making a sketchbook and sketching in the landscape

A sketch of the Leicestershire landscape, fields of rapeseed glowing with their bright yellow flowers against the hazy blue distant hedgerows and woods in the evening light and clouds of cow parsley in the fields edge. Pastel sketch in my new hand made concertina sketchbook. Vivien Blackburn

I managed this sketch of the local landscape between classes yesterday. It was early evening and the distant woods and hedges had that mauvey blue tinge and the fields of yellow rapeseed glowed. The roadsides are a mass of flowers - particularly the cow parsley. I've been meaning to get out and sketch before the yellow flowers are over. In this part of the county it's grown a lot and some areas become almost totally a glowing yellow - some love it, some hate it and a lot suffer hayfever because of it! (I'm on my Telfast antihistamines, sniff)

I made myself a sketchbook from Lindsay's brilliant instructions - look here: - for this one I decided on a square format - well you may have noticed I like working on squares! so it's 18cm square with a rich cream coloured, heavy cartridge paper. Here is a picture from Lindsay's instructions. They are really clear and easy to follow, do take a look and have a go.

Lindsay's picture from her instructions on how to make the book

I gave mine black covers but you can give them any sort of cover you fancy, fabric, hand made papers, collages ..... the list is endless. This sketch was its first outing.

And do look at the creative artists books Lindsay has been working on lately. There are some really original ideas and interesting stuff going on :>)

And speaking of books ..... if you haven't already, do take a look at my blurb book on my seascapes -

and my friend Glen has done a totally brilliant book on Bradgate Park, a country estate left to the city that used to be the home of Lady Jane Grey, Queen for 9 days before being beheaded. The oaks are hundreds of years old. Here's a link to it - do look it's well worth it

Robert Genn's newsletter was about the word Kalopsia - a great word! he says:

"Kalopsia" is the condition in which things appear morebeautiful than they really are. It's like where girls (andboys) in bars, for example, tend to look more attractive nearerto closing time. For example: "At 11pm the bar was high onkalopsia."

mmm we've all looked at a painting the next day, that we had been pleased with the day before, only to find it was not quite what we'd thought!



Robyn said…
Inspiring treatment of wildflowers, Vivien. I get a bit overwhelmed by the detail but you are fearless. Beautiful!
Kim said…

this is really great. I love the idea of making sketchbooks for travel like this. They are also great for display...

Your paintings make me miss England, so much!

Thanks for posting on my blog today!
vivien said…
Robyn thanks :>) - not fearless! I wasn't at all sure how I'd cope with the mass of flowers when I started!

Kim - thanks - It is a lovely time of year in England - well was - it's gone grey and rainy this afternoon :>(
Jeanette said…
What a beautiful sketch Vivien, I do like it a lot. Now I just need to fog to lift here and I may have a go...

The concertinaed sketchbook is wonderful. I shall have to try my hand at that concept.

You always inspire me!
Great post Vivien - and now referenced from my sketchbook blog. I got my field done the day before!
vivien said…
Jeanette I look forward to that :>) - I have Lindsay to thank for the excellent sketchbook making instructions - they are really easy to follow.

I've made another one with a cover more like a normal book and the end of the concertina not attached to the last page - I think I like that better to use but I'll know when I've done more sketching with both of them.

Thanks Katherine :>)
As you say the countryside is at its best at the moment especially with all the rain we've had. The greens are at their most vivid and I managed to catch that on a days photography up in the Yorkshire Dales on Thursday. Sadly it has been miserable grey and wet weather since.
vivien said…
it certainly did go grey and miserable - and after all that lovely sunshine too.

Hope you blog some of the photos - I've got to catch up with them as I've been away with family for the weekend.
Mr Zip said…
Making your own sketchbooks is a really attractive idea. I've made a note of this for the day (possibly long in the future, unfortunately) when I've worked my way through the accumulated pile of sketchbooks with only one or two drawings in them!

The landscape drawing is lovely, by the way.
vivien said…
thank you :>)

I have Lindsay to thank for the design :>)
Beautiful book and it looks lovely with that landscape as entree.
vivien said…
thanks Ronell :>) it's gone cold now and I want the sunshine back to do some more work in it.

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