Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Sketching at Favorite Places

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There are so many wonderful things about keeping a sketchbook journal. The sketchbook becomes a container for all the personal, heartfelt things that bring you joy. It's a place to capture the simple, yet beautifully ordinary moments of life, and over time it becomes a rich, visual tapestry of the places you go and the things you do.

Once you start sketching it truly becomes a lifestyle, and you'll begin to collect lists of favorite places to go and sketch. One of those places for me in the natural history museum. The Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History is only 30 minutes from my home and I go there very often to sketch.

I love sketching there because so many of the things I'm interested in (archaeology, paleontology,  birds and animals, Egyptian culture, Native American Culture ) are there and I can learn and explore until my heart's content. Unlike just going to a museum, and walking around and looking at things, sketching what you encounter brings the experience to a whole new, deeper, more interactive, more personal level. 

Sketching at museums gives me a way to awaken the wonder of my inner child, and feed my curiosity, and enjoy learning.

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This is the Florence Griswold Museum. It's an art museum which also has stunning gardens.  I do sketch inside art museums quite often which is another favorite sketching activity for me, but on this absolutely perfect summer day the gardens seemed the work of art to admire. Sitting in the shade looking out over a beautiful perennial border gave me the time to deeply and richly, absorb the energy, scents, colors and sounds of summer. All of it washed over me as my pen danced across the paper intuitively forming marks. Curley-ques, serpent like long lines, small dashes and circles all my own personal shorthand visual language for quickly capturing the look of the floral bounty all around me.  Splashes of warm and cool colors mimic the patters of sunlight and shadow dappled across the flowers. The straight lines of the building architecture and the sign post provide the perfect visual foil to the profusion of ruffles that make up the garden.

The sketching experience is such a soul nourishing one, as are all art making experiences when they come from your heart and are for you alone, to make you happy. 


  1. Nice work, Jan! I look forward to sketching with you at these places someday. Peabody is right up my alley!

  2. Jean you will LOVE the Peabody, it's practically my second home! They are very friendly to sketchers and have great exhibits. I look forward to sketching with you there! Also great restaurants in walking distance for lunch!


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