South of Ratho towards the East Pentland Hill – Experimenting with watercolour and acrylics in a watercolour Moleskine
I was inspired by you to do a couple of landscapes (very different from yours). So I have to figure out this digital camera ($20 so you wonder if it was made by starving 4 year olds or just what). Technology passed me by about 8 years ago, so it’s about time I caught up…which I have just enough knowledge to do. I had a real dinosaur for a computer so that didn’t help…Not that I have, but I wondered what the rules are if we do something that isn’t on the accepted Moleskine paper. I believe a couple of times people have been cheating–BAD BAD BAD!!! (Not you and not serious).
Nice, Trebor, very very nice landscape and atmosphere !
Delighted to hear that I have “inspired” you to do landscapes. Soon you will be as bad as I. About submitting stuff on paper, other than Moleskine – I can’t give advice on this. Perhaps Leo might be able to offer guidance or you might get your answer in the “faq” section which details how to submit stuff. Truthfully, I have sometimes struggled to use the paper in my many different types of Moleskines e.g. I cannot get watercolour to “sit” on sketchbook paper. You might notice that I now post everything in a “watercolour Moleskine” which seems to accept most media. I paint large, A3 sized efforts on very heavy watercolour paper and even sometimes use watercolour board, so the wee Moleskines are sometimes a bit of a challenge and I often have wished that the paper was of better and heavier quality, but this would inflate their price. If the final result, in the Moleskines, is less than I would have hoped then – no problem! Its actually getting stuff into this website, and receiving feedback, that I find so exciting, Its evident that some folk do “add” sketches on different types of paper but that is not for me to decide and is not an issue with me. All I can say is, without exception, I enjoy browsing through every post submitted in the knowledge that they have been passed for publication. After all, some folk use computer enhancements, others more expensive materials, paints etc than I can afford so where do you draw the line? My criteria is to observe what others do and learn from them while, hopefully, be able to offer some positive feedback in the way that you and many others have done. Why don’t you submit something and see what happens? I await with baited breath.
Once again, good of you to comment. Much appreciated. My “mountains” are “molehills” compared with yours so go carefully. Remember that a true mountaineer is someone who goes in dangerous places, safely.
I have to figure out the camera so maybe Monday or Tuesday. I wonder too–some of my paintings are quite good, then others “not so much”. Eventually I’ll want to remove them from the notebook which no longer seems to have perforated sheets. Maybe I’ll have to razor them out, and I’m such a perfectionist I never want to see my “uglies” again. So I’m just going to fill it and figure it out later. You’ll like the 2 I did though, guaranteed. Without your encouragement I might have stayed a lurker on this site forever. You see Susan who is so good or Rob Carey and you’re like, “I don’t know about this.” The quality of the work on this site is actually very high. I’m sure it will be okay.
May I make a suggestion Sophie? Don’t razor out your “uglies”. At least I have found that as I fill more notebooks with sketches, I can go back and look at my “uglies” and see the progress. It’s quite a boost to see the “then” and “now”. And the funny thing is, after a long while the “uglies” somehow don’t seem as ugly anymore. With landscape especially, I think we tend to compare it with what we see in front of us, and our sketches always fall short. After a while though, we realize that we probably did catch the “essence” of the place even if it didn’t turn out quite like we pictured.
Wonder too, if other sketchers agree with that.
Hope to see some of your work soon.
It’s something I’m willing to consider. I actually go through a period where I hate EVERYTHING that I do. I like it while I’m doing it, then–But I was thinking more about how some of my work is suitable for framing or sale, and then the rest of it not so much. The watercolor paper is actually a much higher grade of paper, fewer sheets or not–it’s condusive to professional work–and then there’s no easy way to take it out.
Greetings from London, where I’m spending a few days. Its pouring with rain so my sketches might be waterlogged. I will, however, try to get some new material no matter how it looks, which brings me to Sophie’s comments. Wise words from roseindigo, Sophie. I would go further to reinterate that these “posts” are from sketchbooks and are, in my opinion, meant to be quick pieces “captured” in a short peiod of time, although some people’s efforts are magnificent and have obviously taken some time. Don’t get rid of anything. Its a way of recording a particular moment, feeling whatever. What you “hate” might please others immensley.
Yes, I’ve taken pieces that turned out particularly well out of sketchbooks and have framed them. But most of the time I consider my sketchbooks experimental, a place where I can explore and make all sorts of mistakes, in which case I often hate it when I’m done, but go back later and find that it not only wasn’t as bad as I thought, but that it may trigger a memory or a brand new idea. In fact, personally, I LOVE to look at an artist’s sketchbooks more than I like to look at a finished piece of work, because one can see the artist’s thinking in a sketchbook, what was of interest, which details intrigued him/her, how the subject was tackled, and even the learning that is possible from the mistakes that one sees.
And I’m with you, there are periods where I hate everything I do too—but it’s only temporary.
I’ve been teaching people in one of our local state parks how to keep a “Nature Journal”, by drawing their observations of nature. Most of them thought they couldn’t draw at all, and some of their sketches aren’t very good, but people have told me that their drawings, good or not, bring back their vacation memories better than any photograph does because what you draw you actually “see”, sometimes for the first time, and when they discover that fact they are hooked. I’ve also pointed out that a sketchbook is sort of like a dairy—-you don’t have to show it to anyone unless you want to. That takes away the fear factor or the need for perfection.
Just my thoughts on the subject.
Trebor, looking forward to seeing your sketches of rainy London.
Loving this post and the whole conversation!
I hear you guys, and really I understand. I would say though that I am doing real paintings much of the time and not really sketching (which I would like to do as well). It would be nice of someone to start an orphanage for unloved and unwanted drawings and sketchbooks–I would send boxes of stuff. The need for perfection really looms larger in me than most. And it’s not helpful, so I don’t know why I can’t get past it.
Don’t mean to intrude on your conversation here but, having way to much free time i’ve just read through it all and found it really quite interesting. It is comforting to know that it isn’t just me who goes through patches of really low self confidence. I also agree with roseindigo’s comment about how ‘one can see the artist’s thinking in a sketchbook.’ Last week i went on a graphics trip to the design museum in london to see an Alan Aldridge exhibition. There was reems of beautifuly finished pieces but what i found more interesting by far was the pages of quick sketches for his initial ideas. I think being able to see the creative process is fascinating. This leads me onto the whole ‘uglies’ debate and i have to say that i agree again with roseindigo’s point. They are good to look back on and see your improvement. I never throw away anything that i’ve done even if it is really awful just because you learn from your mistakes and i like to go back over things and see what i need to work on. As for a need for perfection, to me whole point of using a sketchbook is that nothing has to be perfect, it’s there to experiment in and have fun getting your ideas and observations onto paper without worrying too much about how it looks, after all you can always improve it later on. I know that i can draw far better than i have done on a fair few of my posts on here but for me it is more about, as trebor said in his first comment, trying to gage how well recieved things are. For me this is something that is quite important to improve and better myself. I’m only 16 so relatively young in the art world so it really is a process of experimenting and trying out new styles to see what works for me. When i look at work on here from the likes of Trebor or Boulgakow there seems to be a consistent ‘genre’ to their work, whereas i’m still trying to find what works for me which is why i will post things that i know could have been drawn better.
Well, what started out as a few quick thought has dissolved into a rather long ramble so i hope i haven’t bored anyone too much.
I don’t think you’re boring anyone, I think this is a wonderful way to view the situation. I do think though, and maybe this is a problem–The watercolor paper is really very rich and thick parchment and invites more ambitious work, so I’ll figure it out. I have my camera hooked up to the computer. It seems there’s a time delay or something so some of my pictures come out blurry. I’m still working on it! It may be good artwork/creepy pictures.
For me it’s the moleskines that is the end product. I refer to it as my visual diary, including (mostly) sketches, drawing experiments, notes, sketch&description of a good book, movie or an interesting article. Sometimes I glue in concert tickets, adress cards or chocolate wraps. I never take stuff out, I’ve done it for some years now and I enjoy the unfolding story, even the crap parts. And, it shows very often that your skill grows in time.
Interesting views on this subject here and all the opinions are appreciated. I do think I understand what Sophie means with the watercolor moleskine being better paper and therefore seeming to demand more perfection. I’ve really had the same problem, but try to get past it as best as I can and I keep the junk that doesn’t turn out too. For me all my sketch books are a visual diary, as rene says above. It shows that I have good days and bad days, and looking back over the work it doesn’t bother me to have duds in there.
Just wondering if any of us ever get really famous if we would want the world to see our duds. Maybe we should burn them before we die (just kidding), but I have heard of artists actually dong that.
Max keep up the good work! Even though I have a certain style with my botanicals that is recognizable to everyone who sees them, I’m still experimenting with all the other subjects, and that’s part of the fun.
I think I would burn things before I die, actually more concerned about my writing and letters and fiction. They say, “Biography lends a new terror to death.” I think it’s okay at some arbitrary point. It’s up to the individual person. But because you can try something again years later–you need to hold onto things quite awhile.
Got back from my London trip today and have just read all of these comments. I did not post any more comments after Saturday since the hotel charged a fortune to use their internet and I’m – SCOTTISH! Isn’t it amazing how a conversation escalates? The only pity is, unless you stumble across this “post” others might not realise all of you are contributing to the debate. Maybe there is a need for folk to use the “forums” section more but this would have to be telegraphed to get the attention of all. Leo ? (I’m secretly chuffed to be the “host” of all of this, however)
I cannot contribute any new comment – you have all said it all. I WILL say that I do something similar to renefijten in that I keep theatre tickets, metro receipts from Paris etc but paste these in the journal I have kept for the past 25 years. I would urge Sophie, as many of you have done, not to get rid of anything and for the same reasons. I would also like to think, when I am longer around that others might gaze upon my efforts with, hopefully, joy but probably bewilderment. It is my way of achieving a degree of imortality. This is a comment from BoboMonkey 2:35 am on August 12, 2008
I like your choice of subjects. We both seem to be on a quest to document the areas around us which I like. Nice to leave something on the bookshelf for your kids. Enjoying your stuff.
and my reply – You’ve guessed my secret. Not only am I trying to share my experiences with others I DO HOPE my three sons might get some pleasure from my sketches and paintings in years to come
while roseindigo took the trouble to comment on one of my pieces 9:19 pm on October 5, 2008
I really like these two-page spreads with a whole panorama, and your work is generally lovely. I feel like I’ve had a little mini-trip to Scotland. Keep them coming!
again part of my reply
Its good fun looking back on my travels and producing them
so I’m just repeating what you folks are stating above.
Finally, I’ll try to get some wee sketches of rainy London posted, roseindigo. It was SO WET I sketched things in a small “travel” Moleskine which I had left over from a visit to Dublin earlier. I’ll transfer my ideas into the “normal” Moleskine later – once I get all the laundry done. I KNOW I’ll enjoy revisiting the places as I work up the sketches so, Sophie, take note kid.
I just read this wonderful conversation and wanted to add that I , too, LOVE seeing artists’ sketches even more than finished works. That’s why I love this site – I get to see (and be part of) something more raw and immediate and vulnerable and more essential. Its so inspiring to see people’s experiments: what works and what doesn’t and why. Fighting against perfection is a lifelong battle – and when I am on the winning side its more fun and I produce work I am happier with. Sketchbooks help me win because I am not thinking about selling the final work or getting approval/praise. I so agree with RoseIndigo and everyone else about these things. At first I thought I would only post my better pieces, then I realized that put too much pressure on me, so I let that go. This is my favorite site to log onto these days. Thanks to everyone for the constant inspiration and sharing of unfinished, imperfect experiments.
PS to “Trebor”: this piece is beautifully gentle and quiet. Terrific atmosphere.
Thanks, Margie, for your kind comment. The above has been some conversation, hasn’t it? All great stuff!
Yes, it is some coversation, Bob. Yes, it is.
@Sophie – I intentionally let an ocassional non-Moleskine stuff slip in and get published here. Especially if it’s by a contributor who’s submitting loads of Moleskine art. Or to encourage a newbie to get a Moleskine and be a part of this community. We’re not Moleskine snobs, are we? Art is art, right?
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