Over the few years I've found that I really enjoy taking photos, especially ones of texture. I print them out on 4x6 photo paper and the put them in a large sketchbook and when I work with them to create a new piece of artwork I also attach a color card that has a swatch of the surface I ultimately create inspired by the photos along with paint samples that have notes about any color mixing I did .
“in the tall grass”
30″ x 40″ hand painted silk mounted on stretched canvas
Working with watercolors allows me to explore shapes and colors quickly and loosely letting the flow of the paint be the guide. I've created several pieces of fiber art based on my watercolor paintings, the most recent being from these:
These were just quick and easy shapes drawn while chatting with my friend Kathleen while she was working in her sketchbook at a recent sketch-in. I did a few pages of these and ended up translating them into fabric and then into this quilt:
"stuck in the middle" hand dyed sandwashed cotton 59"x39" machine quilted
So my point of all of this is that there is no one magic formula to keeping and using a sketchbook that works for everyone and that each person has to follow their own path to discover what methods and techniques work for them. As for me, I'm going to stick to the photography and watercolor path because that's the one that works for me!
p.s. if you'd like to explore using simple abstract or non representational watercolor paintings as a jumping off point to creating new fiber artwork then check out my new online class Watercolor explorations for the fiber artist here.