Tag Archives: sketchbook

The Sketchbook & the Bullet Journal


This is a watercolor from my sketchbook series. I am in the process of reviewing all my sketches and watercolors for a new project I am working on in 2017.  I love that I have these piles of visual diaries of everywhere. What a treasure trove! “Red Fish Shacks”. 6×8 watercolor. Original $175. Limited Edition Prints $35  Available.Photo: Mary Byrom

BULLET JOURNALS & SKETCHBOOKS: GETTING ORGANIZED FOR NEW YEAR !

Its so early in the new year it doesn’t feel real yet. I always go through this when I’m writing the date in my bullet journal. I don’t know if I’ve talked much about it but I love my “bullet journal.” Over the past year it has brought me full circle and it’s really keeping me organized. I love that it’s analog and is so organic that I can design it to fit my needs and my always changing life.

THE BULLET JOURNAL IS DIFFERENT
I discovered the bullet journal on my instagram feed. All it took was seeing one picture of it to grab my attention. There was something about its old school approach that brought everything back down to earth. It is almost meditative to keep one. In contrast to the sped-up electronic gadget world that we live in this feels positively organic! I have a field sketchbook that goes every where with me and now, and I have a bullet journal that accompanies it!

THE PROCESS

I kept a daily journal when I was 6 or 7 years old  But I never used it to keep track of things. I used it to report things after the fact. Keeping a bullet journal is the opposite, I design how I keep track of things, how my life activities are organized and then review everything to see how it turned out. Thoughts and perspective are still part of the process but is sure feels good to have a track record that I can look any time I want to evaluate how I’m doing.  I list everything I think I need to keep on track from simple daily and weekly stuff to long term, big picture stuff. The bullet journal is full of ideas, tasks, structure and total freedom. How’s that for the perfect tool for a creative type?

I tape things into my bullet journal that I’m sure I will need again. Like the name and size of the multimedia board that I want to reorder. Photo: Mary Byrom

THE RIGHT BOOK
I love this process.
Right now I use 5.5 x 8.5″ Canson Universal sketchbook for my bullet journal. It is a perfect fit for me. I draw and sketch all the time in my bigger sketchbooks with heavy multimedia paper in them, so I can paint in watercolors, gouache or acrylic if I feel like it. I sometimes draw every day  in the big sketchbooks and I now write every day in my bullet journal. I don’t journal or use the small sketchbook the way the urban sketchers do. I’m not recording or journaling my day in pictures in these small books. I’m using them for thinking and creating form and structure in my life. Bullet journaling helps me direct and harness the unending creativity that pours out of my mind and keep track of all the many helpful things I encounter and would forget it I didn’t write them down. It helps me manifest my ideas into 3D reality. Not one of the electronic apps I used for the past several years could ever work as well as this does. It was eye opening to experience the benefits of the process. I totally understand why it is so popular with so many people.

THE BULLET JOURNAL CAN BE DESIGNED TO WORK FOR YOU

I’m getting freer with my design of my bullet journal this year. I’m including more open, unplanned space in it to think things out. This is what I love about this. I used it one way for the past year and noticed that I needed more space for thinking and development of ideas. What I learned was that as an artist I do many more things per day (that need listing) than someone who has a basic 9-5 job. All my work and life details go into my bullet journal. It’s headquarters for keeping everything on track. I couldn’t believe the difference it made in my increased productivity last year. I also noticed I didn’t have the feelings of overwhelm I sometimes have when I’m so busy that I’m just going from point to point to get things done.  I am beginning to have more down time as a result of my bullet journal. Now as I’m reviewing last year and deciding on priorities for 2017 it is really making a difference in how I’m making my choices.

NEW PRINT RELEASED THIS WEEK … on my site on Fine Art America

“Deliverance” is now available in a variety of sizes as a high quality giclee.

If you wish to purchase prints of my paintings, they are being posted on my page at Fine Art America. You can follow my page on Fine Art America for notification of the release of new paintings into print editions.
A select collection is available now and more will be posted soon on a regular basis. I will be releasing small studies and reproductions of some of my larger paintings.

NEW STUDIO CLASS STARTS JAN 10TH.
I HAVE ONE OPENING AVAILABLE NOW

YOU CAN REGISTER NOW FOR THE STUDIO SESSION OF THE WINTER CLASS – STARTING JANUARY 10TH

Class meets WEEKLY on Tuesdays 10am  – 1pm.
The 2017 session will be focused on drawing perspectives, developing design, developing your color “voice” and painting large landscapes from plein air studies.
Register for 6 week STUDIO CLASS here.

If you are interested in joining the class that begins January 10, 2017 and have questions, please contact me here. 

UPCOMING EVENTS

LIVE DEMO AND Pop Up – NEW YEAR SALE & CELEBRATION – HAIKU EXHIBIT ~

I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO MY DEMO & POP UP IN JANUARY!
I will be hosting a painting demo, artists talk and pop up sale in the quiet, beautiful time of the year – January !  (I’m watching the long range weather reports – which may or may not help on choosing the date…we shall see!)
I will have small paintings from my haiku series and selected plein air landscapes available for purchase at unbelievable price points! If you are looking for paintings of the seacoast region – you will find them here.
This will be a fun & wild pop up happening!
If you love tiny paintings, adventure, unusual locations and hot chocolate this event is for you.
If you would like to receive the date, location and time of this festive event please click here! 
This event is by invitation only. Get your invite here ! 

Warmly,

Mary

Spring Road Trip

I went  on a road trip last week to the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts.  It was a quick trip that took me into a slightly warmer zone where spring was having a head start compared to my Maine neighborhood. It was lovely to see the red tree buds on the hill sides and Magnolias in bloom in the valley gardens. I love the hills and fields of western Mass. where I grew up in a college town. I brought my water-based paints and sketchbook with me on this trip as I knew my primary objective was to visit family and I would only have little bits of time to paint. In the past I’ve found that road trips can be a mix of irregular weather (yes, this definitely happened), a packed schedule (ditto), and not enough or just enough time to get everywhere and do everything planned. So when I knew I was making this quick trip I packed my sketchbooks, markers and water-based paints.

“Roof Tops” Haiku series. Ink & watercolor. 4×7″.
Photo: Mary Byrom.

We started our trip in the morning.  The sky was blue on the coast and grew increasing cloudy as we headed west. While in the passenger seat, I began sketching and painting as we entered the central part of Massachusetts. There I noticed the gray trees had changed to vibrant reds, greens, and oranges. As we drove through the city of Lawrence I first saw the masses of budding trees changing the color of the landscape. It was amazing! All the tree covered hills seemed to be subtly glowing. I drew what I saw and quickly applied water colors. I had to paint fast. I really like doing this. Its a great memory exercise and its very quick. No time to linger or second guess anything. No correcting or fixing. Its painted and then its on to the next sketch.


Spring in the Mountains”, Haiku series, 5×7 ink & watercolor.
Photo: Mary Byrom.

As  Route 2 climbed into the hills near Orange, the long views of the Berkshires came into view. The colors here are so different from what I see on the coast. The skies were filled with clouds and the distant mountains turned a muted violet blue. The nearby rolling hills turned a deep wine color.  The stands of hardwoods glowed in warm tree bud colors punctuated with spikes of tall green northern pines. I used my tiniest Windsor Newton watercolor set, a water brush and my multimedia Canson sketchbook to draw and sketch. All these sketches were drawn and painted with my sketchbook on my lap while riding in the car.


“Spring Buds”, Haiku series, 5×7, ink & watercolor. Photo: Mary Byrom.

THE PLEIN AIR EXPERIENCE ~ If you like to spend time in nature and are interested in painting outdoors but are not sure you will like it a good way to check it out is to attend a plein air demo. Some people like to paint or draw but feel shy about doing it in a public place. Others don’t have the equipment and want to see what it is like before investing in a lot of stuff they might not end up using. The best way to find out is to watch someone and see how it is done. Come to one of my plein air demos this summer and see for yourself.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE  A DEMO OR  A PLEIN AIR WORKSHOP AT YOUR LOCATION:  I am visiting art groups and associations giving demos and mini-sampler classes. I’m traveling and giving plein air workshops as well. If you or your group would like a workshop please don’t hesitate to ask for details and dates. I have available dates for summer and fall.

EVENTS

PLEIN AIR DEMO –
MAY 28TH    4-6 pm
2016 SEASON OPENING FOR BETH ELLIS GALLERY
Location: BETH ELLIS GALLERY
294 SHORE ROAD
OGUNQUIT, ME
860-338-3996

PLEIN AIR DEMO & INSTRUCTION
JUNE 16TH    4-7 pm
Location : GOVERNMENT STREET,  DOWNTOWN KITTERY, MAINE
$15 NON-MEMBERS
$10 MEMBERS
Hosted by : THE KITTERY ART ASSOCIATION

This is a great chance to see how I paint and how I guide you through a plein air painting. If you are thinking you’d like to paint outdoors come to this event. It’s a great sampler of plein air painting. After the demo I will answer questions and share insights.
PLEIN AIR CLASSES
SUMMER PLEIN AIR CLASSESTHE FIRST PLEIN AIR CLASS STARTS MAY 3RD.
CLASS SIZE IS LIMITED.
2016 summer classes “en plein air” begin on May 3rd.  I will be teaching a new easy plein air method in a 6 week block of classes. This easy method really helps beginners get comfortable with plein air painting and it helps experienced painters improve skills dramatically. It’s a tried and true method and its great to see how fast it works.

SIGN UP HERE FOR 6 WEEK SESSION.

SIGN UP HERE FOR ONE SINGLE CLASS

MAINE SUMMER WORKSHOPS

JUNE 18 2016  10-5
JULY 9  10-5
AUGUST 6  10-5
SEPTEMBER 10  10-5
OCTOBER 8  10-5

All workshops are in southern Maine in the coastal towns of Kittery, York, Cape Neddick, Ogunquit, Wells, Kennebunkport and Cape Porpoise. Painting locations include quintessential Maine places including beaches, rocky coastlines, harbors, marshes, farms, historical homes and classic small villages.
These are one day plein air workshops. All workshops begin at 10am with a one hour break for lunch. The day will start with a demo and a short talk on the specific aspects/advantages/challenges of the location.  Guidance will be given on choices of subject matter tailored to each student’s individual painting experience. Students can expect to complete one or more paintings.
Register for a workshop here. Price: $100.

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