Sketchbook summer-y

Summer is sketchbook time for me – a time to re-stock the pages which can be the starting point for so many ideas.

I enjoy essential time away to become absorbed in a drawing and the feeling of working on something with no judgement on the outcome. This year I’m trying to avoid drawing straightforward landscape views and push towards a slightly different way of working. In a way it’s bringing in the sense of exploration and discovery at an earlier stage.


Capturing the colours of Dartmoor

Constructing spaces…

In my recent paintings I have taken a freer approach and made a loosely constructed landscape by building layers of mark making. It’s a flow between playful exploration, which can feel out of my comfort zone at times, and then a more considered phase to ensure it works together.

To and fro; the whole approach involves more precise analytical thinking and instinct working together.

I don’t begin with a literal view of a place in mind so I’m changing the way I work in sketchbooks to try and reflect this. This means fewer drawings of places and more arrangements using collage and drawings which just explore the way marks and colours interact:


Every so often something happens which waves a small flag at me and I think this drawing may have been one. I had been out all day and was feeling frustrated that it all felt rather predictable, nothing new. It was windy, I was hungry but I wanted something else from this view. I was sitting high on a tor looking across the valley and the light kept changing as the clouds blew across. I just wanted to capture the sense of space and the small shapes of fields as the sunlit caught them. “Analyse – be precise! What is it you are drawing this for?”


And there it was… something sort of fresh and different. Using restrained colour like this in small segments is new for me; not describing the view all over, but just in highlighted areas.

Sometimes I find colour can be too dominant, especially in a quick drawing. This more minimal way of adding colour reminders could be helpful. Untouched ares of the page become part of a drawing but painting will bring a different challenge as untouched spaces can just feel forgotten – there needs to be enough interest throughout, but without becoming overly ‘busy’.  I’m not sure what this will lead to, but while I enjoy the rest of the best of British sunshine I’m also itching to get back to the paints to see!


Mixed media sketchbook – Alice Sheridan

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