Monday, August 25, 2014

Finding My Muse with Alisa Burke

I am a great admirer of Alisa Burke's drawing and painting style; I always look forward to the peeks into her sketchbook that she offers on her web site.  Awhile back, she offered a free video class entitled Finding Your Muse (I can't seem to find a link to it anymore to share with you, but you can check out another free video series called The Art of Chasing a Dream right now) which is also part of her online class called Sketchbook Delight.
In Finding Your Muse, Alisa encourages us to look up, look down, and find out what is in our world to recreate in our sketchbooks.  To me, this is important advice.  Whenever I try to re-start a drawing practice, I burn out on traditional drawing exercises (spheres and coffee cups and flower vases), or focus on re-creating other's drawings.  Instead, Alisa advises us to find our muse--often an object that captures our attention, draws our interest, and entices us to open up our sketchbooks.

Alisa seems especially drawn to shells, though her subject matter is widely varied from shells to rocks to feathers to birds to flowers to .... well, pretty much anything that draws her attention.  I seem drawn to leaves.  Inspired by re-watching Alisa's video Finding Your Muse from the Sketchbook Delight class, my attention was drawn to some leaves I saw by a creek near my house on a walk with my husband and daughters over the weekend.
 Here is what ended up in my sketchbook, using first pencil, then black pen, then watercolors:
Alisa advises writing notes alongside your reference drawings to recall where and when you saw the object you are capturing in your sketchbook:
The sketchbook drawings become references for other work, or simply the capturing of a wonderful memory or bit of nature.
Here is another leaf from my walk by the creek:
 And the resulting page in my sketchbook:
I used the same kind of note-taking, background painting and ink framing that Alisa likes to do in her sketchbook work.
I also found myself trying to incorporate Jane LaFazio's advice from her workshop at the CREATE workshop in New Jersey last summer to leave white space in my watercoloring.  Oh, that's hard for me to do, but it looks better to me that way!
I am re-committing myself (for the umpteenth time) to my sketchbook practice, and will continue to share my results to give myself some motivation to continue.  Be sure to check out Alisa's blog full of artful and creative ideas, and click here to see inside her amazing sketchbooks.

8 comments:

Anne said...

I think I left my Muse at your house...will you check the craft room because that's the last time I saw it!!

Jo Murray said...

Drawing is essential to everyone's art practice. We should all do more. Your sketches are delightful.

Caatje said...

I love it when a piece of life and us finds its way into our sketchbook. Love these drawings.
I share your love for Alisa. And for those interested, the find your muse free class is here: http://findingyourmuseonlineclass.blogspot.nl

Jane LaFazio said...

Thanks for the mention! Yes, yes, keep working in that sketchbook ! Xo

VivJM said...

You have captured the leaves beautifully! Nice work!

Patty Antle said...

Oh, I love this Andrea. Such inspiration. I love journals and I think sketching in them adds so much joy!

iHanna said...

Beautiful drawings Andria! I'm a fan too, and agree with you about the white space. We're so used to full it all in, but it looks better a bit looser!

Parabolic Muse said...

It's important to remember that your passion may not be for sketching. It's good to give it a focused try out just to make sure you don't just need to warm up to it, but many artists are not into that. I am going to try a commit to a year of journaling, ONCE AGAIN, and see what happens. I used to journal all the time, using text only, and it was a wonderful practice. So I know I can commit to the format and size and intimacy of it, but sometimes combining it with art practice is really difficult for me. Who knows why we have these personal preferences? Whatever works, that's what I say!

But anyway, I love Alisa Burke, and I love your leaves.