For the Sketchbook Project, part of my creative process has been to explore ladder imagery; however, that exploration began before I ever learned of the Project. It began when my neighbor left his ladder leaning against the roof of his house for months. And when it started to bug me, I began (at the suggestion of one of my daughters) to put ladders into my paintings. I even wrote a poem about the neighbor’s ladder. Months later I signed up for the Sketchbook Project, and when I received my little blank book in the mail, I was dumbfounded to find “Ladders” on the list of themes. After that, everywhere I went, I found ladders… or did they find me!? It had to have been destiny!
Most of the pages in my book began with simple ideas that evolved into more complex ideas and took countless hours to complete. Close to the deadline I spent weeks staying up until the wee hours of the morning just so I could work without interruptions.
For the most part, I am a mixed media artist (currently testing the waters of abstract expressionism); I paint with acrylics on canvas and typically add paper collage elements. When I began adding my artwork to the Sketchbook, I was very pleased to find how easily I could work on paper. Instead of using my go-to acrylic paint for the Project, I used watercolors, colored and graphite pencils, ink, some Sharpie pens (I didn't care for those much), crayons, bits of paper, and a lot of glue! My process includes working on more than one page at a time, flipping back and forth among several, adding something to one page, perhaps taking something away from another page. When I am sufficiently satisfied that I have done enough layering, enough adding and subtracting, then I call it “finished,” sign my name, and try to put it out of my mind. That’s probably one of the more difficult aspects of doing artwork for me—knowing when to stop!
This is my first submission to the Sketchbook Project. I had so much fun putting together my book called “Ladders” that I am already thinking of ideas for my next little book. Perhaps the next thing that bugs me will once again inspire me: It seems there’s always something to learn!
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