Full 12x18 inch page spread in my
Fabriano Venezia sketchbook, drawing done in
Sharpie pen with Grumbacher watercolorOn Monday's meeting of the MCBA Visual Journal Collective we had nature and travel journal keeper Pat Beaubien in the studio showing us her fantastic journals and talking about her journaling/art habits and how they have changed or grown over the years as a part of keeping a journal. I have to say I was so inspired by her work. She keeps these large journals, both handmade with watercolor paper and Fabriano Venezia more recently, all between 8x10 and 9x12 in size and she fills them with absolutely fantastic watercolor and ink drawings. She also talked about the challenge to create art while teaching (she was an elementary school art teacher) rather than just in the summer and how her art habits have evolved since retiring.
Funny thing is, I have a Fabriano Venezia sketchbook right now and have been hating it. Because it was so big, 9x12 closed size, it had gotten banished to my coffee table as a Saturday book.
Having this beautiful journal as my Saturday book was not really a bad thing, it is just that I had sort of given up on it as something to use more frequently and fill up in a timely fashion and was looking at it more as a spare time kind of thing (which is never good for your art by the way). Well, after seeing Pat's beautiful work on Monday night I was totally inspired to haul this large book around with me for a bit and fill it up - no excuses or complaining.
Last night I began by hauling it to my lap while I watched TV and drew a pair of shoes from my entryway. I forced myself to fill both pages and to work across the spread with one subject. I began with Sharpie pen for my contour line sketch and then used watercolor to complete the image. After I was done painting, I accented a few spots with some more ink lines and added the text "frame" around the whole thing. I spent about an hour and a half altogether and was watching Chopped on TV at the same time.
9x12 Fabriano Venezia sketchbook (verso page)
Faber-Castell Pitt calligraphy pen with Grumbacher watercolorI hauled it a bit farther today. Luckily the book fits in my backpack and I take my backpack to work with me, so into my bag it went, and over the course of the afternoon I drew the view out my classroom window. I spent about a maximum of an hour on this image in ten and fifteen minute bursts as I had a few moments to spare between classes and during a study hall I supervise.
I do notice that this larger page takes me a bit longer to completely cover in paint than the journals I typically have been using (around 7 inch square). And of course it fits in no bag other than my backpack. But it does have lovely, heavy, smooth paper that takes watercolor well and is a pleasure to write on with pen, especially with the Faber-Castell Pitt calligraphy pen for some reason. Realistically of course it is also great to stretch myself and work differently than I normally would.
So suddenly rather than dreading this book and wondering how I am ever going to fill it up, I am excited and looking at my environment with curious eyes, searching for the next subject to place on the once seemingly over large pages.