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This exercise got me thinking a lot about sketch books and the way I use mine compared to other people and the way that I use them has been influenced and altered over time. I could see that the idea of a visual diary was going to alter my use again. In order to get my head around it and before being able to process all the material I had collected, I needed to think about the changes in my working processes.

I started using sketchbooks sporadically many years ago.

I made drawings in pencil or black pen. They were all observational, the majority were poor but the occasional one worked. I didn’t date the books and only drew occasionally.

early drawing in 1993

The next stage started when I began attending life classes in 2000 and then a painting class as well. I initially hardly used sketchbooks during this period, my drawing style was completely taken apart and I had to rebuild it over a long period. After a while I started using the books again, the drawings I did do were so messy and loose that people were often unrecognisable as human, let alone a likeness.  I discovered Auerbach, Schiele at this time.

trying to rebuild my style

3rd stage: by 2007 I was very dissatisfied with the work I was doing in sketch books, wanted to connect the improvements in the life classes with my sketch books. As a consequence the drawings  became more recognisable as humans. I had started doing some drypoint printing during this time which suited my drawing style at the time.

adding colour

In 2008 started a new phase.  After I  had finished a few books I started to revisit old books, adding watercolour/gouache. I decided that one of my books from 2004 was so bad I cannibalised it, adding colour and cutting out chunks of paper to add to other books.

In 2008 started a new phase. After I had finished a few books I started to revisit old books, adding watercolour/gouache. I decided that one of my books from 2004 was so bad I cannibalised it, adding colour and cutting out chunks of paper to add to other books.

I started cutting through pages to make windows and pasting in bits of coloured and patterned paper.

I became interested in a sequence of pages with a series of windows cut through. This led to an interest in patterns and window patterns that I noticed in houses.

For the first time I started doing some abstract line drawings (sparked off by drawing by touch exercise) which led to a period of automatic drawings. These experiments led to a series of paintings, the first work that had directly followed from work in my sketch book. As I worked on these paintings in 2009 it became clearer to me that I was not at heart a “painter” and that I wanted to return to where I had started, which was drawing.

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