« Hermit Diary 60. Full Circle | Main | A Greek Landscape for Earth Day »

April 12, 2021


Beautiful work! It was great to have a tour of the whole notebook.

Beautiful sketchbook and video, Beth!
It is nice to see the whole fall-winter process and revisit some paintings or drawings I really loved when they were posted by you as a single work. I absolutely agree with you that the direct watercolours are artistically more significant than the painted drawings. There is some wildness and freedom in them that one wants to keep exploring.
The pure sketches are equally significant though, and I think you need them as an artist in order to meditate on lines and form, shadows and light. Even colouring them is probably a sometimes needed step for the artist’s psyche. Only then, at certain moments, you can let go, take U-Turns, and just let colour completely lead you. The viewer feels the explosion and the freedom you’ve felt too.
Thank you for posting! Looking forward to seeing your. spring-summer sketchbook!

I enjoyed your tour of your notebook. I particularly like the freehand water colour pictures

Thank you so much, Edward!

Thanks, Magda, you're right about needing the pure line sketches and the temptation to color them. A sketchbook should be a place of freedom and experimentation, of trials and inevitable errors. Showing the whole thing here is a way to, I hope, show that the pages are uneven and some even really bad, and that that's just par for the learning course!

Thanks, Ann. I'm glad to know we agree!

Just a delight, Beth. I paused the video to study each page, then guessing what you might say. (You're a tough critic.)

Wonderful! Once again I'm inspired and renewed by your drawings and watercolor sketches. Could taste the pomegranate. Much moved by the portrait of your husband. Not sure why I haven't drawn for a long time, outside of the drawing I've done since 2014 using Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils to make mandalas on Bristol board. For some time, I've been "drawing" from memory and intuition rather than from life. Just now I emailed the link for your video to a local friend who participated in life drawing sessions at our senior center before the pandemic restrictions. Maybe I'll join that group when it begins to meet again. I'm moving in the direction of drawing. Something is in the way. What could it be?

AM, thanks so much for these nice comments, and I'm delighted that you shared the video too.

As for your own drawing path, what do YOU think is in the way? Fear of something? Reluctance about committing to it?

One reason I posted the whole sketchbook, so far, was to show that there are weak drawings and paintings as well as strong ones. I think drawing should be fun, and a process of learning about ourselves, more than anything else, through the medium of drawing, as we also get better at that. We need to keep it light, not put too much pressure on ourselves, realize that nothing worthwhile comes without failures and fits and starts, as well as occasional breakthrough moments that make us realize we've actually gotten somewhere new -- that's true for all artists, no matter how accomplished we seem to be.

I wish you all the best and really hope you'll plunge into it again. Let me know!!

Thanks for commenting on my post, Duchesse, and for not only watching the video all the way through but pausing to look more closely!

Ramona and I watched this together. She is a cat, of course, and loves to watch videos with me.

You are really a wonderful artist! I love the skaters in the park and the bright clear colors of the still life paintings. I also like the ink outline style. You are more critical of your work than I would be. I'd be thrilled if I had done any of them.

I have been playing with painting this lock down season, starting off with colorful PBNs. I have no ambition, I just want to enjoy what I'm doing. Looking at your work does make me feel like I would love to paint like that but I only want to be happy with what I'm doing.

You also have a really nice voice so you could do quite well if you wanted to do learning to paint videos on youtube. I would certainly watch them. And, you could set up a Patreon account and people would pay for them. I think there are a lot of people now staying home and painting and looking to get better at it. Many of the you tubers do not have a pleasant voice so I turn off the sound and read the captions.

Ramona wants to watch a cat video. Thanks for this!

The richness and depth of the quality of these images on your blog allows me to really appreciate them if you compare them on Instagram. Your drawings are stunning, especially the loose watercolour of the autumn trees in the park, and the red Easter Lilies.
I am restraining myself from buying a S and B sketchbook until I make some headway through the many empty sketchbook I have with me. I am not drawing as much as I should and seeing your sketchbook gives me motivation.

Thank you so much, Sharyn. I'm glad you liked the video and happy to hear you've been painting and enjoying it. Other people have told me they like my speaking voice lately -- that's nice, and unexpected. I've considered doing some art videos, but sometimesI feel like I am still learning so much, am I qualified to teach? (Then again, people with a lot less experience do it!) We'll see.

Priya, happy Sunday from Montreal, where there are LITTLE LEAVES coming out on the trees, and SUNSHINE that actually feels warm! You know the feeling...massive relief!

Thanks for the kind words about my drawings. As you heard in the voice-over, I'm critical of them myself, which is I guess as it should be. I like the loose ones the best, and am glad I managed to do anything loose while working small on my desk or dining room table, rather than in the studio. I wish I had access to some of the amazing pods and flowers you've been gathering and drawing -- those would be inspiring to me. It seems like the sketchbooks you use are quite good for charcoal and mixed media -- I'm not sure the S&B would give you any advantage. I just like them, and find the paper suits my purposes for the most part. But for charcoal or pastel it wouldn't be as good. I agree with you that looking at artwork on the blog on the computer is vastly better than on Instagram!

First time I've heard your voice other than musically - an accent I associate with central New York City but slightly slower, and much less assertive.

Creating pictures attracts me but I'm only too aware of my limitations. I have no instinct for colour - none at all, and thus I was most fascinated by the two stages of the four Mexican men: one or two thicker lines in the earlier sketch hinting that already you were having other thoughts, the second adopting a quite different approach, finished and confident. Echoing responses I had towards the da Vinci sketch-books which the British Museum sadly keeps under lock and key and are rarely on display.

I watched the video, hanging on to your guidance as compensation for my lack of instinct for colour. I find antipathies greatly instructive and began to guess - on the basis of what you'd previously said and before you passed judgement on later works - that certain paintings would please you less than others. They seemed to be one or two where the colour was fuller, even richer. The journalist in me would have liked detailed reasons for your disappointment but I can't quarrel with your honesty in including them in the sketch-book.

Antipathies towards certain works of music (by those qualified to have such reactions, of course) can be very helpful. Eighteen months ago I spent several weeks on Nun wandre, Maria by Hugo Wolf, a composer who had always presented problems when I was only a listener of music. I encountered various less-than-pleasing passages - notably to do with what seemed like unnecessarily extended note values - but V's word was law. A week or two ago during our Skyped lessons V casually revealed she no longer cared for the song. There was no sense of triumph, just a mild possibility that my preferences might mean something.

All this talk of antipathies. I should add that I found your sketch-book to be a sequence of gorgeous successes that I instantly warmed to.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.