the sketchbook project

When I left St. Norbert, I thought I was completely done with work on the Sketchbook Project .

The Sketchbook Project is an international, collaborative art project where each participating artist fills a Moleskine sketchbook in whatever medium they chose, based on their chosen theme.

My theme is ‘Faces in the Crowd’, an idea which was and still is very appealing to me because of its great figurative & commentary potential. Figurative sketching and painting have long been an interest of mine though they’ve fallen by the wayside (or at least fallen from view) since I’ve begun to focus on large-canvas impressionistic-memorealist landscapes. Choosing this theme seemed like a great chance to explore some latent creative impulses and the hours I spent at my desk flew by.


janet bright / the sketchbook project 2011 / faces in the crowd


The book (now almost complete) is intended to be read as a book; by which I mean it was created as a story that is dependant on a typical storybook timeline that is intended to be read starting at page one and ending at page thirty five. Having created the book, this of course is totally clear in my mind but what I’m finding is that (surprisingly) not everyone lives in my head and (surprise again) not everyone is inclined to pick the book up and experience it as I want or expect them to .

My initial frustration with this has passed and I’ve not only acknowledged, but acknowledged out loud (in conversation) thatmy experience of my art (as the creator) will not, and will likely never be, the same as any viewer’s experience of my art.

I’ve known and thought about this before though have never experienced it in such an ‘in-your-face’ way as recently,  when I’ve handed my newly completed sketchbook to interested viewers who (how could this be?) flipped casually (randomly!) from page to page with no regard for storyline and the associated content.

And I KNOW! I know, I know.  It sounds like I’m criticizing the fine people who’ve taken the time to check out my art and that is completely unacceptable. But all this has led me somewhere and what I’ve realized is that although my art can and will speak for itself on a certain level, if I want my viewer to have a specific experience through or see a particular component of my art,  I can’t expect them to be mind-readers. I need to give adequate information for viewers to see where I’m coming from and what I’m hoping to explore with my work.

So,  I realize that I am not yet done with my book for the Sketchbook Project; I have text and description to add and hopefully this will provide the direction I’m looking to give viewers.  It shouldn’t take too long because my ideas are pretty clear and I’m glad to know I’ll be on schedule to have it in for the January 11, 2011 deadline.

I’ll be posting images from my sketchbook on Twitter in the coming weeks and look forward to having you take a look!

the Sketchbook Project  / See also the Sketchbook Project on CNN here.

– janet bright



originally posted on 2010/08/17

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