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A Sketchbook Project Regular by Mary Jennings

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As I age, the more I resemble being regular, the more amazing I feel.  I mean that in every sense of the word. Embracing this regularity is finding ways to spill out into several areas of my work and personal life.  It's comforting to develop a rhythm to life.  I've been regularly getting to the gym by 6am for a daily, vigorous workout for several months. I love the feeling of "making it" to the gym.  Achievement is a beautiful thing.

I get a great feeling when I submit my carefully created Sketchbook Project to the post office for delivery to Brooklyn, New York.  My latest submission marks my forth consecutive sketchbook filled with original art.

It's a really important exercise for an artist to set an intention, meet that intention and follow it through to it's completion.  The additional layer of completely giving away the original creation is not as hard as you would imagine.  It's a bit freeing.

Each year, the books I create reflect the incline of my heart and head for that time period.

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My first book was all about my upcoming fIRST fRIDAY aRT sHOWS.  I had a theme for every month and used the book to almost capture the spirit of the whole year of art before it was created.  It helped get my concept foundation straight for the coming year.

The creative process of the second book was different for me.  I didn't view the sketchbook as a book of separate pages, but as a complete narrative.  While I was in the middle of struggling with some personal issues, creating this book was a way for me to process my thoughts and heal my heart during the process.  I chose to capture the process in a stop motion movie and photo process, allowing me to create a movie of the whole sketchbook creation.  This was very satisfying and proved helpful in letting the very personal sketchbook go; And go it went.  Once I posted the finished movie on YouTube and it's now up to over 1,500 views.  I hope it's helpful for people as they watch it as it was for me to create it.  The power of art amazes me.

My third book was a big push that I waited to complete at the last minute.  I had the complete book organized, page by page.  I just waited too late to get started on the labor intensive task of sketching.  I was nailed to my drawing table for twelve hours STRAIGHT until I barely made it to the post office in time to send it off to Brooklyn, NY.  I didn't like rushing the process.  After all, the process is what it's all about.  I need time to metabolize each page as I create them.  I was able to take photos before I sent it off and that is how I made my second sketchbook project movie.  It doesn't quite have as many views as my first,  but is a solid video in it's own rite.

DSC_8321This latest sketchbook, I elected to have it digitally recorded by the team of superb Sketchbook Project librarians with the Art House Co-op.  This way, my sketchbook can be viewed in person or online.  It can be shared with ease.  I will still make a video for this one because, well, I like to be REGULAR.

 

Please consider joining a gym or sketchbook project this year.  It feels great to be active in every way.  Visiting my blog and sharing with a friend is great fun.

Experiencing Observation: Making Memories by Mary Jennings

My new trend in travel is to not bring anything home except a clear memory of my experience.  In that case, I better pay attention.

When packing for a holiday in an exciting destination, I briefly entertained the thought of leaving room in my suitcase to accommodate all the great purchases from my travels I will need to bring home.  Then I remember that I am on personal campaign not to bring another thing into my house.  Being a person who creates thing from things and nothing, I am on battle with clutter and stuff.  I don’t want to make my battle any harder than it already is by bringing anything else to manage.  So that leaves me with the question. How do I remember my travels.  What will I show people?

Cover of travel journal, sketchbook for Jennings trip to Europe 2012

I’ve come up with the perfect solution.  I am able to capture every minute with full color, sound and vivid memory by mentally taking in every detail I can about the whole experience through careful observation.  Talking, laughter, smells, stories, frustrations, images, history and bits and pieces that will fit into a small, almost pocket sized sketchbook is how I preserve the memory and experience of my travels.

I’m in the process of creating this now for a trip I enjoyed with my family this past Winter Break.  We went to Europe.  We visited Brussels, Belgium; London, England and Paris, France in a period from December 24, to December 30.  It was an extremely face paced trip and I am so glad I didn’t feel torn about spending my time in souvenir shops.  We all took tons of photos and thinks like tickets, labels and tags will become future art and will contribute to the finished book of observations from the entire travel experience.  It will reflect the voice and show the hand of the people who experienced it first hand.

I have done these types of sketchbooks before.  I have a video on youtube expressing how the book was created and the mindset behind it.  Since I am still in the process of creating my lovely travel journal sketchbook from Europe, I will share with you the Sketchbook Project 2012.  This documents the release of my childhood home and the transformational struggles that went with it.  At the time this blog was posted, this YouTube video has over a thousand views.

In closing, I would like to encourage the act of experiencing observation to collect information or data that will serve you in some capacity in the future.  It is certainly better than a shot glass with the British flag on it.  I’m just saying.  One (the shot glass) can be broken or lost and might be a headache (or the cause of one) to have around, the other (journal sketchbook) can be enjoyed and shared with a broad audience through generations and will inspire and encourage growth of the head and heart.

 

Note: This is part two of a six part series.  You can find part one of six here.