Left: I make an appearance in Ken Avidor's journal, ©Ken Avidor.
The other day I was cleaning the studio—putting finished projects away, tidying up—and my mind was wandering. "What will be my next project?"
Then it came to me. I love it—it's something I've already started, and it will be on-going. I want to see how many journals of OTHER artists I can make an appearance in.
It helps of course if you have lots of friends who sketch. And then it helps if you hang out with them while you are all in sketching mode (e.g., sketch outs, coffee shops where you are chatting and sketching, road trips, and so on).
I typically draw my friends—if there are no birds handy, demanding my attention. Here's a sketch of my friend, landscape artist Diane Wesman. At the February 2010 meeting of the MCBA Visual Journal Collective Ken Avidor and I paired up and drew each other simultaneously. I think that marks my fifth appearance in one of Ken's journals. It's the first time I've sketched him; I'd better get busy.
Other friends often catch me unawares. Karen Engelbretson caught me sketching giant plants in the sunlight. (I'm actually 5' 3-1/2"—I grew after this sketch/post was made—it's odd yes, but a science fact: I have maintained my new height.) Danny Gregory sat behind me on a bench at the Bell Museum (I thought he was napping!) and sketched me sketching the sheep diorama. (You can see it on page 181 of his book, "Creative License.") We're artists, we're sketching out, we're sneaky.
So I'm going to get more sneaky. I'm going to start standing in the view, in the line of vision. It will take a while, but slowly, page by page, I hope to infiltrate more and more journals—it helps to have a goal.
Previously I've often made friends who join me for a meal, sketch in my journal (this is actually a wonderful way to capture moments of your time together and have a sketch by that friend in your journal). Now I'm going to extend my push in the other direction, into their journals. I smile when I think of the confusion, years from now, when someone looks through seemingly unrelated journals and notices a large-nosed woman with braids who keeps popping up everywhere.
The thing is, I don't often let people take my photo—"I'm in the witness relocation program," I always say, just before I duck and dash away (another reason to wear comfortable shoes). And it's not like I don't have lots of friends who take great photographs, I do. (Remember, one of my mottoes is, "Always have a professional photographer on hand.") But since most of the photographers I know don't keep journals, and the goal is to get into as many journals a possible—well you get the idea.
Start drawing your friends more and start infiltrating their journals by positioning yourself somewhere close by. Sit very, very still (that tends to encourage artists) and say odd things every few minutes so they'll have something to jot down!
No friends who sketch? Well then here's another reason to venture out and connect with folks who do sketch out. Your own world will be made richer by seeing it (and yourself) through their eyes.
I'll keep you posted on my new goal. A new life-list as it were.