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Sketchbook Page

"Marie assured me that I did not have to be an artist to come on her sketching workshop. 'All you need are some pencils and your eyes.'

"I believed her and was whisked to the south of France. We lived in the heart of Provençe. The scent of lavender filled my evenings, the varied ochers of the land filled my days. I wanted it all in my journal, but my pencils and my eyes were not enough. Marie insisted that sketching is not about the aesthetic. It is only about my experience. But, in my heart I knew, I was not the artist I longed to be.

"Our ten days were so short! I left by train, headed for Geneva. I sketched a roof, a silo, a tree, a vineyard. There were the cut-banks outside of Grenoble... the bicycle painted on the outside of the train... the domes of the many churches.... the gay umbrella in the train station... a street scene.... capitols on colonnades.... a laundry rack hung from a window... rows of a vineyard... and swans on Lake Lucerne. And, along with my sketches is a conversation sprawled across the page in pictures with a 79 year old Swiss woman who could not speak English. My hand filled my page with bits of color and my eyes saw something new.

"Marie's words come back to me. 'It is not the aesthetic.' I got it! It is my life on this page. It is my experience, my connection to my world. It doesn't have to be beautiful art. But, it is all there! And, even now, as I sit in Corvallis, this page comes alive with sights and sounds and an old Swiss woman....

". . .one day on the train, going to Geneva."

 --Dianne Roth



Sketch of Gordes


"I am most comfortable with a pencil in my hand. I love to doodle and play with design, line and shape, so I was very excited when I learned about sketchbook journaling. Here was a way to do something I adored and to give it purpose and meaning. Sketching is the opposite of being idle, for it involves all of your senses! Sketching involves a heightened awareness of where you are, the smell of the honeysuckle or rose wafting on the warm breeze, the clatter of dishes and the mingling of adult and children's voices in a nearby café, the feeling of sunshine on your shoulders and the seeping coolness of the stone wall upon which you are seated. You may appear to be very still and yet a myriad of things are happening and that is just the beginning! Once you begin to focus on the object you are drawing, you become absorbed in the lovely twists of the vine, the curve of the petals or the line of a roof. Time stands still. When you take the time to really see and capture these impressions in a sketch book, you can relive the moment many times over. When I return from a trip, I like to go over and over my sketch-book. Sometimes I strengthen a line or add color and make more notes, but always I feel like I am right back at the location where the sketch was made. Everyone seems to love my sketch books, but I treasure them. The are a part of me, my special memories and experiences."

-- Judy Findley

"The fragrance of the air, the warmth of the sun, the song of birds and insects, the tastes of wine, cheese and fruits, the fluttering wings of butterflies, French voices, the artistic plates of food, the vivid colors, the light. . . feelings, tastes, smells, sounds. . . it all comes back when I look at one of the pages in my sketchbooks.

"We sketched our response to what we saw as much as what we saw--with water, ink, paint, pencil, cut papers, words, pressed flowers, squashed gnats, dirt from the red path -- anything we felt like.

"For me, Mari's workshops have become not only a way of seeing and experiencing a place, but of truly expressing and enjoying myself within it."

--Karen Kreamer

"Back in 1995, when Mari and I were working on "Children of Summer: Henri Fabre's Insects," she suggested I sign up for her sketching workshop in Provençe. That way we could visit Fabre's museum near Avignon. Being a word person, and not an artist, I had to give this some thought -- but not for long! Mari, Provençe and Fabre sounded like a winning combination. As it turned out, I should have added "sketching" to that winning combination. Traveling with a sketchbook gives permission to sit and gaze at something for a long, long time. That's a very restful experience in our hurried world. And you bring home a unique record of the trip. Open your sketchbook on a winter's day and you can once again feel the warmth of the sun and smell the lavender."

--Margaret J. Anderson


I started out sketching with pen only... no color...too shy. Then, about the fifth day, I just exploded with colors... now colors is everything! Merci, Mari!

--Beth Butler