Monday, January 30, 2012

Sketchbook Mania- A Tale of Procrastination

Have you heard of the Traveling Sketchbook Project? It's a brilliant plan where anyone, anywhere can order a blank sketchbook, fill it with whatever artsy medium suits their fancy and send it back to be a part of a world traveling exhibit of artists sketchbooks. They even have ideas of themes as a jumping off point.

I loved the idea, and ordered my book just before the deadline last fall, choosing "Uncharted Waters" as my theme. It just seems to go well with the unknown future, antsy, restless, can't believe I turned 40 type of energy I've been feeling.

It came in November, and while I was excited to open the package, I was confused at how flat it was. I ripped it open right there at the mailbox, and to be honest, I was a little disappointed. It was small, thin and just so very plain. Of course the idea is that as the artist, I get to dress it up, but it just seemed so little and plain Jane.

I set it on my shelf where it sat, neglected and alone for 2 1/2 months. Poor thing.

In my defense, winter is a busy time full of holidays and celebrations and my craftiness was being used up on other endeavors instead of the sketchbook.

About two weeks before the deadline to mail the finished book back, I started thinking about the project. I had already paid, and there are no refunds. Since I'm incredibly cheap thrifty, I didn't want my money to go to waste. Plus, they blacklist you if you sign up and don't finish. I had to maintain my good name, and honestly, as soon as opened my mind to the project, the ideas started to flow.

Nine days before it was due, I actually started. First thing, a purple velvet cover, during the attaching of which, I learned about spray adhesives, and probably lost a few brain cells in the process.

For the last week, I've been sketching, painting and gluing like a mad woman. I've torn up my all of my crafty areas and made a giant mess of my home. Paint, stickers, fabric and trim are spread across almost every flat surface in view. I discovered how amazing watercolor pencils are, how helpful gesso is, and how quickly super glue dries things to your fingers. I also realized that I still like sparkly things, unicorns and rainbows as much as I did when I was 8 years old.

"Uncharted Waters" represents the future to me, and since young people are the future, I recruited my kids and the group of homeschooling kids that I do art workshops with to do postcard sized paintings to glue in. They were a natural fit and didn't let me down with their awesome work. I also scored by getting 9 pages out of the way.

Now, I'm down to the wire. The sketchbook needs to be in the mail tomorrow, and still has a couple of pages  to finish. The whole thing has been a mad dash, but it's also been incredible fun. Waiting until the last minute is not nearly as bad when the job to be done is one you enjoy. In this case, I've had a blast playing with new mediums and exploring things in the book. If it had been something like taxes, no amount of coffee in the world would have made those late nights any fun for me.

I hope to do it again next year, but I also hope to be a little more organized..

I wonder how many other people procrastinate as badly as I do? Part of the problem is probably just that I try to cram so many things in. How do you all handle fitting in all the things you really want to do?

As for me, I should be painting rather than typing right now.