In December 2015, the wonderful @jobaker gave me a Visual Journal as thanks for contributing to a #TeachMeet. You sketch something every day for a year. If you choose a subject relevant to how you fill that day, it’s also a record of how you spent the year.
Jo is Head of Art; I am someone whose brother did her Art homework. Sketching is not something I’d normally choose to do, but I like a challenge, and love a routine. So on 1st January 2016 I sketched a star on my Christmas tree. Over the next 365 days I chose appropriate subjects and produced quick sketches.
On 31st December I sketched the same star, to see whether my sketching skills had developed. To be honest, I’m not sure they had, but it had been an interesting experience. Choosing what to sketch, looking properly at what I was sketching, definitely encouraged me to #notice – to pause, think, and take a few moments of quiet time.
Every sketch was completed quickly. I rarely used an eraser to correct/improve. Some were certainly better than others! I’ve selected nine to give you a taste.
On 6th January I spoke at a Staff Day, staying overnight at Frensham Ponds Hotel. Looking out of the window from my breakfast table, I saw palm trees around the water. I did a quick sketch, photographed it and sent it to my husband. The fact that he recognised what it was helped my confidence!
I realised early on I liked sketching shapes. In our kitchen there is an old beam along which we hang dried hops. On 16th January we put up new hops and I made a quick sketch of the shape.
Still thinking about shapes, on 26 January I had my hair cut, shorter than it had previously been. I asked the hairdresser to take a quick snap of the front and the back, and made the sketches.
Twice a week in 2016 I visited my 94-year-old mum. Each month I sketched the picture on her International Fund for Animal Welfare calendar. My favourite comes from 1 March.
In April we had a brilliant holiday in California. I sat on the beach each day and read good books in the sun – my idea of bliss. On 9 April I captured the scene.
I travelled to Eastbourne three times to conduct five senior leader appraisals. One visit took place on 9 June, and walking to the restaurant where I had a meal in the evening a seagull crossed my path. I took a quick snap on my phone and sketched it from the photograph. (I sketch quickly, but not that quickly…)
I enjoyed sketching logos – on 20 June we went to Nottingham to pick up copies of my bound doctoral thesis (the completion of which was my greatest achievement that year!) and had a celebratory lunch in Le Petit Paris.
On 20 August I gave Phoebe, my one-year-old great-niece, a large (dressed) teddy bear that’s about the same size she is.
And on 20 Nov, as part of #teacher5aday #photo, I sketched a childhood toy.
There you have it – not great art, perhaps, but a great record of a good year!
All photos: John Berry. All sketches: me!