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Blank-slate Confidants

 
SB2012_6_6littleGirl copy

12×9" sketchbook, sepia/white pencil on Strathmore paper
 
 
Sketchbooks are amenable participants throughout all our bipolar, ADD induced dramas. Admittedly, dogs are pretty awesome, in their unconditional-bliss-filled-lickiness. But, sketch books… they're our ultra-sturdy Kleenex's on demand. Tuck them under your arm or in your purse, to be sure they're always along for the ride. I have nothing against Starbucks napkin drawings, but there is comfort in being prepared with your own familiar art materials. If you're in a pinch though, by all means document the moment with your napkin, lipliner, or twig dipped in coffee or wine. 
 

SB2010_1_3DeadMouse copy

8×5" Moleskin, ink line and wet brush

SB2010_1_21RandomjournalPa copy

8×5" Moleskin, found objects, embedded in encaustic wax
SB2010_1_24Bound

8×5" Moleskin, photo, encaustic wax, wire, gold ink
During recent weeks, my best friend has clutched the secrets of my self-obsessed conclusions like: "I don't even think I know how to draw anymore". Or, "WHY are you futzing around sketching in here?! You're late on jobs! No one pays you to play around in a sketchbook!!" Regardless of the voices, I'm gifting myself 30 minutes to an hour of playtime almost every morning. This has been a deeply gratifying period of connecting with "something", whether myself, or a soul within a haunting photo I've happened across, or the exploding pink Bougainvilleas cascading over my neighbor's white plastic fence.
 
SB2012_4_01Bougainvillea copy

12×9" sketchbook, crowquill on Yupo paper, gold ink and water soluble wax pastels
 

The focus or purpose of why I spend time in a sketchbook/journal is multifaceted, and different on different days. I find great joy in experimenting with new mediums. So, sometimes it's playing with a new tool, paper or media. Sometimes I want to center myself and sink into a thoughtful drawing. Then there are those painful and difficult days, where I just allow a ragged war-torn emotion to show up on the page however it sees fit. The what or why doesn't matter nearly as much to me, as simply honoring the friendship with a daily connection.
 
I encourage you to treat yourself to a week (even if only a half hour a day) to exploration and play without expectations. After that, see if you feel drawn to continue on a consistent basis. 
 
SB2012_4_4Navajo copy

12×9" sketchbook, Conté 610, charcoal white pencil on paper sack
SB2012_6_9SurlyFatBoy copy

12×9" sketchbook, sepia/white pencil on Strathmore paper
SB2012_6_10LittleToughDude

12×9" sketchbook, sepia/white pencil on Strathmore paper

 

SB2012_6_11BlackDude copy

12×9" sketchbook, sepia/white pencil on Strathmore paper
SB2012_6_12HongKongOrchidB copy

Hong Kong Orchid: 12×9" sketchbook, sepia/white pencil on Strathmore paper
These represent a few earlier examples, as well as very recent explorations, featuring a toned paper technique with sepia/white pencils–a technique I was taught way back in my Art Center days. For a short tutorial I wrote on that, pop on over to Muddy Colors.
While on the topic of tutorials, I had the opportunity of writing one-page "Core Skills" demos for ImagineFX. I will soon reformat the essence of the 6 tutorials here on my blog. 
 
Those of you interested in furthering your artistic knowledge and skills, I will be teaching an information-packed weekend in August focused on how to create idealized realism in the human figure. There will be an emphasis on creating dramatic lighting and choosing reference that makes your chances of success much easier. For more information on the workshop, and how to sign-up, click here:
TLCWorkshop 
 
Don't miss the *** Muddy Colors Sign-up Special ***
If you register for my TLCWorkshop before Monday, June 18 you will receive 10% off the regular tuition price. All you have to do is mention the Muddy Colors blog!
 
Contact Tara Chang at [email protected] if you have any questions.

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