When brainstorming, do you ever find yourself reaching for the nearest scrap of paper -the back of an envelpe, a cocktail napkin, or the corner of a brown paper bag? You scribble madly trying to get that idea down fast. It may not be pretty, or formal, but the focus is on exploring and communicating an idea.
Left to right: PortTown Sketches 1, 2, 3 (mixed media on paper, 8”x5.5”, $70 each, available at time of posting)
I’ve been doing basically this same thing using a lovely stack of heavy brown paper, a gift from my husband. The paper is about 8”x5.5”, a bit worn, with rounded corners and a soft patina.
I work freely, curiously, without feeling there is much at stake. I’m using elements that also appear in my PortTown series: images of cranes, industrial buildings, birds, and wires; and I incorporate similar techniques: drawing, painted shapes and drips, photos, and collage. The brown of the paper gives me a nice solid mid-tone before I even begin. Add a few darks, a few lights, and voila!
Working on small sketch pieces can be a great way to get things moving if I’m feeling a bit stuck, or my time or energy is limited. Once my creativity is flowing again, the detailed, intentioned studio painting, or the tricky, touchy work on mylar don’t seem so intimidating.
Do you sketch? What role does sketching play in your artistic practice?