February Beginnings

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Yesterday I received my February sketchbook, made and sent by my other Sketchbook Circle partner, Ben. It’s a hand-made A5 book, bound on the shorter side (is there a technical term for this??), and filled with different types and weights of paper; graph paper (I love maths papers), cartridge paper, what looks like the type of paper used to make those gorgeous bags found in gift shops.  I wonder if it is meant to be used portrait or landscape orientation; however when I open it and look through it, Ben’s images suggest he has used it in a landscape format. I also wonder, after some reflection, if the finer, gift-shop-bag paper is meant to be the tissue paper between the pages to protect the images. Does it matter? Maybe I should stop over-thinking this.

How can I describe the contents of this lovely book? It is serene, minimal, reflective, understated. The simplicity is awesome. It makes me realise that a few simple marks on the paper, or a photograph of an empty landscape can portray a message just as eloquently as my layers, textures and colours. I throw myself into art and life with wild enthusiasm and sometimes (often) end up in a big muddy mess. This book reminds me that less can be more. It’s like a mindfulness retreat in between yellow patterned covers. Yoga in a sketchbook. It’s telling me to slow down and count my breaths. There’s no rush.

It has been a really interesting week on the Sketchbook Circle Facebook group; lots of sneak peeks at the amazing work that people are being inspired to make, and also lots of insights into other artists’ work and practise that people are sharing though their blogs and pages. I have seen much which has made me stop and think, and that’s got to be the point, right?

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