Beginning a new art notebook is much like those new school composition notebooks we bought at the beginning of a new semester. They were our passport to a new class, a new way of seeing our world from a different vantage point. Sometimes we may have drawn small sketches in the corners, I know I did. When the semester wound up it was those little sketches that reminded me of the people I sat next to in a class or the teacher that taught it.
Finishing an art notebook is much like reading a novel; the people we were when we began are not necessarily the people we are at the last page. The last page of some novels is the ‘and they lived happily ever after’ moment, in others like The Hobbit, it is the bridge for an even bigger adventure story. The Ice Siren is a watercolor in the next to the last page of a small notebook I have taken with me to Las Vegas, Nevada, San Francisco, California, and London, England.
As the pandemic stretched longer and further all of my supplies were held as vital resources. A few years ago I would have flipped through it and smiled at some of the sketches but now with everything having to be ordered, I count every single page. One day we may look back on this time and feel relieved that we are living a normal life, finally but I know I will look at my art notebooks as a treasure trove of ideas and images that I was afforded the luxury of time to work and rework ideas and images.
While social distancing and confinement has limited me to my own supplies, my own library of art books, it has also given me space and time to think about the paintings I want to paint in acrylic and the true commitment of time; oil. I have had days and days to explore soft pastels, oil pastels as well, and yet it is watercolors I use to explore a concept first. The other mediums provide their own light in the color white, while watercolors achieve their luminance by the sheen of white paper that lies like a ghost underneath the translucent color.
I still feel when I began to sketch an image to paint, like a child learning cursive in Mrs. Jackson’s second grade class, in that every nuance of a shape is as important to telling this visual story as the way we cross our T’s or how wide we swing our capitol G’s. I still believe every chance to learn is an opportunity to improve and that attitude has sustained my creativity for this unusual time of imposed isolation.
I look forward to receiving the vaccine that will enable me to visit art museums, art supply stores, art galleries and the community of people we have been missing because a global pandemic shut us away from society. I look forward to dining out and to listening to live music. I look forward to seeing friends and family we haven’t seen for more than a year. I look forward because when you close one chapter of life, much like a notebook, it’s time to begin a new one.