Posts Tagged ‘sketchbooks’

Springtime in Venice

Posted on: March 5th, 2017 by jmbroekman 2 Comments
venice palette

The magical city of Venice

In two weeks I will be embarking on a brief getaway to Venice with an old camp friend. Italy has always provided me a boatload of inspiration; and Venice, one of the more sinister and magical cities on my list, is no exception. Two new sketch books are already bound and ready to go. I have no idea how realistic this plan is, but, I have visions of filling one just with bridges, and the other while I drink coffee in a different campo each morning. Spring may arrive on the calendar while I am there, but I suspect the weather will be more cold, wet and raw, than warm and conducive to spending hours at a time sitting outside sketching! So we’ll see how many pages I fill.

Preparation and Perfection

I’ve been distracting myself by trying to pick the perfect palette of colors to fill up my travel box – even if the “perfect palette” (other than my favorite travel tool: pocket-palette) is a pretty ludicrous idea. It’s been a fun exercise – making little swatches of color, putting them next to and mixing them with each other. It serves to remind me what brought me down this path in the first place: color. I can still picture myself as an elementary school child, happily spending countless hours rearranging magic markers in their box – preferably a great big set of them. Painting little swatches and moving them around on my table – or better still, moving the tubes of paint around – this week, transported me right back to those childhood days.

These will be new materials for me in Italy. It’s only in the last five years (the same amount of time in which I have not been back to Italy) that I have had the courage to work with ink and watercolors. I’m looking forward to seeing how I respond to that combination: Italy + Ink.

And perhaps most importantly, dreaming of how I will spend my 10 days is also doing wonders for moving me back towards some level of sanity – at least temporarily. Donna Leon’s books, which take place in Venice, are providing the backdrop for these dreams. I highly recommend them for well-written escapist mystery literature – even if you don’t have plans to visit.

Great Cranberry Island Drawings

Posted on: October 12th, 2016 by jmbroekman 1 Comment

Great Cranberry Island drawings from my sketchbooks

I am home again, trying to get organized and settled. My studio is in need of a major clean-up, which is often the case after I’ve been away from it for a period of time. In the meantime, though, I’ve posted pictures of several pages of Great Cranberry Island drawings from sketchbooks I completed last month. You can see them here, or by clicking the link in the sidebar to the right under pages, titled “Great Cranberry Island”.

The drawings and sketchbooks are just part of what I did on that little rock off the coast of Maine. I spent most mornings out and about on the rocks, drawing from the magnificent landscape. In the afternoon I was in my studio working on several mixed media abstract paintings on paper. The paintings reflect everything I was inhaling on this spit of land surrounded by water: the light, the natural beauty, the sounds of the tides coming and going; and perhaps most importantly, the paintings are a reflection of the sense of freedom and joy that I felt there. Thank you Heliker-Lahotan Foundation!


Posted on: January 1st, 2015 by jmbroekman 2 Comments

As 2014 comes to a close, I mark the 10th anniversary of my mother’s passing and complete the last page of my current sketchbook. January brings me back to the drawing-a-day project with renewed energy, and some newly bound sketchbooks. Maybe this year I’ll find time to update my own website (operative word here is maybe).
Here’s hoping that your holiday season was bright and warm, and that 2015 will bring you good health and lots of laughter.

Another Visit to Swan’s Island

Posted on: September 5th, 2014 by jmbroekman 4 Comments


Last week we headed down east, in what is fast becoming one of my favorite traditions, to spend time with our vacationing New Jersey friends on Swan’s Island. What can be better than a late August trip to a place where we have no wifi, and nothing to do but read, draw and collect rocks? We ate great meals with raucous friends and played silly games – loudly enough that the neighbors across the road commented on what a good time it appeared we were having.

Last year when we got home, I was preparing to pack up the studio for renovation. This year I am looking forward to a season of hibernation inside my beautiful new studio. First up, though are all the necessary preparations for winter: canning tomatoes, making pickles and relish, painting the storm windows, planting the garlic, and who knows what else. I love this season. Despite the overwhelming list of “must-dos” I am doing my best to maintain that post-vacation zen-like approach to moving through my days. I hope you all are enjoying the last weeks of warm sun, and moving back into your own school year routines.

Spring Flower Drawings

Posted on: June 1st, 2014 by jmbroekman 2 Comments


It has been a cold, wet and late spring in Maine, yet the flowers like faithful friends continue to poke out of the ground and smile in our direction. And I have finally begun moving back into my studio – notwithstanding that I still have some work to do to complete the renovation. It’s done enough; and yesterday one very cool made-for-me table was installed (a big shout out and thank you to John Farrell of Figures of Speech Theatre for that). So today, despite homasote that needs paint, and a window that needs glazing, for the first time in what felt like an eternity, I spent time with artists colors in my brand new studio. It is thrilling (and somewhat terrifying if I am to be honest). Soon I will post pictures of the new space, and hopefully in not too long new paintings!