Last week I finished the last page in a sketchbook that I began in October. Keeping a sketchbook used to be a practice that when people would suggest to me (professors, other artists, whomever) I might nod and agree, maybe an internal eye-roll, like yes, one more thing to do. But, over the past few years that I have made it a regular and integrated practice, it truly is invaluable to me. Having this small portable evidence of my thoughts and ideas to carry around is a mental boost, a surge of self-confidence. Seeing the work all together, flipping through pages, and recalling my thoughts at specific times is interesting, a visual chart of growth. Entries from seven months ago are as fresh as entries from two weeks ago. Time is a strange creature.
And just as important is the act of making. Sometimes my entries are preparations before I paint on something larger, sometimes an entry is part of my quiet time, or it's at the end of a long teaching day, or made during the in between moments of daily tasks. Even at the end of teaching days when I'm too tired to paint anything else, if I have touched my sketchbook and put brush or pencil to a page, then I feel I have accomplished a moment of meeting my art on that day. So it is a communicative tool in that sense, a way for me to interact with my art, to keep the relationship alive. And the privacy of the format allows me to be open during the process. I know I don't have to share anything in it with anyone else. And while I do share some pages online on my public IG account, I still consider my sketchbook to be private and just for me.