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  • Writer's picturesarahdolby4

Why the workbook

Updated: May 2, 2023

I have been working as an artist for some years now and about a year ago I realised that

I wasn't exploring my ideas as much as I wanted to due to either deadlines or personal pressures.

Caught up in creating work for either a group show or solo exhibition had left little time for reflection. I am curious to see how I can change this and redefine what it means for me to be an artist.

Although I have a physical work book where I sketch and make notes, having a digital platform has given me a new space to document both my ideas and work as it progresses.

Creating this blog felt like a natural step for me as I have a 12 year background in computer graphics. During this time I did everything from 3D animation, creative direction, production management, concept art, web design to even working on Formula One race courses. I am comfortable with this medium and look forward to reconnecting with it as I grow this blog and my website.

Sometimes, and I am sure there are many artists and creatives who feel this, I feel like I am two or three different artists, with different aesthetics, inhabiting one body. Part of me loves realism and could spend hours painting eyes, wrinkles and skin texture, another part loves dark and atmospheric [ spooky ] imagery - another light and beautiful.

A selection of my old illustrations.

I also love illustrating and have a stack of drawings that I one day hope to turn into a children's book. Many hours have been spent trying to satisfy these creative threads. So I decided I needed to find a way to put all these ideas into one place....have somewhere I could organise my thoughts and processes.

Because of a growing appreciation of the simple things in life I have had to expand what I defined as my craft.

For example - I really enjoy learning about food and the origins of ingredients, how food brings us together, how plants grow and how spectacular they can be - the colours in nature, light and the way it changes throughout the day, old wood, furniture, beautiful objects and many more everyday things that have a beauty in their simplicity. I enjoy photography and sculpture and although these aren't my main focus they contribute to the broader picture.

Thats not to say I still don't live %50 of my time drifting around in my imagination. Like I mentioned earlier I love dark, rich and other worldly imagery and these characters/ woman keep pushing infront with their dark eyes and gaunt frames. I adore these woman as they connect with me in a totally different way.

When I Was A Bear

Also there is an element of nostalgia creeping into my work. 'When I Was a Bear' is my first ever self portrait. It is 5 year old me as a ballerina. We were really just little bears muddling around on a stage but the memory so vivid I can still remember how the ears crinkled when I touched them.

These are some of the themes that I want to weave through my work. I am always learning and feel like I have such a long way to go both technically and aesthetically. Some days I think I have 'got it' [ whatever that is] then others I have to wipe off a section of work that that I have completely butchered.

Some of my favourite objects in my studio.

So where to begin - I decided to start with the loudest idea which was 'Flour'. I really enjoy making bread - the way the flour feels cool in my hands, the smells, the warmth and comfort it would bring once baked. I started thinking - how can I create a piece that embodies all these elements of flour and more... what it means to me, what I associate it with, how does it feel and look, smell and what memories and imagery does in conjure. The more I thought about this the more I realised just how much I wanted to pull more of these everyday things onto the surface of a canvas. You can check out my progress on this piece here.

I will create posts as I go - when I feel that there is something to say or show. I will also continue to add content in the various categories. With sharing my ideas and process I hope to engage with a like minded community. I welcome feedback and for others to share with me their own projects and ideas.

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