While in New Mexico I had hopes to spend more time working on some sketchbook art, primarily my perpetual nature journal that I started in early September last year. I’m several months behind because I sunk into a pit of not doing anything in May so I’ve been continuously working to get back on top of things. A perpetual nature journal is one that has some flexibility but ideally you are using one page or set of pages to chronicle something in nature for a certain time period on every year until that page is full. Mine is set up weekly, though the weeks will slide a bit as they change every year, and I draw one item on one page. Eventually I’ll have a set of 4-5 (maybe 6?) paintings on that page over the course of the same number of years from a certain week of the year, and I can tell what was blooming or happening during the course of that week. It is great for phenology recording!
Originally I thought about keeping it strictly for what is going on in our yard but I quickly branched out and now it is anything in nature that I experience during that particular week. Some paintings are better than others—I am not good with animals! Wait until I show you the deer I painted! (*insert pouring tears emoji here) But I am slowly getting better with plants. Some are looser than others, and sometimes I use pen and ink to add some definition if I feel like the painting needed a bit of oomph. Sometimes I draw it in real-time but most of the time I’m going through my photo archives on my phone to see what I can draw for that week. I’m hoping to catch up before September so that I can get back onto a weekly schedule with it.
On this particular day, Chris was fishing down on the river and the sun had come out to dry up a bit of the rain from the morning. The hummingbirds were buzzing and stopping by the feeder on the tree adjacent to the patio so I had companions while I painted. I attempted a few other sketches in other sketchbooks while I was there, too. I would like to get into a routine with this as well, picking a day or couple of days during the week to just draw or paint something around me to better my skills.
I really love Danny Gregory’s Sketchbook Skool YouTube channel and his podcast, which is excellent motivation to just *start* and do something, to create the habits. To make art for myself without the express goal of painting something for someone else. I highly recommend checking out his channel as well as that of John Muir Laws.