documenting time

mini-journal containing thoughts on my style

The act of drawing serves to remind us that hands are agents of thought and experiment. It's expressions have the potential to leap across great divides of time and place, but its practical utility is as a manisfestation of the mind struggling with the meaning of what it encounters and what it wants to explore" Jonathan Kingdon, Field Notes on Science and Nature, edited by Michael R. Canfield

This past week I continued to prepare for April's fake journal month by studying how naturalists, scientists, and zoologists keep field notes. I've been reading Field Notes on Science and Nature, edited by Michael R. Canfield which features biologists, anthropologists, geologists and illustrators. Reading about Jonathon Kingdon's years of first hand research and seeing his taxonomic illustrations was fascinating and energizing.

journal page left side depicting sumi painting of jewellery box

The value of taking field notes lies both in the actual information that is recorded as well as in what is gained in the process of recording itself. Taking time to write out an idea or observation forces us to pause and consider. Recording the daily unfolding of experiments - their success or failure - encourages an honest assessment of how each day's work fits within the underlying goals and theory of the project.
Michael R. Canfield

My journal keeping has always been spontaneous and haphazard which has its advantages in working through emotions that I may not be fully aware of but influence my behavior. However, in the past year, by joining cousera art courses and online journal prompts, my journalling has become a balance between calculated and spontaneous entries.

Last week's cousera journal assignment aimed at documenting a history and context for my current work or interests in art. I made a mini-book and wrote how I developed my current style of drawing.

So how did I acquire the style of art I have now? My earliest memory of asian art is receiving a Japanese lacquer jewellery box from my Father when I was 7 years old. It has a traditional asian sumi painting depicting a landscape, Mount Fuji, a river, a bridge, temples and mountains on a gold background.

journal page, right side with line drawing figure and mini journal

Fast forward 20 years, and I had moved to Japan for the second time and was taking a sumi painting art class. The simplicity of a black line attracted me as well as its tradition. There is a certain amount of control which opens up to bursts of spontaneity. Over the years my drawings have been moving toward the simple lines and that constant friction between calculation and spontaneity.

joining sunday sketches

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