For many years, I had a sketchbook with me all of the time. If I had a moment, I was sketching. Taking visual notes of anything and everything. Laundry baskets. Children sleeping on the floor at a folk festival. People in a meeting. House plants. People in restaurants. The puppy. The dog. The dog and the kids. The tree in the back yard. The mailbox across the street from the flute teacher’s house. Animals in the zoo.
Many of these sketches have found their way into pieces of art over the years, either as the whole subject, or as a snippet incorporated into a larger image.
Sketchbooks also serve as a place to make verbal notes – thoughts on my first view of Grand Canyon. Notes about colors or atmospheric impression of a place. Ideas for new work or a new way to use techniques. These notes are relatively few as this book is not intended to be a written journal, but they sometimes capture something about the inspiration for a new piece.
When I went to work full-time in alternate career, I stopped carrying a sketchbook everywhere with me – it wasn’t appropriate. While I continued to make art on the weekends, gradually, I found I only carried a sketchbook on vacations, or on special occasions, like on a hike in the mountains. I still referred back to old sketchbooks regularly when working in the studio, but it was no longer a daily habit to carry it around, open it up, and draw. Whereas I used to fill up several sketchbooks a year, I was now carrying the same book for years on end.
Last summer, during a trip to the East Coast, I remember using my sketchbook on the plane and tucking it into the seat pocket. After returning home, a few weeks went by before I looked for it and I could not find it anywhere. I have never lost a sketchbook before! I did an exhaustive search over a two-week period without success. I could not remember seeing it after that plane ride. I felt like I had lost a friend. I finally reported it lost to the airline, but by this time, I didn’t have much hope. I resigned myself to the loss and put my contact information in the front of a brand new sketchbook.
Imagine my joy when it turned up unexpectedly last week! It was here all along, inside a re-usable shopping bag in the garage. Welcome back.