Yesterday I started an attempt at declutttering. What should I keep and what should go? I headed for my bookshelf and targeted some old sketchbooks having decided to photograph pages I liked and store them digitally instead.
In amongst artist and nature books are malingering sketch books from over many a year.
Some of the sketches have sentimental value, and are a visual diary hinting at events and places sporadically over the year. Some of the sketches were a means to an end. They were good practice for observing and drawing.
Other sketches were experimental when I had been involved in course work and attempting to work outside my usual method of creativity.
So I took sketchbooks which were not essentially full of great stuff and photographed those images I felt connected to and transferred them to my computer. The nice thing about looking back at sketch books from years gone by is that a lot of the images look better to me now than when I created them. The space and time that has passed makes them feel like they are not quite so firmly attached to me allowing me to be less critical.
The other nice thing about storing the sketches digitally is that they take on a more professional look on a screen than in the sketchbook.
I agree with the declutter theory that you feel lighter and freer without hanging onto lots of stuff. This is a start but I still have a long way to go.
A variety of pages from 2004 Sketchbook – from life, mixed media and character development.
It really depends what medium you work in but even drawings can take on quite a transformation from the outset of the original idea. Artists may use different tools to progress from the first sketch to the finished drawing or painting.
Drawing tools such as tracing or layout paper, light boxes and/or photo shop manipulation enables the good bits of a drawing to be retained easily whilst the areas in need of change more easily manipulated. With these tools there is a trail of changes which could be recorded digitally or glued in a sketch book to inform the artist at a later date how the work evolved. This sort of recording comes easily.
For painting work-in-progress the best tool for recording is a camera. How often I have been too lazy to put down my brush and halt for a few minutes to get the camera and quickly take a picture.
It is impossible to remember the phases of a painting’s evolution and in addition artists repeatedly overshoot the optimum moment for the painting to be finished.
Recording the painting at different stages enables an artist to sit back at a later time and review how each stage of the painting has progressed and make objective decisions for making further paintings.
Don’t overshoot the optimum moment to put the brush down, you know that old adage Less Is More. It just takes a moment to take a snap, and on review will reap benefits for your next masterpiece!