Friday, January 15, 2010

Book Find

Look at the book I spotted at the library the other day. It is called "The Bizarre and Incredible World of Plants" and is full of "images of some of the most spectacularly hidden (without light and electron microscopy) but vital aspects in the life of plants hitherto largely unknown outside the scientific community." If you are looking for inspiration, unusual shapes or just a color jolt, this book will provide it. Not all is weird and wonderful, as the page I chose to sketch from, but all are stunning in their clarity and juxtaposition against black backgrounds.

The daily sketching has been a bit more difficult than I expected. I realized that it was hard to get excited about it without subjects I am really interested in, and casting about the house, I wasn't finding much of interest. I guess it's a bit like someone learning to quilt and having to suffer through a sampler class of blocks and fabrics that do not excite. I think we will always be more motivated to learn and practice on a regular basis if the subject and materials are ones we are drawn to. Thus, when I paged through this book, I knew to bring it home because I immediately spotted several images that intrigued, that I would not mind spending my time with.

The choice of paper for my little sketchbook has been problematic too - it really is too rough if I want to get detailed, and the colored pencils can't get into the low pockets easily. The painted background that I thought would help has turned into more of a hindrance. Some pages did indeed hold images to be teased out but many just got in my way, especially when trying to color over areas painted too heavily. Worse yet, there were days when I hesitated to sketch what I had in mind because it didn't seem appropriate or a "worthy enough" subject for the color on the page. When I make the next sketchbook to finish out the month, I will use a good quality drawing paper left white and monitor the difference in my reaction to it.

One other observation - I had the choice of setting up the sketchbook in landscape or portrait orientation, and chose landscape. Many sketching ideas were aborted because they work better in a portrait orientation. Until you are limited to a specific space and orientation, you do not realize how restraining it can be. Space configuration definitely matters in design.


Deborah said...

Good ideas and observations. I'm always trying to figure out the optimum sketchbook or journal.

Wil Opio Oguta said...

Thanks for mentioning this book. It looks so interesting that I just had to order it.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Deborah - that's the rub. There probably is NOT the optimum sketchbook, but it does help to understand the limitations certain choices put upon you. I wondered if just going with a square page would solve the problem of orientation, but of course, it would not. That is based on the fact that my quilts come in all sizes and orientations totally dependent on the subject matter.

Wil, I don't think you'll be disappointed in the book. I noticed that there are two others by these authors and am controlling the urge to track them down immediately!