Spell books

When I was an art student, we were encouraged to voraciously fill up sketch books.

At one point, I was filling up a whole sketchbook every week.

The object of the exercise was to teach us to actively see the world the around us - to find new ways of visually interpreting it rather than to just passively observe.

I'm certainly not filling a sketchbook week at the moment, but I still nearly always have a sketchbook or a notebook on my person.

I don't often look back through them though – until this evening.

I found some wonderful visual 'spells' – I'll share them with you at some point.


Halcyon nights

Halcyon nights in London...

 Inspired today's sketch. As a young person with a dyed-black Louise Brooks bob, I spent several years living in a beautiful house in London that was filled with chaos, creative people, and a few mice in the kitchen.

My paintings cluttered up the upstairs landing – people used to have to clamber around them to get to the bathroom.

Every Sunday evening, my house-mate Simon would organise a jazz themed jam session at the local bar.

Musicians would roll up like moths to a little stage-shaped flame – guitars or drumsticks tucked under their arms, and write their name in Simon's book.

These nights were always immense fun, and I remember one singer in particular, for her charisma, take-no-prisoners attitude, and amazing voice. Sharon – I hope you're still singing!