what I was doing here.

Sometimes, those sketches actually turn into finished pieces! Miracle of Miracles! This was the first FFFC piece I did. Since I was in Montana at the time, I finished it ON TIME (I didn't have many other responsibilities other than to help with the cooking, visit my family, and drive food and trucks around during harvest). One of the reasons I joined FFFC was so that I would NOT turn every piece into a large endeavor. I am afraid that I'm not very good at that. Ever the eternal optimist I always think I can do more than I can....I keep on thinking that I've hung up my wonder wonder woman cape...but I keep on putting it back. You can see the finished piece and the process here.

I am adding this challenge, plus I am going to try to work my way through Lyric Kinard's Art Plus Quilt by myself as well as try to be much more disciplined in other areas of my life as well. Things are going to be hard and I am going to have to struggle to keep my goals in front of me. But I am going to try to do it. I always said, Aim for the Mountain top, as you might just reach it. Aim for the middle and you'll never get beyond it. It's sort of like what Jamie Fingal said on her post introducing herself and her method. She used the following quotation: "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars. " (unknown). You can see her whole post the sketchbook challenge blog here.

So what's this last page? My daughter and I were flying somewhere...I think Montana and in the airport restaurant we ate in, there was a rope of chilies. I sketched it...then I started messing around with abstracting it. I was supposed to be doing something for MVAQN which used triangles....this sketch is as far as I got, but at least I'll be able to go back to it and fiddle around some more and perhaps commit it to fabric.


Elin said...

Nice job on the drawings and I give you props for doing it despite all the life stuff that's getting in your way! Oh, and I have trouble being abstract too. :)

Vivien Zepf said...

Good for you, Lisa! And guess what -- I signed up for the challenge, too! Though I think you have more discipline than I, I'm thrilled I got myself past the self-imposed intimidation I felt about the whole thing. I'll be posting sketches, too, when I can. But first, I have to buy a sketchbook....

Michigoose said...

Me? More discipline than you, Vivien? I doubt it! But I do have a plethora of sketchbooks...partly left from High School days when I really thought I was going to be an artist.