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Upcycling Sketches

Learned the meaning of a new word that I’ve seen kicking around—upcycling.  Apparently, it is taking something that is ready for the rubbish heap and turning it into something more valuable than it originally was.  Since I starting this blog old sketchbooks have been turning up in my life and I have been studying my older work.  The most recent sketchbook contains blind contour, vine charcoal sketches of my garden, which are 9” x 12”.  I usually do them as exercises to increase my hand eye coordination and as a right brain exercise—leaving it at that, hoping it will prove useful in terms of increasing my skills as I develop on my journey.  I found one of these drawings that were fleshed out in color and it gave me the idea to turn them all into mixed media full color abstractions.  This image I am posting today is an upcycled drawing that began as vine charcoal on paper, in black and white.  It is now done with vine charcoal, pastel pencils and oil pastels.  It remains landscape-like in orientation and overall effect but now it delights in organic shape and expressive line as well as expressive color. Just as these drawings are in a state of transition so too is my art generally.  I’m going from very precise renderings for mandala art to much more free-styled, expressive abstractions. It feels like sweet release!  Looking forward to making these sketches larger and finishing them on canvas.  Meanwhile, I plan to go through this entire found sketchbook of blind contours and upcycle each one instead of having them languish in nothingness and dust.


  1. love that you are upcycling old sketches! I enjoy revisiting old work and seeing how I can use it to further my work today. Have fun and enjoy the free flowing process. ~ Kristen visiting from CED

  2. Thank Kristen! Glad we share the adventure of rediscovering old work. You're right, it is free flowing and I'm having fun.

  3. "Upcycle"... what a great idea! It's always so interesting to look at old work with new eyes. I so love your expressive abstracts Stephanie. Actually i love everything you do. Eye candy. :-) xoxo

  4. Pauline: I think I've found some sustaining power in expressive abstraction so I'll be doing a lot more. I always love hearing your comments as well as visiting your lovely blog!


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