An active Sketchbook Journey: The River House Covered / by Mary Jennings

No Sketchbook Project For Me This Year. well almost none.

For the past six years, I have participated in an art library project that's based in Brooklyn, NY called The Sketchbook Project. I've blogged about some of my projects as well as produced videos (YouTube Playlist Here) discussing the thought process behind the creation of the sketchbook. Each year, depending on where my focus landed for that particular time in my life, varied in story and technique. Here is a link to last years Sketchbook Project.

After completing the book for 2016, I decided to stop. I was a bit sad about the absence of this creative form of expression, but really didn't see the return on the investment. It seemed as if the Sketchbook Project wasn't as invested in getting exposure to the original books or in building a network among the artists. 

Feel Like Doodling? 

Sure enough, as I was wondering what I was going to do in place of my former sketchbook projects, I got an email from my friend, Beth Reese titled, "Feel like doodling?" My thought was, "ALWAYS!" 

Living in beautiful West Virginia on Taproot Farm, she was in need of some creative contributions for her Kickstarter for a new and wonderful project, The River House. The River House is a historic property that was falling into disrepair. It was purchased and renovated by Tim, Beth and many, many others. The space will be used to awaken the arts community local to Capon Springs. Live music concerts, art classes, and some amazing local food will be available by the end June 2017 when the doors officially open. So many gifted volunteers have donated their time, talent and sweat to bring the building and property to life. Learn more about the wonderful project and Grand Opening on their website, theriverhousewv.org.

The Plan and The Process

I always like to have a plan. My task was to decorate ten plain, locally made, brown chipboard covered, sketchbooks. I wanted to link the cover art to the essence of The River House while not overworking the cover. I wanted to make the book look inviting, and avoid having too much. My thought was to have ten words inspired by the location and mission of The River House; one word per book. It's powerful what images a single word can motivate. To follow is the collection with a brief explanation. 

Please enjoy and let me know which one(s) speak to you most. I have some favorites for sure. 

Presenting: Ten River House Covers

Music: Listening to music from Clifftop Music Festival, I was inspired by the instruments playing separately, however becoming one in sound. Strings, key, clogging, and even spoons are joined in to make one music without using written music. On the sketchbook cover, the image of the tree roots and new growth have to do with the legacy of this music being passed down through the generations. A person interviewed about the festival referenced the importance of heirloom seeds when farming, and that seemed to fit.

Music:

Listening to music from Clifftop Music Festival, I was inspired by the instruments playing separately, however becoming one in sound. Strings, key, clogging, and even spoons are joined in to make one music without using written music. On the sketchbook cover, the image of the tree roots and new growth have to do with the legacy of this music being passed down through the generations. A person interviewed about the festival referenced the importance of heirloom seeds when farming, and that seemed to fit.

Inspiration:  In the right setting, inspiration can bubble up and create without limits. Big ideas can come from the smallest scrap of information. This sketchbook cover uses a scrap from another piece of art, creates another image from it’s pieces and has the potential for even more to come from that. The back of the cover illustrates inspiration bubbling up and spilling over.

Inspiration: 

In the right setting, inspiration can bubble up and create without limits. Big ideas can come from the smallest scrap of information. This sketchbook cover uses a scrap from another piece of art, creates another image from it’s pieces and has the potential for even more to come from that. The back of the cover illustrates inspiration bubbling up and spilling over.

Words:  Using stamps, a textural background on this sketchbook cover was created to surround the simple collection of words defining ‘thank you’. The image of river grass is there to remind us that tiny things hold the bigger together just like the grass holds the bank of the river together. We are reminded that ideas flow, but words are important for holding it all together.

Words: 

Using stamps, a textural background on this sketchbook cover was created to surround the simple collection of words defining ‘thank you’. The image of river grass is there to remind us that tiny things hold the bigger together just like the grass holds the bank of the river together. We are reminded that ideas flow, but words are important for holding it all together.

Listen:  On this sketchbook cover, you will see the particles of sound, collecting and finding their way to a targeted resting place is that sweet spot of connection. Waves of rhythm swirl and make their path through and around until they fade. When listening occurs the uniqueness of every particle is recognized and received.

Listen: 

On this sketchbook cover, you will see the particles of sound, collecting and finding their way to a targeted resting place is that sweet spot of connection. Waves of rhythm swirl and make their path through and around until they fade. When listening occurs the uniqueness of every particle is recognized and received.

Gather:  On this sketchbook cover, you will see a drawing that illustrates two patterns coming together, but originating from different places, intended to represent a being with different mindsets. These connections can be made in a common, safe space. When two or more are gathered, a wonderful and new thing occurs. A new surface, more solid surface is made. Gathering is strengthening.

Gather: 

On this sketchbook cover, you will see a drawing that illustrates two patterns coming together, but originating from different places, intended to represent a being with different mindsets. These connections can be made in a common, safe space. When two or more are gathered, a wonderful and new thing occurs. A new surface, more solid surface is made. Gathering is strengthening.

Flow: This sketchbook cover illustrates the flow of a small river. Like the river, creativity flows if given space. The river never stops; it goes on an on. It gives life and goes around what is in it’s path as if it wasn’t an issue. The flow of the river is telling a us a story and demands our respect. The power of the flow is capable of destruction and can easily gives life as well.

Flow:

This sketchbook cover illustrates the flow of a small river. Like the river, creativity flows if given space. The river never stops; it goes on an on. It gives life and goes around what is in it’s path as if it wasn’t an issue. The flow of the river is telling a us a story and demands our respect. The power of the flow is capable of destruction and can easily gives life as well.

Creativity: On this sketchbook cover, everything is at play. The atmosphere, seed and roots are all at play when creativity is on call. The proper relationship to all of these elements are key. Knowing the structure of it’s growth process is vital. As with creativity, its important to recognize sickness as well as nurturing its healthy growth.

Creativity:

On this sketchbook cover, everything is at play. The atmosphere, seed and roots are all at play when creativity is on call. The proper relationship to all of these elements are key. Knowing the structure of it’s growth process is vital. As with creativity, its important to recognize sickness as well as nurturing its healthy growth.

Rhythm: On this sketchbook cover, an illustration is used to represent the patterns of sound, unexpected and pleasing how they come together to make a cohesive structure. The harmony of light and dark, complex and simple, similar and opposite, rigid and organic come together and settle into a perfect peace.

Rhythm:

On this sketchbook cover, an illustration is used to represent the patterns of sound, unexpected and pleasing how they come together to make a cohesive structure. The harmony of light and dark, complex and simple, similar and opposite, rigid and organic come together and settle into a perfect peace.

Friendship: On this sketchbook cover, lines are used to illustrate that reflections of likeness attract others. The path my not always be followed side by side or be in perfect step, but it impacts the others nearby. There is strength in the connected areas and potential venerabilities when apart. There are times of closeness and a few where distance occurs. The threads of friendship are consistent throughout and with the help of ties, become more interesting.

Friendship:

On this sketchbook cover, lines are used to illustrate that reflections of likeness attract others. The path my not always be followed side by side or be in perfect step, but it impacts the others nearby. There is strength in the connected areas and potential venerabilities when apart. There are times of closeness and a few where distance occurs. The threads of friendship are consistent throughout and with the help of ties, become more interesting.

Bridge: On this sketchbook project, we see a very recognizable landmark in Capon Springs, WV; the Capon Bridge. Without a bridge, you struggle to access the other side. Making note of this portion in any journey is important. The structure of a bridge should be one to call itself to your attention. It should be a time when you are making a conscious decision to pass over something that is difficult to pass. It’s a landmark and should be considered carefully.

Bridge:

On this sketchbook project, we see a very recognizable landmark in Capon Springs, WV; the Capon Bridge. Without a bridge, you struggle to access the other side. Making note of this portion in any journey is important. The structure of a bridge should be one to call itself to your attention. It should be a time when you are making a conscious decision to pass over something that is difficult to pass. It’s a landmark and should be considered carefully.