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!

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