Monday, January 31, 2011

Finish Every Sentence

If you pick up any of my 30 or so sketchbooks lying around my apartment, you will see that there are always 4 or 5 pages of effortful drawings before the darn thing turns into a collection of random notes, glaze recipes, addresses, grocery lists, doodles, and always always sketches of pots. Some of the information within is so time-sensitive, it becomes a useless waste of space. (To-do lists from the summer of 2008).

I have purchased three new sketchbooks in the last 6 weeks. Each of them once held such promise within its blank pages. The little blue sketchbook, perfectly sized for my messenger bag, fell victim to a coffee spill while I was on the go. Its most recent entry is a scribbly reminder to buy toilet paper and envelopes at the store.

I was talking with a student/fellow artist last week about the direction his sculptural vessel was taking. My advice to him was, "finish the sentence." Despite his initial cross-eyed reaction, he showed me the piece a few days later and he had, indeed, finished his sentence.

I have never finished my own sketchbook sentence. What I mean is, I have never committed fully to effortful drawings cover - t0- cover. Because of convenience peppered with a lack of organization, my sketchbooks fall victim to grocery lists.

Because this blog is a virtual sketchbook, I operate under the assumption that I am writing to the public. I have not put many of my own pen and paper sketches in here: it's been more about ideas. However, I would like to make a public commitment to finishing the sentence in my real sketchbook like I do in the virtual one. Not every drawing needs to be masterpiece - worthy. It's a sketchbook, after all. However, I need to finish what I start and give enough dignity to my visions to see them through. I vow to update regularly on this commitment and risk public shame if I let the grocery list monster in.

My newest prize, a goldenrod colored flexi-sketch, contains 300 perfect 8"x8" pages. This book is ripe with promise. I even purchased 3 new ink pens to draw with. Sigh. The drawing here is on page #2 . . .


  1. I admire your resolve. I, myself, have never been able to bond with my sketchbooks either and have their numerous scribbled abandoned carcasses to prove it. Last year I started using those very small moleskin journals, preferably graphed (fear of blank pages?), to sketch in. Easy to carry with me and fill. Apparently I just needed a reduced level of sketchbook commitment :)

  2. Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone in my pen-to-paper issues, Barbara. :) I once assumed that simply buying a more expensive sketchbook would force me to treat it with more respect.