Thursday, February 21, 2019


Last Thursday, Valentine's Day, I taught a workshop at Cambridge Art Association's Kathryn Schultz Gallery in Cambridge, MA.  Embrace the Sketchbook workshop compliments the current exhibit This is How it Starts showcasing 23 artists sketchbooks.  I had the honor of jurying this show (please see prior blog post).  Do see this new exhibit as it is very inspiring.  

For this workshop the goal was to embrace the sketchbook as an important tool in our art practice. My class description:

The sketchbook is a wonderful tool in any studio practice to improve creativityexplore ideas, stay inspired and motivated. It becomes visual diary committing to paper those ideas rattling in the right brain. We will review some master artists’ sketchbooks (most pretty messy), sketchbook options and experiment with a variety of materials from a simple pencil to markers, paint and collage. Through exercises students can engage in the process of playing as it is the beginning stage of creativity allowing more risk taking since a “finished” piece is not the goal here. At the end of the workshop artist may find some gems to explore further in their art practice.

After my demo/lecture which I tried to keep short, nine artists embraced the materials and the time to play.  

Some of the many tools available to play with

The results were exciting.  We did a few exercises but the majority of the time the artists  pushed the materials and tools, experimented and transformed the blank pages into exciting content. 

doodling is important

A collaborative product with fun results

new sketches in the book

creating a pile of material to play with some more

One thing we all learned was that 3 hours were not enough.  I definitely could see this as a day long workshop.  Hmmm...

I wish to thank all the artists for enrolling in this workshop and for their inspiring energy and enthusiasm!  Many thanks to Cambridge Art Association for the opportunity to teach this. 

Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Sketchbook Exhibit

Sketches by Emily Manning-Mingle

This is How It Starts is a new concept exhibit featuring sketchbooks at Cambridge Art Association's Kathryn Schultz Gallery. The show opened Thursday 2/7 and runs until 2/27.  Yesterday a reception was held from 11-1 PM and well attended by an enthusiastic crowd of artists, families, friends and art lovers.  It was fun for me to see some many people engage with each book. 

Sketchbook by Susan Byrne

I had the honor of jurying this show and was delighted by the quality and diversity of the work submitted. I commend all the artists who bravely brought their sketchbooks forth. Handling each book is like entering a sacred sanctuary as artists' sketchbooks can be very personal and private.  

Sketches by Roz Sommer

Despite the differences in process, media and mark-making, a few themes emerged: figures, abstraction, landscape, collage and botanicals. My aim was to come up with an inspiring show of cohesive diversity.  Do see the exhibit, engage with the books and loose sketches and celebrate the mystery and magic that emerges when artists are at play. 

Award winner Mick Provencher with Erin Becker & me.
Mick has two sketchbooks in the show.

Rom Sommer award winner.  See her work in the image above.

My juror statement:
“The portable studio,” is how Richard Diebenkorn defined his sketchbook. Andrew Wyeth referred to his sketches as his “messy side” and debated letting them out of the studio.  A sketchbook is a pad or book of paper for drawing according to the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary.   In the hands of an artist these blank sheets of paper are transformed into personal artistic meditations.
In a first ever exhibit This is How it Starts we enter the inner sanctum of private scribbles, exploration of ideas and celebration of play by 24 talented artists.  Each has a distinctive and personal process chosen from a wide variety of materials and techniques.  The interplay of the conscious line to sub-conscious doodles meld as this ritual is practiced. 
The hands-on craft of creativity is evident, as is the innate curiosity to experiment and the capacity to wonder in each artists’ mark-making.  Here we witness the endeavors of form, shape, and line as well as circling in on intriguing projects.
As artists we spend inordinate amounts of solo time mysteriously working in our studios.  Yet we share a strong need to engage with other creatives.  In this exhibit the sketchbooks are linked by the process and motivation as artists commit ideas to paper.  And each in turn unveils the mystery by welcoming the viewer to peek through the keyhole of the studio door.  
It was years after Diebenkorn’s death that his wife Phyllis decided his 29 sketchbooks should be shared with the public.  I thank all the artists who courageously reveal their sketchbooks for this exhibit. 

Sketchbook by Martha Chasson-Sokol

I also wish to thank Erin Becker, Norma Jean Calderwood Director of Cambridge Art Association, Rebecca  Schnopp, assistant director and members of the exhibition committee for the honor to jury This is How It Starts.