Monday, 11 January 2016

The Light of Creativity

Today the light of creativity dimmed a little with the death of David Bowie. A unique, continually innovative, forward thinking artist from an ordinary background, who wasn't afraid to push the boundaries of his craft, David Bowie really was the whole package.

'I don't know where I'm going from here,
but I promise it won't be boring.' 

David Bowie

It's true to say that just now I don't know where this year will take me, who I will meet, or what opportunities may come my way, but in the words of David Bowie, "I promise it won't be boring". Or at least, I bloomin' well hope it won't be.

Reflections of a year can take so many guises, be it diary, blog, letters, or in my case for this year, a sketchbook. Sketchbooks are great for really getting under the skin of a person as they can reveal so much, and are a myriad of thoughts, colour and texture. For the artist, a sketchbook is often just another area of creative expression, where inspiration and new pieces can be nurtured and developed, but it can also be as I call it, the light of creativity, where dreams, promises and hidden depths get explored. 

Edward Hopper, A Corner

Frida Kahlo, Diary

Eugene Delacroix, Notes from a Journey to Morocco

Of course, many of the great artists kept meticulous notes of their works, but what has always interested me are the additional asides, quotes, and thoughts such as what the weather was like, who they met that day, who annoyed them, how their painting was going, that sort of stuff. A link to a moment in time that is so precious across the ages, and gives insight to a lost time and era. 

With sketchbooking and journaling still going strong, there are a number of dedicated Facebook groups showcasing the remarkable work of artists from all over the world keeping up the tradition. Within the group that I am a member of the amazing Cathy Johnson, keeps us all going, and continues to inspire with her beautiful pages.

In my own humble way I like to keep something of the year as it goes by. Ephemeral things such as RHS tickets as a reminder of a lovely day with a friend, collected seeds from a favourite tree, menus from a quirky cafe, even beautiful packaging has been flattened out and stuck in a book. Anything quirky that appeals to my sense of fun often finds it's way into a sketchbook, along with daily thoughts, quotes, lines of favourite poetry and of course, sketches, like the snowberries and snails.

A parrot illustration from a beautiful wallpaper 
These petals of iris reticulata have been in this sketchbook for a few years
 and still haven't lost their colour
Just can't resist that lettering,
even on a colour chart in a sketchbook

To kick start January, I decided to keep a rather special stamp and postmark from the USA. This modest little notice came with a letter welcoming me as a new member of ASBA, (the American Society of Botanical Artists). Membership for me was like one of those birthday promises you keep for yourself and finally get round to making. Visit and take a peek at my new member page  With so many of my lovely painting friends already there, (many of them chivying me along to join) I know this will be another great community to be part of.  

Yep, I keep just about everything.

Happy Holidays and Happy Birthday present to me!

 And where it all began: Sara Midda's Sketchbook from Southern France. A delightful romp taking in baguettes, espadrilles, window frames and of course, the stunning French countryside.  

One of my favourite little books
It's true that I don't know where I'm going from here, but I'm going to have a blast along the way. And, in the fine tradition of my favourite Wombles, I'm going to make good use of the things that I find, things that the everyday folk leave behind, (or just don't see beauty in) x 

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