Plein Air

Day 7/365

I am a bookbinder, I hand bind blank books.

I also use books; as journals, sketchbooks, idea books, for to do lists, for a bucket list . . you get the idea – I use a lot of books.  But this is my world, it’s what surrounds me and it’s my everyday.  Many times I’ve heard people say that they never use their journals and wish this wasn’t so.  The books I make are meant to be used and well-loved; write in them, sketch in them, spill tea on them and yes, even rip out the pages if you really want to!  It’s your journal!!

But before I get totally carried away with my artsy-fartsy book arts ideas, I’m going to back up to the beginning, to the start of a creative journey.  I’ve decided to write a few posts about actually using the journals I make and how to get started.DSC_0100

So, today’s tip is: plein air.  Yup, that’s it: plein air.  It roughly translates to: ‘in the open air’, from the 19th century style of painting outdoors and one of the main components to French Impressionism.  I also think of plein air as having a strong sense of open air, or open space.

In the context of this post and sketching or journalling, I think of it as starting with a clean slate, in a space that is open.  For me, that might mean actually going outside, to the local park to sketch, going on a hike, or to a corner coffee shop to people watch and do a bit of writing.  I think it comes down to the idea of clearing my mind and letting inspiration come from the moment, my surroundings.  I find that physically removing myself from my studio/office and all the ‘to dos’ gives my creativity breathing room.  I realize that this isn’t always possible; clearing off a desk or table top can have the same effect!  Give it a try, I’d love to hear how it goes!

I’ll be posting more ideas for using Sprouts Press handbound books as the weeks go on, stay tuned!

ps. The photo above is from an amazing cottage trip near Algonquin Park in Ontario.  This is not my local park (I wish!), but I spent a lot of time on that bench sketching.  When I cannot get out to sketch or journal, I go on memories like this one.