Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Painting my books: The Catcher in the Rye

'The Catcher in the Rye' (watercolour on paper) - Jodi Wiley

My three precious copies of The Catcher in the Rye. For an explanation about why I own these you can read this post.

This little painting above, along with this one and also this, will be on show at the Linden Postcard Show in Melbourne opening this weekend.

The Linden Postcard show is an annual exhibition where the walls of the gallery are covered with a huge array of art in different media and styles. It's a fun show to visit and also a great opportunity to pick up an affordable piece.

It runs from 25 October - 6 December 2014. Here is the website for more details.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Painting my books: on writing

'The Faith of a Writer' (watercolour on paper) - Jodi Wiley

Years ago, in my early 20s, I did a Professional Writing and Editing course. I loved it. It was a dream. I was so lucky to spend those years thinking about writing, analysing it and doing it.

I have a half-finished novel stashed in a bottom drawer like everyone else who's ever done a writing course. I shudder to think about its contents now (painfully autobiographical I'm sure) and I have no desire to be a novelist anymore.

But during those years I devoured every writing book I could. I still love reading about writing. I wouldn't give these books up for anything.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Painting my books: signed by the author

'True History' (watercolour on paper) - Jodi Wiley

I love attending author talks and getting my book signed afterwards. It's probably my favourite thing to do. I'm a geek like that.

The only thing is, I can never think of something clever or witty or even remotely intelligent to say when I get to the front of the queue. It's very embarrassing. I console myself with the thought that they will never remember me anyway.

One of these books - The Good Daughter - by my friend Amra Pajalic, is not only signed by her, but my own name appears on the acknowledgements page.

It doesn't get much better than that.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Incidental sketching: it can be done!

The school holidays have just come to an end which means, with both kids at home every day for the last two weeks, I've tried to fit sketching into the nooks and crannies of my days.

Many (most?) days I didn't sketch. But occasionally I snuck in a blind contour drawing at the park.

I try to remind myself that it's always worthwhile taking the sketchbook out, even when a cluster of trees has to be abandoned to go push a swing!

One night I was lucky enough to be invited to a show by a friend so I took advantage of this rare grown-up outing and did a speed-sketch in the city before meeting her for our pre-show dinner.

And doing the grocery shop on the weekend (sans kids...the only way to go to the supermarket and have your sanity remain intact if you ask me!) I throw the sketchbook in the bag and grab a sneaky coffee en route.

Then yesterday we took a family drive to drop off my artwork for the upcoming Linden Postcard Show. Because the gallery is over the other side of town we took some time to have an ice-cream and visit the beach. I did a quick sketch while a big sandcastle was being built, then added colour at home.

None of these sketches are going to set the world alight but they're evidence that I can still fit sketching in, even when there seems to be no time at all. There's always an opportunity, however small, to put something down on the page. And I often need reminding of that.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Painting my books: language love

'How Language Works' (watercolour on paper) - Jodi Wiley

That's my well-loved pocket dictionary at the top of the stack. I don't know where I got it from and I also don't remember a time I didn't have it.

My name is inside the cover, written in my best primary school joining-writing. I kept it by the side of my bed when I was a kid and always packed it with me to take on holidays.

And that probably tells you all you need to know about what kind of kid I was.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Urban Sketching - Bookshop

Drew this cute bookshop with the Melbourne Urban Sketchers last weekend. I intended on drawing the Rivoli - an iconic art deco movie theatre - but directly opposite was this irresistible subject.

I sketched the same scene with Alissa Duke and Angela Williams and it was really cool to see our different interpretations of the same building.

L-R Jodi Wiley, Alissa Duke, Angela Williams

The shop is closing down after 25 years in business. What are we going to do when all the bookshops like this disappear?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Painting my books

'How to Read a Book' (watercolour on paper) - Jodi Wiley

I want to downsize my book collection. Or maybe should I say, I wish I wanted to.

It feels like everyone is decluttering. Loading eReaders with virtual books and pulling the real ones off bookshelves. And let me just say, I completely understand. I have an eReader. It makes sense to buy those one-off reads as digital files. I'm happy to step into the future on this one.

But the books I already have. Well, I'm sorry, but I can't part with them. I've had sessions of decluttering in the past. Successful sessions even! But there are some books I can't let go. Either because of the memory of how I acquired them, the meaning the book has for me, the time in my life that I read it, or the fact that I love the cover. (Yep, judging the books...)

So what to do with the unread books I will probably never read? All those books I've read that I won't ever re-read? And what about the reference books which have been superseded by internet databases (seriously, who has opened a dictionary recently?).

Well, looking at my bookshelf and thinking about the relationship I've had to books and reading in my life, the answer became clear. Make art.

For the next few months I'm going to post a little painting once a week of a selection of books from my bookshelf with a story or a little something about what they mean to me. It's a personal project I've wanted to do for a while; something I have to get out of my system.

I love the physical object of the book and I love a full bookshelf. It makes a room feel warmer. It makes a house a home. So while I'm happy to step into the brave new world of digital reading, I will probably always have one foot in the past.

If you love books, the ones you own and the ones you have read, they become part of your life, part of your story. I love that.

This little selection I've painted above is the ultimate in book-nerdiness. Books on books. Books on reading. Special mention goes to My Ideal Bookshelf which I love. It's full of interviews with writers, artists and cultural figures about books that mean something to them with very cool illustrations of book spines by Jane Mount.

That book on the top of the stack, 'How to Read a Book'. I just love it for its cover and especially its title. I still haven't read it though ;)