Contemplating Life in Your Sketchbook

Success consists of getting up just one more time than you fall. Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. Winston Churchill

Sketching as a traveler captures moments like nothing else I know. Of course there are times when sketching is a way to create a moment as I visualize a place as if I was there. Then there is sketching as a reflection of our thoughts and emotions.

Questions like, “What was the artist trying to say?” have always put me off a bit for the simple reason that the majority of the time when I am capturing or creating a place there is no intended message hiding on the page. When I read the biographies of great painters it is clear that Van Gough was just painting in hope of producing something to sell, while experimenting with technique and colors. Monet, like the other impressionists, was trying to “capture the light.” Many of the earlier painters were doing commissions or expressing some religious scene. It seems to my limited art history mind that the idea of having something to say is a relatively new concept, probably from journalists that need something to write about other than the technique or “gosh, that is really beautiful.”

Having said all of that, I discover that sketching is a good exercise for contemplating the issues of life. This was just such a week for me. Christmas and the end of the year always brings to my mind the Paul McCartney line, “And so this is Christmas, what have you done, another year older, a new one just begun…” – Where have I been, where am I now, and where am I headed?

It is in that mindset that I sketched this week. Here are some of the results, without commentary as that would be too personal.

My favorite quote from my book, Let It Be Hot, is: “The right direction leads to the right destination.” I still believe that today. Set a compass according to your values, interests, and talents and in the end you will succeed, even if the destination is one you never imagined – like living in France. This is true for life, careers, friends and family, and yes sketching.

It is easy looking back to fixate on the negatives which of course does nothing to help the future. One of the things I enjoy the most about Tricia’s posts is remembering our life, every post is reminder of good times, they most always put a smile on my face. So whatever the path held for us all in 2022, the important thing is to adjust our compass, then get up one more time and head out again one step at a time – as Winston Churchill said, “it is the courage to continue that counts.” And of course keep sketching what you see along the way.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. David E Buehler says:

    Loved the sketches Terry but I thought we were supposed to contemplate life in our belly buttons. After all, they are always there when you need them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pam Woolway says:

    Thoughtful, quiet and deeply generous. I’m so glad I read and considered and nourished myself with your offering. Stay well and carry on. With gratitude, Pam

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the thoughtful words, have a good next year. Thank you again


  3. elissbaker says:

    This is a wonderful post, Travelsketcher. The quotes you included are powerful and inspirational — especially your own. Reading this post made me realize for the first time a seemingly obvious point… sketching your travels improves your memory of them. For that reason alone, I want to take up sketching!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As I write about often sketching captures the moment, yes you should take it up. Thank you so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Shirley says:

    A phenomenally thoughtful posting. Loved the quote “The right direction leads to the right destination.” I think that when we follow our own ‘true north’ we never really reach a final destination, but instead enjoy lots of wonderful stops along the way; some long, some short. This is a very corny comment, I know, but your writing made me think back on some of our travels and various destinations….Happy New Year, Travelsketcher!

    Liked by 2 people

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