Thursday, August 23, 2012

Book + Veggies = Inspiration

This week I did something new. I traded work for food. I had the pleasure of working with Local Food Stop, a Community Supported Agriculture program in my area. I spent my Wednesday morning bagging beautiful organic fruits and vegetables and loading them into cars for delivery that afternoon. My reward? I came home with a gorgeous bag of produce and a good feeling in my soul.

Over the past week, I have been gobbling up the eye candy in a new book I couldn't walk past at the book store. It is called Painted Pages: Fueling Creativity with Sketchbooks and Mixed Media, by Sarah Ahearn Bellemare (Quarry Books, 2011.)

I'm so glad I treated myself to this little book. Page after page is filled with happy colors, charming illustrations, and heartfelt writing. I felt close to Sarah ( I feel like I can call her Sarah) because she shared so many personal stories, pictures, creative techniques, and cozy photos from her sunny studio.

I was particularly inspired by Sarah's sketchbook style. Instead of detailed drawings, she is satisfied with simple ones that tell meaningful stories. So often I start a sketchbook only to give up because I am intimidated by the blank page. Sarah's style encouraged me to try again and to focus on the ideas and feelings rather than the details.

An that's where the vegetables come in. When I got home with my bag of beautiful veggies, I pulled them
out of the bag and left them on the kitchen table. I just wanted to look at them a bit. I was so happy with them, I decided to make a little sketch in my sketchbook.

Inspired by Sarah, I decided to make some copies of my sketches to use in collages down the road.

I also decided to create a different look using tracing paper and watercolor paint. I like the way tracing paper can be layered or stitched in collages for a dreamy effect.

I'm not sure how I will use these sketchbook veggies.

Nor am I sure how I will use this veggie.

If you need more nourishment ... check out Sarah Ahearn Bellemare's blog for more of the creative kind. She also has a wonderful etsy shop and is currently offering a special autographed book+print deal!


  1. That looks like a very inspiring book. Am on my way to check out her blog now.

    Nice fruits and veg ... Both the real ones and the drawings!

  2. Sarah is as sweet as she seems. I had the pleasure of taking a class with her and she is just charming, as charming as her work. Your veggie sketches are darling and I want to eat that watermelon radish just because it is so pink. Nice to be able to work at a CSA and come home with a bag of bountiful goodness. xox

  3. Gosh, I wish I could remember who I took a class from as I was introduced to the technique of using tracing paper images onto the pages in a journal. This teacher also said it was a great way to copy an image you wanted to use and lay it over the page to see how it would fit in... or not... before you committed. Miss Can't Make a Mistake over here thought that was genius!!

    1. That is a great idea. I kind of have the opposite problem. I just blob it on there and then think... why didn't I think about that first?!


  4. jeez I was going to say the page was fine before the tracing paper... I love a grid, and spare illustration,but no, there you go making it even cuter...

    oh and the turnip? add it to almost anything, esp. soups or casseroles, diced up tiny so it dissolves for extra flavour.

  5. Thank you so much Denise! That sweet veggie is actually a watermelon radish. The flesh is watermelon pink. I am saving it for the right moment. Maybe atop a fluffy spinach salad. Or maybe with a beer. Probably the beer.

  6. This post has really inspired me,thank you.