Yesterday, I visited a local park near where I live. The spring emergents were peaking, but you can easily miss them as they are often 3 to 5 inches tall. This is an instagram complication of the pictures I took of the real life flowers and the page from my nature journaling sketchbook.
I'm someone who spent way too much time looking at Maurice Sendak and Winslow Homer growing up. Someone who had parents who took her to see anything with Lois Mailou Jones associated with it in DC or Aaron Douglas in Harlem. My hero's were rarely painting photo-realistically, and many spent hours working on one painting.
For many years, I was (and still am) drawn to abstract painting. Sitting still and drawing something realistically for hours did not appeal to me. But, if it's something from life that I find absolutely beautiful and fascination? That's a different story. I will sit there and do my best to draw it.
What I always end up doing is drawing my impression or feeling about whatever I am drawing. Similar to the artists I grew up looking at, my work is not photorealistic. Nor is my work framable most of the time because it's in my sketchbook.
There's a freedom in your sketchbook that you don't have on a canvas or piece of paper for exhibition or display. For me, there's something about having to produce something for someone else that brings out the "fear of the white page" and stops me from moving forward.
But in a sketchbook that's just for me and my eyes?
When that happens, I relax, drop the concept of what I am supposed to do, and simply exist in the moment, moving on feeling, and making notes beside the drawing to clarify what I was trying to capture when I think I may not have achieved it with my drawing and painting. Drawing and painting seem to cause words to form in my mind while the words seem to cause pictures to form. A nice feedback loop that almost always happens exclusively in nature for me.
And preferably lying on the grass in the springtime soaking up the first warm days of the year as I did with this sketchbook page.