What a wonderful day it was Sunday afternoon at the Willoughby Wallace Memorial Library in Stony Creek, CT. There were 7 of us all together at the workshop. Some familiar faces, others I met just recently and a few brand new friends.
We gathered the tables in a circular formation and I talked - which I always feel I talk too much when I teach - even though that's what I'm suppose to do.:) -
We shared our reason for participating with is always fun to hear why.
We went over a variety of art materials that are often used for sketchbook journaling. I love when students bring their own supplies in because we all end up learning more about the wide array of art supplies available to create with... and that makes me excited! ..... planning my next trip to the art store!
I shared with the class one of my favorite books by Danny Gregory - The Creative License -
I"ve had this book for over 12 years and I so often pull it off the shelf when I need both encouragement and a kick in the pants! Note to self -in future classes - read few short passages to give the class a flavor of Danny's insights and writing style.
I passed around my journals so that everyone could glance through -not that I was really hesitated about sharing but afterwards, after flipping through a book quickly, I noticed.... "yikes that's a terrible drawing - why would I want to show them that!" -
That's when the lightbulb moment went on for me. I realized that is exactly what they needed to see - they needed me to honest and transparent. To show them exactly what my sketchbook looks like. Not a polished version. I could almost sense everyone's shoulders relaxed and I could hear a big sigh around the room.
If I showed them a beautiful sketchbook with page after page of perfect drawings then I would be faking it. Instead they got to see all - the good the bad and the ugly! Which leads me into my first lesson I learned from teaching a Sketchbook Journaling Class.
1. Totally Unique yet So Similar. Even though our backgrounds and experiences are so unique and different from one another, we all seemed to struggle with what should our sketchbook look like? Is it ok to have grocery lists? or a to-do list scribbled inside? and random notes or should every page be filled with a perfectly composed and exquisitely rendered illustration?
Phew - what a relief it was to know we are all on this same journey together and we don't have to have a perfect looking sketchbooks - this is where we can let mistakes happen. Ugly drawings happen. Even non- art stuff happen. Giving ourselves permission to not look perfect all the time.
The goal of sketchbook journaling is about recording and embracing everyday life. It's about discovering and enjoying your life as a whole where your everyday is woven into you art and your art is woven into your everyday.
2. Getting Started or Sticking to It -We all seemed to struggle with how to either start or how to stick to it. I had a hunch that this topic was going to come up so I copied a few 30 Day Drawing Challenges from one of my favorite websites - Sketchbook Skool - here's the link - they're a great resource for online sketchbook classes, blog tips and a friendly supportive community. I saved these challenges as a pdf so if you want to download them - click here.
The topic of a 30 day challenge came up several times and I think most of us, including me, were feeling the same way. Excited to try this Challenge but also a little apprehensive.
Before I dive in.... what am I getting myself into???
3.Create art in community is a necessity. At the end we shared contact information and from what I could gather the group was interested in getting together again.
Speaking from a personal point of view, often times artists are required to work for long hours independently on their art and developing their skills. And I don't mind, I enjoy my quiet studio where I can fully concentrate.
However, there are times when I need to be around other artists or creative types. It's in that community that I fill my creative well, gain new ideas, listen to others share their stories or process. Its funny because I feel like when one creative person meets another that common thread connects so quickly it creates an unexplainable synergy.
I think it's good for our health that we learn from each other about each others life, about new techniques, materials... we even shared cooking tips and recipes! Of course it was wonderful to have my husband Dean there to talk about cooking, food and all things kitchen-ee -
and at the end we enjoyed his homemade carrot cake. I think I'm going to illustrate his recipe !
All in all it was a fabulous day! Lot's of ideas whirling around about future classes and definitely looking forward to our next gathering! So I'll leave you with a recipe that I illustrated for Dean's Chicken Soup Recipe - feel free to download it and even follow along - and if you do try it, please leave a comment below and let us know if you like it!
Creating Art in a Community is like Chicken Soup for the Soul
Cheers! and happy drawing and painting!
Linda and Dean
Branford, CT 06405
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