I have a very busy week ahead of me, then a few more busy weeks to come after that. So I decided to take a morning 'vacation' and do something just for myself for a small space of time. I signed up for a sketchbook workshop at a local art supply store. Since I have been keeping sketchbooks for several years, I decided this would be a no stress situation, and I always enjoy learning something from someone else. I didn't even have to take any materials; all were provided. In fact, I think it was that last feature that clinched the decision for me, as I'm always fascinated with what other artists use to sketch or work with.
The workshop leader, a man named Don West, keeps a lovely sketchbook, which he documents on his blog. He provided us with very nice handmade journals, filled with 90 lb. watercolor pages. He also provided clever paint sets, several sizes of waterproof markers, and a water brush. Then he gave each of us something different to sketch. I got a couple of tickets to a dance performance and a Guatemalan cup. In doing my sketch, I discovered several things: I like my own water brushes better than the one he gave us, as it leaked water and kept the brush loaded with water and too wet, no matter how much I blotted it. Also, I have come to love using fountain pens, so I found the markers somewhat clumsy in comparison, though they are an excellent brand and worked well, not bleeding into the water at all. I have painted so many cups (one of my favorite go-to subjects when I am stuck) that I found myself a bit bored with the cup, but I had fun sketching the tickets! That was good to discover, too, as I often just glue ticket stubs into my journal or sketchbook. From now on, I'll sketch them in!
I did not disclose that I am already a sketchbook keeper. I believe the women next to me had some experience, as well. We all just sketched, and everyone did something clever and unique in their books. It was lovely to have a few hours where I was actually required to sketch. Then, as all vacations go, it was over too soon, and I needed to get back to work. Sometimes a few hours of vacation are just right.... no bags to pack even, for this one! And I brought some 'souvenirs' home with me; the best kind (new art supplies!) As vacations go, it was a pretty economical one, as well.
Life is too short to not take a few vacations here and there. Even if they only last an hour or two.