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06 April 2006



With this post and the one below, I'm longing to go on one of your walks/hikes with my sketchbook! I feel as though I can almost make sketches of what you saw from your vivid descriptions alone. Have you ever thought of leading a small sketch group into the areas you visit? I'm guessing not, because solitude seems a key ingredient in your work and study and perambulations.


Laura--I'm not averse to taking groups into the field. I take students into the field and, when I lived in the North Woods, served as a naturalist for group hikes. I'm not sure I would have anything to offer people who wanted to sketch--I simply try to open my senses to surroundings, capturing with all senses some details, scrutinizing the minute as well as the broad. The challenge is to make remake the observations as text, hooking them by metaphorical extension to something else and saying them in a provocative way. The challenges are largely the same, I think, for a visual artist--making decisions about composition, medium, rendering of details, how to make texture, etc. that create a response for a viewer---unfortunately, I lack the knowledge (and skills) of the visual artist (although I find visual arts very stimulating and they are important in helping me to see). As for the importance of solitude, perhaps I should try to address that in an essay post at some point, but I see better and note better when I'm alone, and I do mostly travel alone.


I really like hard bound sketchbooks as travel journels. I started taking them with me when I travelled and making a point of writing an entry a day, reflecting on the day's journey.


Clare--I think there is something to the heft and substance of a hardbound sketchbook that adds to the travel--perhaps by adding value by willing one to see more to note more. Or something like that . . .

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