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SKETCHBOOK: a creative tool and a way of life that celebrates design and drawing as vital ways to see and value culture, to discover ideas, and to envision a better world.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Gabi Campanario reviews Jim's book!

Gabi Campanario, the award-winning journalist for the Seattle Times and founder of Urban Sketchers, posted a review of my book Freehand Drawing and Discovery in his blog.  It's a fun read, and includes the short promo video from the book's Amazon site.  I hope you enjoy it!  Here's the link:


Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Week in a Monastery

Many of you know that I spend the first or second week of every year in silent retreat at The Abbey of Gethsemani, a Trappist monastery in rural Kentucky. It's an amazing week every time I experience it; I always leave feeling grounded, with new perspective and insights.  This year marked my 12th retreat.  The monastery welcomed me back with snowfalls and temperatures in the 20s all week, so much of my sketching was done indoors. I hope you enjoy this glimpse into a way of life few people see, and which is virtually unchanged since the 11th century.
The entrance to the monastery passes through a beautiful cemetery, with graves dating to the mid-nineteenth century.
The monks' entry procession to celebrate the Eucharist.
A monk and a young novice as sketched from the balcony.

Retreatants dine in silence in front of large windows which look out onto the idyllic rolling countryside.

Temperatures in the retreat house often require dressing in layers.

Father Christian, the Retreat Master, reads during a discussion with retreatants.

I was a little self-concious about sketching during services, so I sat in the back of the balcony and captured these retreatants chanting the psalms as the monks chanted below.

Father Christian, Retreat Master
A view of the monastery church and the monk's cemetery, sketched during last year's retreat.