Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Jennifer Orkin Lewis (August Wren) -- a Sketchbook Conversation


Today's Sketchbook Conversation is with Jennifer Orkin Lewis. You might know her from the feed August Wren on Instagram where she shares her daily sketchbooks. At least one of my previous Sketchbook Conversations artists has mentioned Jennifer as an inspiration for her own work and I think it's clear to see why. 

I'll let Jennifer take it from here:

I'm an illustrator and painter and a RISD grad in textile design. I live in a pretty little village just a bit north of NYC on the Hudson River. For many years I was a stylist in the textile industry.

sketchbook, Sketchbook Conversations, painting, Jennifer Orkin Lewis, August Wren

Keeping a sketchbook for me keeps me fresh, it gives me the chance to experiment with ideas, color combinations, compositions and techniques. If I didn’t have a daily sketchbook practice that I am committed to I’m afraid I would rarely do anything new. 


sketchbook, Sketchbook Conversations, painting, Jennifer Orkin Lewis, August Wren

It has become a chance to play everyday for even a short amount of time. It has become a kind of diary for me, I can look back and remember things that were happening at the time, I record my travels and my every day life and imagination.


sketchbook, Sketchbook Conversations, painting, Jennifer Orkin Lewis, August Wren

I have tried keeping a sketchbook for 25 years but I never managed to complete any. I started this daily practice in January 2014 and have filled it every day since then, I have about 20 full sketchbooks now.


sketchbook, Sketchbook Conversations, painting, Jennifer Orkin Lewis, August Wren

I find my inspiration everywhere. Taking a walk, seeing spring flowers blooming, a crowd of people, a color combination. I try to open my eyes and see what is happening around me and use that as inspiration for my paintings. 


sketchbook, Sketchbook Conversations, painting, Jennifer Orkin Lewis, August Wren

Its the little everyday things I come across that show up in my paintings. That said it isn’t always easy. Some days I’m just not in the mood, I’m busy or I don’t feel well. 


sketchbook, Sketchbook Conversations, painting, Jennifer Orkin Lewis, August Wren

I do make myself start, just the act of picking up a brush gets me going. I don’t love every piece I make but as a large body of work it becomes something else.


sketchbook, Sketchbook Conversations, painting, Jennifer Orkin Lewis, August Wren

I love painting with gouache the most. It’s something I learned to do very well when I began as a textile designer after college so it feels very comfortable to me. I also use watercolor fairly regularly.


sketchbook, Sketchbook Conversations, painting, Jennifer Orkin Lewis, August Wren

My advice if you're just starting out is be yourself. Practice everyday or as much as you can, it can take years to develop your style, make marks, use colors and paint subject matter that excites you, your style will emerge from that over time. 


sketchbook, Sketchbook Conversations, painting, Jennifer Orkin Lewis, August Wren

If you look at others work for inspiration close it down when you’re doing your own work so it is really yours and not a copy. Don’t worry about the final outcome during your creative playtime. That's where you discover the most about yourself.

sketchbook, Sketchbook Conversations, painting, Jennifer Orkin Lewis, August Wren


Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing your sketchbooks with us today! 

Dear readers, you can connect with Jennifer:

http://augustwren.com/

https://www.instagram.com/augustwren/

https://www.facebook.com/Augustwren/

https://www.etsy.com/shop/augustwren





Missed the other Sketchbook Conversations posts? It's easy to catch up at the series web page.

And for even more inspiration, check out my Artist Interviews





*Photos in this post ©Jennifer Orkin Lewis. Used with permission.

6 comments:

  1. Thank you Jennifer and Anne. What an inspiration and great advice.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed this week's installment, Dana!

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  2. Hi Anne, I asked you once if you would feature Jennifer in one of these conversations, and I am so glad you did!! I truly love and am inspired by her work. I follow her on Facebook and Instagram, and especially love her paintings of other people and her own selfies! Jennifer, if you read this, I am a great admirer of your sketchbook process and have been keeping one of my own because of it. Thanks so much for this great post, Anne. xo

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    1. I do remember you asking, Judy! She is such an inspiration and I'm so glad she generously shared her thoughts with us here and that you enjoyed the post!

      xo

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  3. So much colour and such a wonderful imagination! Thank you for sharing Jennifer's work Anne. :)

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    1. Yes, her sketchbooks are so colorful and imaginative! I'm happy to know you enjoyed peeking into Jennifer's sketchbooks and learning about her practice!

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