|Quilted stitched journal cover|
I generally have a range of sketch books on the go at any one time which serve different purposes. Some I use to draw or paint what I see around me - in my garden, in the local area, or when I'm out and about or on holiday. These books are usually quite small. Others are more like journals or records of a stitch project as it progresses. They are large and heavy and usually bulging with stuck-in pieces of one kind or another and sometimes covered with a stitched textile.
|Tree Trunk outlines, Glen Tanar, Aberdeenshire|
|Trees in Glen Quoich, Aberdeenshire|
Pencil and watercolour
Currently, my observational drawings are done in bound hard-backed books. For experiments involving paint and mixed media, I have a spiro bound book. I like to keep the two separate as painting pages inevitably means that paint spills through from one page to another and I like to keep my drawings clean.
|An arrangement of stones |
in a Geology piece
In them, I draw whatever takes my fancy. Sometimes my choice of subject is linked to the theme of the moment; other times I am just intrigued by a view, a collection of trees or a building and want to record what I see. Occasionally, when I am somewhere and have no other paper to hand, I try out ideas for a textile piece for inclusion in my journal.
All in all, these little books have a good feel in the hand and I reach for them with anticipation and pleasure.
|A journal page - Cricklade North Meadow|
Watercolour to work out colour scheme for of weaving
The work I put in the journals comes from a range of sources and I frequently use mixed media. I generally work towards abstraction, perhaps taking photographs or drawings, manipulating them in Adobe Photoshop and then cutting them up to work out a design.
|Journal page completed following a weekend course with Sandra Meech|
Photos taken in Scotland manipulated in Photoshop,
cut up and remounted to exploit their graphic qualities
On other occasions, I work freely round a subject, using paper as an analogy for fabric (cheaper and quicker and easier to manipulate). I paint and tear or cut the papers and produce several different versions of a general theme. At the start, I often have absolutely no idea where I will end up - and that is the fun of the whole thing.
All these books give me a freedom to develop my skills, explore and experiment. I think they are where the growth of ideas happens for me. Above all else, I gain enormous pleasure and satisfaction from them. For me, they are as important as the final piece of work that results - and often much more personal..