My sketchbooks generally each have their own theme. I have a personal art-journal, from which I post pages on here from time to time; I have an urban sketchbook that my dad made for me, and another sketchbook he made me that I use for occasional life-drawing; I have a large sketchbook I used for my time in La Rochelle, and a tiny one I made recently which I started using for figure studies.
This year I was given a beautiful black concertina sketchbook, with lovely paper and a little box to keep it in (as due to its design it has no spine!) and I wanted to use it for a special project which would have a continuous theme, especially because this time I’d be able to fold the whole thing open and have a line of drawings at the end. And after buying a new book of Cotswold walks recently and discovering a beautiful ruined abbey that I wanted to draw I decided on a theme… “Ruins”.
So the first sketch was an actual ruin – the abbey of Minster Lovell, which I still need to finish and will post up next time. However I quickly decided that ‘ruins’ would be a flexible concept, to make this particular journey through a sketchbook more interesting. So the second drawing in the book is an Austin A90 ‘Westminster’ from 1955, that I encountered in the Heritage Motor Museum at Gaydon during a Morris Minor rally!
This car particularly inspired me because its owner, Richard Pape, took it on adventures across the world, and upon close inspection the car is in quite a state. With the various destinations on its journey written triumphantly down the side of the vehicle, its general appearance also tells a story… a roof-rack supports a jumble of boxes and tubing, and its interior has been entirely ripped out save the driver’s seat in order to make way for supplies, sleeping equipment and who knows why else!Far more inspiring to me than the pristine version of the Morris Traveller I saw at the rally that had only ever done 25,000 miles over 45 years and surely is kept in a garage and only taken out to be polished up and shown off at events. Everything decays eventually, whether or not you try to conserve it perfectly. Best to have some adventures first, I think.