WAYNESBURG – If you’ve ever wondered where artists get their inspiration, stop by Artbeat Gallery, 52 E. High St., Waynesburg, from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday. You may find featured artist Leslie Fehling’s work a little sketchy – but that’s the whole idea of this show.
Between the Covers is a glimpse into that most intimate of places – an artist’s sketchbook. Here is where the creative process is in all its sketchy glory – those first lines that might someday become a masterpiece.
Sketchbooks are where shades of light are recorded for future reference and notes made of what else needs to be done. This is where landscapes are born and portraits begin with lines that capture the essence of an individual face.
But sketchbooks also hold images that stand alone as finished art. In Fehling’s case, many of her sketches in the show are reproduced, framed and offered up as a colorfully rich finished statement of the world she finds around her.
“My sketchbooks are a celebration of the everyday things of life, a way of remembering and appreciating the commonplace. Drawing helps me to slow down and see the beauty that’s right in front of me,” Fehling said. “When I sketch something, there’s a connection that’s created. Years later, I can look at a sketch and recall not only the place and time when I painted it, but also how I felt in that moment. The act of sketching is a form of meditation. Focusing intently on drawing or painting, my cares melt away and I lose all sense of time. It relaxes me and feeds my soul.”
Fehling found keeping an illustrated journal of sketches done on the spot when traveling to Ireland, then to Italy, was a great way to capture many details of an adventure that slip away once the journey ends. “Adding the finishing touches to my sketches later at home gives me one more chance to immerse myself in the experience,” she said.
Her watercolor sketches of her trip to Tuscany last summer has led to her being invited there this summer to teach a class. Her choice of Stillman and Birns sketchbooks along with the good work she does made her a featured artist for the company at trade shows. Two of her favorite sized sketchbooks – the 5-1/2-inch by 8-1/2-inch Beta and 7-inch by 7-inch Zeta will be for sale at the opening.
Between the Covers also features sketches by other area artists. Painter Kit Paulsen brings some of her preliminary sketches and will also be sketching on Friday. David Lesako’s sketch that led to a block print is there to be admired, along with the block that made it.
An illustrated journal by Park Burroughs shows notes and colored sketches of many trips he made in the United States and abroad to Paris, Italy and Russia. The finely shaded renderings by his wife, Alice, were done with live models.
Sandra Brown’s drawings show how she plans her intricately dyed-hooked rugs and wall hangings and Jeffery Moyers will show the careful outlines he uses to place colors on clear glass to create infused designs.
Cathy McCort, Judy Barno, Merry Dorean and Candace Radel, all sketchbook journaling students of Fehling, will also let us peek between the covers of their sketchbooks on Friday.
Between the Covers opens on Friday with refreshments and runs until May 30. Fehling lives on a hilltop in Prosperity and shares her sketches on her Everyday Artist blog at www.lesliefehling.com.