Reflections on Sketchbook Circle 2015

I have been lucky enough this year to work with two very talented artist teachers, whose work has inspired and motivated me, and informed and enhanced my own practice. I now see myself as an artist, and the Sketchbook Circle experience, combined with a more inspiring and innovative job role in the voluntary sector, have made me realise that the creative life I have wanted for so long is actually within my reach.

The book I chose is an A4 moleskine sketchbook, given to me as a gift last Christmas by my brother. It’s a lovely book, and very fitting for such an exciting venture, although I felt fairly early on that it was too large for my liking and wished I had opted for a smaller format. However, part of the point of the Circle is to work through these issues and use your artist’s ingenuity to find solutions, so I resolutely ploughed on.

Christian’s contributions to this book are humblingly beautiful – translucent washes, detailed craft work, stunning colours – I feel truly lucky to have such amazing work in our book. My own contributions have been somewhat hit and miss – some pieces flowed out of my mind and onto the paper like water off a duck’s back; other months I felt like I was back in Art GCSE class – cross, frustrated and confronted by a muddy, irretrievable piece of work. But I have learned a lot about the kind of artist that I am and my strengths and limitations. And it got me outside my comfort zone, which is, after all, the whole point.

The book which I received in February from Jane is an A6 Paperchase book with brown paper pages. Although it took me a month or two to get into my stride with our book, I began to find the smaller format much more accommodating; when I received the book in the post from Jane each time, it was easy to dash off a few pages quickly before work from the ideas it initially sparked, which I found helped me with my artistic flow. Although I haven’t had much time to work in this book this month, due to having surgery on my hand prior to Christmas, I filled several pages immediately the morning I received it, thereby managing to complete the Circle.

I have loved being a part of Sketchbook Circle 2015; I feel very lucky to be part of such a wonderful experience with a group of such talented and diverse artists and makers. I have been lucky enough to have my work featured as the header on the group Facebook page, and on the flyer for the Sketchbook Circle 2015 exhibition, and I am looking forward eagerly to another exciting year of collaboration in 2016.

Wishing you all a peaceful, prosperous, and above all creative New Year!

Getting ready for the New Year


Yesterday I started preparing my new sketchbook ready for Sketchbook Circle 2016. I’ve really enjoyed participating in this years’ Circle and have made huge progress in terms of my own practice and in my concept of myself as an artist. I have really enjoyed the journey and the making of the two books I’ve worked in this year, and I’m really excited by the prospect of new collaborations.

This year I’ve decided to make my own sketchbook rather than buy one. I made this decision so that I am free to choose what size, colour and type of paper to work on as I follow the direction my work and the work of my partners takes me.

I’m also looking forward to getting my life back to normal after Christmas preparations, and surgery on my hand, and getting back to having some time in my home studio in the mornings.1451299426229495069833