Sunday, April 20, 2014

Wish I Had Your Talent

Filled sketchbooks on top shelves
In the last 22 years I have filled dozens upon dozens of sketchbooks. At last count I've filled 60 plus books. I've worked hard at perfecting my craft. My sketchbooks mean more to me than any painting I’ve ever done. I am not afraid to try new mediums, techniques, subjects and I can see tangible growth in my work. Within the covers of these books I can see my life. Here is where I am free to express myself with words and images. The pages contain the ups and downs of my life. I treasure these books.

Lighthouse Sketch 1992
Next week Danny Gregory and a film crew will be at my house to film my klass for Sketchbook Skool (the spelling isn't a typo). Danny thought it would be helpful to have students see some of my earliest sketchbooks. I had to go deep into the closet to pull out one of my first watercolor sketchbooks but I found one from 22 years ago. YIKES...this is a humbling experience! What a powerful reminder of how far I've come. I can honestly say to anyone who says "wish I had you talent or gift" ... I wasn't very talented or gifted 22 years ago.  It is also very clear how much I improved when I found a teacher who nurtured and encouraged me. Their teaching influence is very notable. I didn't make this journey alone...I was guided and nurtured along the way by teachers I admired and trusted. During their years of instruction I can see my greatest growth. I owe them a debt of gratitude! 
Lighthouse Sketch 2013

The first page of a new sketchbook feels a little unnerving and the last page feels a little sad...like the end of a friendship. With each new sketchbook I wonder where it will lead me, and what lessons I will learn along the way. 

I can hardly wait to share my sketchbooks, experience and knowledge. I'll be teaching in the 2nd Semester of Sketchbook Skool beginning July 4th this summer!

Happy Sketching!
Brenda
  

32 comments:

  1. I'm enjoying the Sketchbook Skool's klasses this first semester and am very excited that you will be teaching in the next session! I think it's an excellent idea for the teachers to show their early work. There are more than 1,000 students from all over the world, some experienced in art and some just beginning. Looking forward to your klass.

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    1. I agree. It's good to show students that growth is a continual journey. And it's good for teachers to remember where they began, too! See you in Klass!

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    2. Hi girls, isn't it amazing, our Sketchbook Skool? Cheers!

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  2. So glad you will be part of Sketchbook Skool, I'm really enjoying Semester One. Just so you know there will be hundreds, and possibly a thousand students… it is overwhelming as a student, I imagine the instructors are feeling the same. In spite of the crowd, it is a rewarding experience that I am really enjoying.

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    1. Elaine, It's been a wonderful experience to watch the excitement build and grow. I imagine each semester will bring new and exciting ideas, teachers and students to this wonderful place.

      It can feel overwhelming but I don't let that stop me. Iit fuels me on to be even better!

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  3. Wow what a treasure you have!

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  4. My sketchbooks look pretty much like your 1992 book so I guess there may be hope for me if I persist for 22 years (of course being 69 years old there may be a problem here with that!)
    Looking forward to your class... and I think Danny may be using this Skool business as an excuse to travel the world!

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    1. Diane, Yes...Danny is introducing the people to artists all over the world. I think he traveled more when he worked for the ad agency in New York.
      Happy Sketching!

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  5. Love seeing your sketchbooks Brenda, Thanks for sharing. I am loving Sketchbook Skool and will sign up for next semester as well. Looking forward to seeing you there.

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  6. I am so grateful for your generous offer of an Artistic License. Because of you, I did 75 pen and ink sketches in 75 days and built up my confidence in sketching and really looking at an object. Sketchbook Skool is so fun and I am eager to learn with you, Brenda

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    1. Elizabeth, Your words are music to my ears! Happy Sketching!

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  7. I think your 1992 work is amazing. :) I am just beginning and am so excited you will be a teacher in the 2nd semester. :) One of these days I will take a class from you. I found you when I was looking for watercolor artists in California. I just loved your youtube video on Finding Your Creative Voice.

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    1. Rebekah, Thank you for your kind words. I hope to see you in class sometime soon.
      Happy Sketching!

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  8. I think your work is amazing then and now. What i like the most Brenda, is I see your heart in your work. Thats what i yearn for. Cant wait til next semester at sketchbook skool. They are going to love your home. Karla

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  9. I don't comment often, but I'm always so happy when your blog appears in my mailbox. It's so interesting to me to see how the years shape you and only a journal or sketchbook can keep that kind of record. What a treasure you have -- and how nice that you are sharing it.

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    1. Thank you Joy. I get great pleasure in sharing and passing on the knowledge.

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  10. Brenda... I am so enamored with your art... your work... your post! true enough... it is a work ethic and desire, that we learn from. I hear this often in the quilting/sewing world, when teaching, showing works... and I have found it frustrating, too. I wasn't near as "skilled" back then either... just as you wrote about... but I do believe we harbored the gift... "even way back when!" I love your 1992 art! It's GIFTED because it is simply... where you began! And that is a celebration I would call a gift, too! Thank you!

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    1. YES! Whether it's the desire to create, passion, vision...there is a gift in it.

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  11. You are a very talented artist, and you have an eye with incredible perspective and imagination, which you somehow coordinate with your hands and brain, through pen and paint. Natural ability only goes so far. You have studied and worked diligently to hone your craft, creating beauty with each sketch and each stroke. I think you are always trying to perfect what you see in your mind. The most beautiful thing about your talent Brenda Swenson, is that you have discovered a way to share it with the world more than just sight deep…you effectively share your insights with the world so that others too can create their own beauty while learning to see differently. You teach, so that others can share what you feel in their own creations. That my friend is the gift you bring into being. You share your love of the process with others…and that takes skill!

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    1. Kellsey, You are one of the most observant and sensitive people I know. I can't wait to get a pen and brush in your hand...great things will flow from you. Hugs!

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  12. Hi Brenda! Thank you for this inspiring post. :) I think even your beginning sketchbook shows great promise in you abilities. Glad you kept on it and helped make the world a more beautiful place with your art. :)

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  13. I love your 1992 painting/sketch...it's tentative and soft, probably much like you were at the time you made it.
    Now you're teaching others to overcome the trepidation that we all feel when putting ourselves "out there." I know you're successful because of your giving spirit and deep love of what you do. It's tangible in your paintings and your written words. You're the gift!

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  14. Wow, it's great, you will be teaching in the second semester! Thanks for showing your AD 1992 sketch:)

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    1. I am super excited to be included in the project!!!

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  15. I received the email this morning for second semester of Sketchbook Kool ad it had a sketch of yours of your "sketch bag". Can you tell me where you purchased it? It looks very handy with all those pockets. I am also interestd in knowing where you purchased the plastic zipper bag you keep your minimum sketchbook supplies in; paintbox, waterbrush, travel brush, mechanical pencil, Lamy pen. Thanks in advance for any information.

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    1. Here's at link to my page with the sketchbag info: http://brendaswenson.blogspot.com/2012/05/artist-sketchbag.html
      The plastic zipper bag is a makeup bag. Don't remember where I found it.
      Happy Sketching!

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  16. Brenda, I am involved in the fabulous SS semester 1 and I've already signed up for semester 2. Wonderful that you will be there to influence us all. I always get so much info and energy from your Blog. Loved this post about the first sketchbook...not only did you have nurturing teachers but you obviously put in the work and practice. Cheers-Darlene

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    1. Darlene, Teachers can make all the difference!! When I first started painting I was very fragile and a harsh comment would of destroyed my confidence. The greatest teacher I had found a grain of hope in me. I worked so hard to raise the quality of my work to be worthy of her praise.

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  17. Malcolm Gladwell's excellent book "Outliers" talks about the 10,000 hours, and says that this is the story of success. You have put in your 10,000 hours! I say BRAVO!

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