Some of my notebooks.
I thought I would paint my tools. Only I made them blue.
They are not blue at all; I only wish they were.
But that's the beauty of art, isn't it?
You can make things the way you want to see them.
I begin with the best of plans, one notebook for watercolour swatches, one for the seeds of poems. I bought one specifically for notes to myself, reminders of appointments and phone numbers and grocery lists, but when things get real there is no rhyme or reason. Every notebook contains my whole world. I grab the nearest to where I am and off I go.
I would be lost without a notebook. I am still lost even with having many. But they serve me well. The times when I have been smug enough to think a sudden idea that arrives will be safe in my memory, I have been sorely disappointed. If I had a dollar for every forgotten idea that I never wrote down…
Notebooks help me work out my thoughts, remember them, and even keep a record of paintings or stories. I can look into them when I need grist for the mill. or look back on them when I need to remember that, yes, I do actually get things done.
Here are some pages from three notebooks that I have been using most over the past few months. Nothing very interesting, but important to me. You may click to enlarge the images.
A quick sketch of a female goldfinch along with
swatches of the colours I will use to paint her.
Colour swatches for a ruby-throated hummingbird commission.
Pencil drawings of some twigs and leaves I brought in from my morning walk.
More pencil and watercolour play to remember
treasures brought inside from my woods.
Watercolour and coloured pencil sketch of a fairy tale mushroom.
Pencil and watercolour study of parts of the horse chestnut tree.
Apples and oranges and value swatches of new pencils I bought.
Coloured pencil swatches and a bunch of leaves I found on my patio table.
Names of watercolour paints I wanted to buy. Like a wish list.
I leave the first page of my writing notebooks for
wiping the coffee off the bottom of my diner mugs.
It also reminds me of where I have been.
Idea: If you are an artist, try keeping a small spiral notebook record your paintings. Before I begin any new work I create a special page with a loose sketch, a colour chart of the paints I will use, the date I began it and finished it, a note about who the painting is for and any other information I might want to remember about it. This comes in handy the next time that I paint a similar bird or plant, because chances are I will have forgotten everything. :)
Kateri Ewing is a self-taught watercolourist who specialises in the songbirds and flora of Western New York. Visit on the web at www.kateriewing.com or find her on Facebook at Kateri Ewing - Watercolours. Kateri has been a writer long before she became a artist. You can sample her weekly eZine, Unweaving the Nest, at www.unweavingthenest.com.
Kateri has generously offered a giveaway of two notebooks for a commenter on this post. Please leave a comment by August 16th to be entered into this drawing. I will draw a name on the 16th! Thank you, Kateri!