Jan 16, 2022

Layers upon layers, mistakes and approaches.

I've tried to write about my practice of layering things in my sketchbook several times now. Every time the number of images and words gets to a point when I throw everything away to start over. 

So this image and this post are opening a new page in my search for a solution: after this, I will write one thing at a time - so there will be a bunch of separate posts, and then perhaps I will be able to put them into comprehensive version.

Jan 15, 2022

How I choose which sketchbook to start

I like good paper in a sketchbook. The problem is that on different days my definition of a good paper is different :) Sometimes I want real high-quality watercolor paper with texture and character, other days I want a smooth surface, and sometimes all I want is something that is slightly coated and will let my pen glide. 
Often my favorite paper is the one that is within reach when I have a chance to draw. It is impossible to have everything in one book so I solve this by taping, gluing, or sticking all sorts of papers in my main sketchbook. Very often it is Stillman & Birn Alpha or Strathmore 500 mixed media journals

My sketchbooks are filled with experiments. And that is a reason why I think it is important to not know what kinds of things will be happening in a sketchbook before I pick one. But sometimes it is fun to try and list my plans - even if only to later see them burn :) I just finished Strathmore sketchbook - and this is the back cover where I tried to puzzle out what kinds of things I will be making in Sketchbook #139. 

Jan 11, 2022

Teapot as a sign that the year has started.

The year does not start for me at 12.01 on January first. This switch is an accumulation of little steps that turn the ring of seasons in my head to some sort of beginning. We put away decorations. We put up new calendars. Festive food plans give place to more healthy and pragmatic choices. Books are no longer littering every surface but are put in stacks in the order they will be read. Piles of "backburner", hopes and musts are reworked into a heap of fresh new year plans and goals. And I go back to my routines. One of which is drinking lots of tea and drawing my teapot. So this is an official portrait of my current teapot and a sign that this year is officially in progress! 

Jan 10, 2022

Sketching holiday decorations.

We just took down all the decorations - from all the winter holidays. Even though I know and support the reason for doing it and am very grateful for the space and order that now emerged, I miss the lights in the evening and all the little things we pull out and pile during the season. I combined some sketches of the tree lights that I did - and now I see that I did not sketch even half of the decorations!

Some lights might come back - after all the winter dark is still here and this year I am feeling it a little more than usual.

Here is a video of the process of this sketch (pardon my inky fingers!):

Jan 9, 2022

Planning for 2022

The planning process is always an exploration and I am often lost in thought. I search for words when trying to navigate, express, and tie together all my aspirations, responsibilities, and opportunities into something that has at least some relationship to reality. As a result, I have lots of inadvertent self-portraits on the margins :)

Jan 4, 2022

On My Table: Last days of 2021

These are things that were on my table at the end of 2021, and they will tell you a story about what I enjoyed at this table during the end of the year holidays: 

  • drawing and growing plants from bulbs;
  • lights and a tree filled with memories;
  • making holiday cards and gifts;
  • sending and receiving real mail;
  • painting with gouache and a different kind of gouache;
  • playing with new inks;
  • cleaning and refilling my pens;
  • making more crazy brushes. 
Today I am organizing the surface, putting away, throwing away, repurposing all this to make space for new projects.

Jan 2, 2022

End of 2021

2021. It was a long year. Filled with worry and attempts to make sense of things and find ways to help family, friends, and the world in general. To live without plans or expectations - because I could not change them fast enough. And it went as I envisioned - mostly exploratory and unplanned.  I tried to catch things as they flew by. At the end of the year, I got a reasonable number. 

I sketched a lot with people online. And this year I was able to go back to some in-person connection with people (after vaccination - which was a separate highlight of the year for me!). Some online classes and events. Portraits - of people, pets, and houses. Illustrated some recipes of the family signature meals. I took a whole bunch of experiments with printmaking in a new direction, had fun with the Inktober project. I put up a little art show of my gouache works in the local community center. Did lots of projects for my freelance clients. Sold some prints of my artworks. Went on a tiny exclusively-sketching trip with friends. Saw my parents in Ukraine between two spikes in the epidemic - YAY! Other trips were local and short - but wonderfully refreshing! Uploaded a bunch of videos of the sketching process online. 

I filled over 6.5 sketchbooks - that was a constant, and I am making videos of flipping through them to share too. 

Here is to a brighter 2022!