About Spring… and Drawing… and Writing…

I don’t care what anyone says… my favorite season is SPRING.


Spring, of course has various meanings…

  • the season after winter and before summer when vegetation begins to appear
  • to move or jump suddenly – upward or forward
  • the time when earth awakens from slumber and explodes with new life.

I love the blur of green buds on the trees and the abundance of sweet pastel blossoms everywhere. It’s like cotton candy come to life. All sorts of ornamental beauty… cherry, pear, dogwood, tulip tree, magnolia, lilac, azalea, hyacinths, daffodils, bluebells, peonies and more. A fairy world in real time.

Spring is about renewal. Longer days. Balmy weather. New beginnings. Birds singing so loudly in the morning they wake you up!

It fills me with hope and joy like nothing else.

And so today, I looked back through my sketch journals at spring sketches.

It turns out that I started keeping the journals 9 years ago in 2006. And I started in the spring after reading a book by Danny Gregory called Everyday Matters. The premise of that book was that as an artist you should just sketch what is going on in your life each day. There’s no need to wait for an occasion to create great art. Just draw what you had for breakfast… or the tree outside your window… or the canned goods in your kitchen cupboard.

I was inspired and got started. I picked a cherry blossom off a tree at work and took it home and drew it…

cherry blossom 06

Then a friend sent me a photo of a robin’s nest she found inside her gas grill…

robin's nest

Oh what fun I’ve had since then!

And here it is, another spring 9 years later.

My newest spring thrill is finding Morel Mushrooms in the market the other day! When I saw them I stopped dead in my tracks.

They were $59 a pound!!! Wowsers! morel price

But I bought a small basket. Here’s $11.51 worth…


I took them home, soaked them in salt water and cooked up half for a good ole sandwich like my dad used to make when we found them ourselves years ago. Yum.

The rest I put into a cream sauce over thin spaghetti that was scrumptious. Yum again!

However, the reason I got on this spring kick today was that I noticed new growth in my flower beds outside. So that’s what I recorded in my daily sketchbook…

Spring 2015

And then I got to ruminating about my sketchbook history. Not sure why.

But I just went and counted my sketchbooks. I only have about a dozen. They are full and beautiful and among my most precious possessions. But that isn’t nearly enough!

Instead of 1 and a quarter books a year I should be filling at least 3 or 4 books a year. Double or triple what I have done.

To be fair, I kept a few journals and diaries before this concerted sketching effort. Mostly when traveling. And I was a bit perplexed by it. Why was I writing down my experiences? Why was I drawing what I saw along the way? Who really would care besides me?

I’m not being overly judgmental here… merely realistic. Sketch books are like warm-up exercises. They keep you limber and ready to go. A serious pianist plays every day. I read once that Liberace said, “If I miss a day of practice, I know it. If I miss two days, those closest to me know it. If I miss three days, the whole world knows it.”

I remember being stunned by that statement, but I think it is true. You can’t put down your sketchbook (or instrument) for months at a time and expect to just pick up where you left off.

Which brings me back to SPRING because it is this time of year that makes me think like this. And I hope I will make a commitment to my sketching during this season of renewal. It is very personal but something very important to me. I have drawn all my life. I’ve drawn on the back of envelopes, on restaurant napkins, on scrap papers, on post-it notes and store receipts. It’s just in me… I can’t NOT draw. And I can’t NOT write.

I guess when it comes down to it, I don’t care who’s reading or looking.

Yes, I like an audience. And I love feedback. A little applause is nice because you like to think someone cares.

But I can’t tell you all the journals and diaries I have destroyed over the years. I would look back and re-read them and be embarrassed. Not that my feelings or the things I said were not normal. They absolutely were. But I didn’t have the self confidence to own what I wrote. I worried too much what others would think.

No more.

It may have taken me most of my life to get to the point where I like to write about what I’m thinking and feeling and draw the everyday objects in my life, no matter how mundane or boring or even shocking at times… but I am there.

I hope I can go forward and be prolific with my sketchbooks. They will be my legacy. I feel my own mortality and these mere pieces of paper that I make marks on will outlive me by far. I need to make a lot of them.

My daughter and I have had this conversation several times. She thinks I am a bit narcissistic to write and post drawings for others to see. As though I am seeking approval. Or flaunting myself somehow. Maybe I am. But in my heart of hearts, I don’t think that is what I am doing. Does everyone who writes a book or paints a picture do it for someone else? I don’t think so.

If that were the case I couldn’t have kept doing it for all these years.

No, I do it for me. Because I am compelled somehow to do so. I don’t know why anymore and I don’t even question it. It is something I have always done and will continue to do. Whether anyone is looking or not. Social media has nothing to do with it.

This will always be a dilemma for me if I think about it too much, which I will try not to do. I’ll just do what I do, regardless. And if you have a thought or opinion about it, I would welcome your comment. Shed some light on this for me, please!

Meanwhile, I’ll be here… ramping up my drawing and writing as much as I can. And I never know what it will be about except where life takes me…

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. jenpedwards
    Apr 08, 2015 @ 08:11:20

    What a lovely artist you are! I too feel the pressure to create more drawings, but I am in a place where I want to allow whatever creativity I’d like to bubble up and not feel I have to fill countless sketchbooks. We change as artists and we respond to the ebb and flow of life which is as it should be. Rejoice in the fact that you even have the sketchbooks you have filled! That is amazing and should be celebrated! Your wonderful life recorded in watercolor and drawings! I have followed your blog on my Newsblur and will look forward to checking in now and again. I am in an oh so full life season right now so I may not be able to comment often, but just wanted to tell you to keep drawing, keep sharing with those who visit here! Artful blessings to you!


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