Sunday, April 3, 2011

Special Guest Sketchbook Participant Profile: Catherine Parkinson

Meet Sketchbook Challenge participant Catherine Parkinson...

I am a artist who uses fabric and textiles to express myself. From a young child I have enjoyed the feeling of fabric, the way it moves and how it can be manipulated. I love working with fabric and fibres, it is the tactile nature of textiles that appeals to me. Quilting has to be touched and felt to be appreciated and to be understood. One of the nicest things I get asked is "can I touch your art?"   

I believe play is fundamental in learning to work with any medium. I experiment and play with fabric in many different ways from surface design through to raw edge applique and felting.

I draw much of my inspiration from the beauty in the world we live in. In a world where there is much negativity and unrest I want my work to bring tranquility through the nature that is around us. I feel that art should be something that enhances our life and uplifts our mood and evokes joy in out hearts.

Art is an expression of who I am inside and the feelings I have about life.   

How has the sketchbook challenge influenced your sketchbook keeping practice?

It has influenced me immensely. Before joining this challenge I have never drawn daily. I am already seeing a great change in my abilities to draw and express myself visiually. I am noticing far more details of objects around me and how light and colour relate to them. You could say I am seeing the world through different coloured glasses’. I have never used watercolour paint before. I planned to use watercolours as just one of many mediums to express myself but have not changed from this medium onto others as I really love using them. I love the effect they give and I want to explore this medium more, as a way to record ideas and express my feelings. 

How are you approaching each challenge-do you jump right in and start sketching as soon as the new challenge word is posted or do your reflect first?

I spend a few minutes thinking WHAT!! How am I going to do that theme? but then I reflect and seriously sit down to brainstorm by myself, with my husband and then with my children the theme for the month. I try to look at the theme from different angles and perspectives. It is amazing the differences in perspective from an adult to a child and a male and female. On a day to day basis I choose a topic off my list depending on how I am feeling that day and what idea I want to explore. 
Do you just work one at a time or do you have several going at once?

My goal is to do one page a day for the whole year so I find working on one page at a time is enough. This gives me time to focus on one idea I want to explore. 

What is you preferred format (sketchbook size, type of paper, single sheet, spiral bound etc?)

An A4 sized sketchbook is my preferred sized and format. The book I am presently using is book bound that opens quite flat. It is hard covered and black (great for me who is a dirt magnet). I use a single sheet as I don’t like having anything coming through on the previous page to spoil the next page of work. (althought this has happend even doing this) 

Have you found your preferred medium for using in your sketchbook? Water colour, pen, pencil, crayon, collage etc?

I started this year off using watercolour paints. I have never used them before. I am really enjoying the effects they create and the ease of colour application. For most of my pages so far I have continued to use watercolour and pen. I page I have used pencil, coloured pencil and collage on a few pages. I would like to explore collage and coloured pencils more through this year but I am happy to see where the creative muses take me. 


Anything else you would like to add?

I draw for 15min to 1hour a day depending on the time I have available and what subject I am pursuing. I often break my page down into manageable chunks as I am a very busy mum of 5 children and time is very precious and scarce. First I might choose a subject, and come back later and draw an outline. Then I would finish the pen work in more detail. Later on I would come back and paint. So the hour would be broken down into 10-15min manageable chunks. Sketchbooks are so transportable too, so some work gets finished off in the car, waiting at music lessons or while chatting with a friend on the phone. Drawing daily is manageable but takes a little for thought and organization to accomplish it.


  1. I love reading how everyone else approaches this challenge! I've been taking a bit of time to visit participants blogs and Flickr pages. Lots of awesome work! I love how this is connecting so many people that otherwise wouldn't have been connected.
    Great job Sue!

  2. I keep seeing your work in the flickr group and have been drawn to it every time. You've shown remarkable progress and I congratulate you for your dedication and willingness to do the work and take the time to learn.

    You're an inspiration!

  3. Thankyou Lyric. Appreciate your lovely comments!

    I love how it connects people to Carol. I've met some lovely people already.


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