(Rather than post my sketches in chronological order, I’m going to intersperse them with my musings. As always, click on the images if you’d like to see them larger.)
Week 4 was a tough one for me. That was partially because I had a lot to do this week, and being busy makes it hard for me to settle into an artistic frame of mind. I’ve found over and over that it can be frustrating to try stopping just briefly to sketch; I really need a longer break to move my mind out of my To-do list and into a different sort of focus. I have also been finding that grief is hitting hard with Christmas just around the corner. Last week was three months since we said good-bye to Petra, and Christmas Day will be seven months since my father died, which still doesn’t seem like it could be real.
But I think the biggest factor in making this week challenging has been my own internal critique who’s convinced me that my work isn’t good enough, as if there is a specific standard that determines what is “good enough”. In what ways is it not good enough? Well, my page layout isn’t perfect; I look at beautifully composed pages in other artists’ sketchbooks and wish I could make my pages look like theirs. And my penmanship isn’t perfect, either. My father’s penmanship was beautiful, even when he just jotted himself a quick reminder, and I wish mine were like his. I’m working on my page layout and my penmanship, and they’re getting better, but, frustratingly, haven’t instantly become perfect. Also, as the weeks have progressed, I have many pages I really like in my Holidays in Ink sketchbook. And that’s become intimidating to me too, because now I want the whole book to look just right– more pressure from that internal critique!
So what am I learning from this? Well, I have often thought that my sketchbook is a working journal and a reflection of my daily life, rather than a finished piece of art, such as when I do a complete painting. And since my life is far from perfect, it makes sense that my sketchbook wouldn’t be perfect either. I strive to always be growing in who I am as a person, both in the overall big picture and also in nitty gritty details, and so I guess my struggle with page layout and penmanship reflect those processes in my life. This week has been both a challenge and also a great opportunity to accept where I am, even while striving to grow from the example of others and to improve my skills. I am looking forward to what the coming week will bring!