Sunday, April 16, 2017

What is the Purpose of Art?

Life is busy with workshops, travel, judging shows, writing and painting. Let's not forget those things that need our daily care: exercise, laundry, grocery shopping, appointments…  When I get time for myself I need something that will recharge my creative battery and feed my weary soul…sketching.

Sketching is a very broad term and I’m often asked, “What exactly is a sketch?” A sketch is anything I do in my sketchbook. Some people will disagree…that’s okay. Let’s face it the world is full of rules, laws, guidelines, restrictions, constrains… What I do in my sketchbooks is not defined or dictated by any one but me (big smile). What happens in my sketchbook is my playground, my challenges, my success, my failures…my business. 

My sketchbook is a safe place to go when I want or need to recharge, create, stretch, grow, play, explore and sometimes pour out my heart.  Within the pages I don’t ask for anyones approval or acceptance. Everyone needs a safe place to call our own. A place where we don’t seek or need anyone's approval or acceptance. 

You will learn more about me by looking through one of my sketchbooks than seeing an entire show of my work. Why is that? My paintings are me at my best (dressed up, make-up and on my best behavior). My sketchbooks are a true picture of me (in my play clothes, being silly, exploring my world, hurting…as a friend would see me). 

I take my sketchbooks everywhere I go. You can find me sketching at a cafe, in a garden, airport, sketching with friends…or a hospital.  People passing by like to comment. Most of the time they say, “nice sketch”, “wish I was talented” or “are you an artist?” But I’ve also heard, "What a shame it's in a sketchbook you could have sold it”. Why is it that so many people do not see the value of something unless they can attach a dollar amount to it?

Take a tour inside a recent sketchbook. Click on the video below or click on this link

The sketchbook in the video is one I made. To learn more see: The Perfect Sketchbook

My favorite manufactured brand is the Stillman & Birn, Beta. My video review:

I leave you with this question...

What is the purpose of art if it does not feed the soul of the one who created it? 

  Happy Sketching! 


  1. Yes! Thankyou so much. This is just what I needed to hear today. I really love when you said "Within the pages I don’t ask for anyones approval or acceptance".... This is something that I am in the process of learning.

    1. Rebekah,
      Yes, don't worry about what others think...find your voice and be true to you. ~Hugs

  2. Love this entry. If you are Buddhist in your approach, there does not have to be any reason to sketch. Just sketch. I take mine everywhere too. And I love your blog.

  3. I'm not sure I understood this correctly. You tint gesso on some of your pages and then paint over with watercolor? I am guessing the tint is pale for the transparency issue. Maybe I misunderstood.

    1. I mix gesso with a little watercolor to color the gesso. I paint the gesso on the paper and paint with watercolor on top.

  4. Not only is your work inspiring, but your words often take me to a higher plane...I still recall your words about having "extra" time ("Every day has 24 hours. We're never going to have EXTRA time.It doesn't exist! Time will always run out at the end of the day.") Your notion about the purpose of art has helped me understand why I feel so driven to draw and paint: it nourishes my soul, even when it fails to live up to my vision of what is possible. Thank you for sharing your work and words!

    1. Jeanette, Thank you! Your words warm my heart. Writing is one of my biggest challenges. Your words tell me the hard work is worth it all.

  5. Dear Brenda, I am frequent guest of your blog and always find something (your thoughts, your comments, your knowledge) that touches my soul.
    Many times I've heard people comments - are you going to make money with what you learn to do - painting, sketching etc. Such questions and thought are very poisonous especially for a beginners =)))
    And once i've caught that virus - to attach dollar equivalent to what i passionately wanted to do. And stuck. Because it doesn't work. =)

    And then, reading Danny Gregory's book "An Illustrated life" i found words of an artist, which encouraged and inspired me: Drawing, Painting, Sketching are what i do for a living. Not financially but for a joy of living.
    Let's do it for a JOY of living =))))

    Sorry for my poor english =))))


  6. I loved reading this entry, Brenda. After a 5 year hiatus, I've pulled out my watercolors again and have been enjoying every minute I have with my brush and colors. I paint for myself and the joy art gives me.

    1. Juliana,
      Welcome back to the wonderful and fulfilling world of watercolor!
      P.S. I've missed you 💕

  7. Hi Brenda! Thank you for opening my eyes to a wider view of the value of a sketchbook, I had never thought of it that way. Wonderful post!