IFJM 2017 Wrap up

I should have written this a few days ago when details were still fresh in my mind.  Reflecting back on the month of April, one thing I learned is doing multiple deadlines a

day is a lot of work and very time consuming.  It took a lot of dedication and commitment, plus juggling family life,  Using this journal to track garden chores and plant growth was a stroke of genius because it combined projects and it made it fun.  Something I normally do not sketch, flowers, made it a challenge until I got up close and personal with the plants and then I began to  enjoy it and it was easier to plan my pages based on what was getting ready to bloom.  The flowers outside were sketched outside and the house plants (orchids) where sketched at my desk. (in my studio)  All were sketched from life.

The last week has been a little hectic, today was finally calm.  I was able to sit down and decide on how I wanted to proceed.  Several garden flowers have bloomed since April has concluded.  My Phlox, my tiny little perennial irises.  My columbine.  The strawberries exploded with more flowers…the peach tree has little fuzzy peaches…the onions are coming up.  The bleeding hearts are still going strong!

The ones I were waiting for where my English Bluebells, and they have popped up everywhere.  I have been waiting for these.   It was a chilly evening when I sat down to sketch this little fellow.  It was studying this plant that made me realize they were splitting into multiple plants. (Yay, more bluebells!) This guy is an English bluebell, I do have a few Spanish bluebells, which some are technically pink.

I enjoyed sketching my garden.  Monet painted his garden many times.  I like to spend time outside painting and sketching and I usually run off to destinations around the island, not looking at what I have right in my yard.  So this year’s IFJM taught me to use my surroundings as my source of inspiration, just like Monet.

I used Stonehenge Paper to make this sketchbook.  It behaved very well, until I took it out this evening to sketch in the garden.  It was a little damp and Stonehenge behaves badly in damp or humid weather.  Not realizing how damp it was, I did my pencil sketch, then drew over the pencil in ink. In the house, the ink dries pretty quickly……not in the garden….I pulled out the kneaded eraser and was startled when the ink smeared.  Ugh.  Fortunately I was able to fix it a bit with the watercolor.  The watercolor was also behaving badly but it was letting me do things I cannot do in a drier environment so it was a tradeoff.

What else did I learn?  I learned that I can do multiple deadlines a day but I also learned that I need to be realistic about my time, I need to make sure I am not overloading myself and that I also need Me time to just relax, read or do things to unwind.  I am also going to post less on social media because it has become a time vampire.

I enjoyed adding the Cleo vignettes.  I didn’t worry about making things on the right side of the book realistic.  It was fun to have a plant study on one side and a garden diary on the other.  It also made the month flow where I had an easy day and a more precise day that alternated.

I completed another sketchbook!  That’s a plus.

My goal was to do a something with plants.  I did that but in addition, I worked on my page layouts, my color harmony, my lettering and overall presentation.  I learned that Cleo was slowly stealing the show.  She’s probably terrorizing wildlife as I type this.  I added Cleo as a comic relief and it worked.

I made one big mistake where I did one page upside down by accident and didn’t realize it until after I had inked it.  That was a bummer but I moved on.

The book sums up April as it was this year….my birthday, Easter, all parts of the month. I kept referring back to my “list” to see what gardening chores still need to be done…(the trees need to be wrapped before the gypsy caterpillar bastards start). I liked doing these story or themed typed sketchbooks so I am going to keep doing them.

This IFJM is different from the last few where the month concluded and so did the “story.”  Previous years, I felt like they could have gone on a little more.  This is also the first IFJM book where the book was actually designed with the subject in mind so it is more of a complete package than the last ones.  It was also larger and the larger size actually made it easier and less crowded looking.

I like doing IFJM and I learn something new every time I do IFJM because I can step out of my own life and look at things through different eyes and get a fresh new perspective by doing this.  I learn more about myself when I do this.

Another thing I learned is that I don’t need to belong to so many Facebook groups or communities.  Some have gotten so large that they become noise.  So I unloaded a few and will be unloading a few more because they are not useful and the “noise” is a big distraction.

Finally, I learned that time spent drawing and sketching every day is time well spent.  I have seen the improvements in my paintings and all aspects of my work so projects such as IFJM only open more doors and give new insight on goals and paths to take.

I hope you enjoyed this year and I have been thinking about offering copies.  Let me know if you are interested.

Gina aka Sonya

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