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Sketching Life with Jack Turpin

Throughout his career as a high school art teacher and into the present, the most significant impact on Jack Turpin’s painting is his dedication to artistic journaling. For Jack this is where ideas, words, and images come together; where connections are made and where life’s little details are revealed.

Opus: Describe your creative process, from finding a subject to sketching to completion.

Jack Turpin: Allowing myself the gift of time and valuing my artistic activity is absolutely necessary. The process is more important than the product. I usually begin just with reacting to my immediate environment, observing time and place and atmosphere as my pen or brush moves across my page. I never know where this may take me … everything seems possible!

O: What subject matter do you find yourself sketching most often?

JT: Local and exotic landscapes and the built environment, especially where they interact, hold a particular appeal for me. In these subjects, small and seemingly insignificant objects often catch my eye and find prominence in my drawings … things overlooked, half-hidden and “waiting” for their stories to emerge through the written word and the drawn line.

O: How do people react when they see you are sketching them or others around them?

JT: I try to sketch inconspicuously, even in a crowd. People who notice my activity and are curious enough to take a closer look are always polite and are usually interested to see more.

O: How does frequent sketching affect your other work and your creative process?

JT: Frequent sketching helps in extending my art boundaries. It keeps me examining my skills in putting into practice the elements and principles of good design. If I neglect these habits, my studio routines can languish, which in turn can affect my painting. But, most important to me, frequent sketching keeps the passion burning!

O: Does sketching help you when it comes time for larger works?

JT: Sketching is imperative for any successful completion of my larger works. I work through a series of simpler, stronger, and tighter thumbnail sketches for my studio paintings.

O: How and why is your sketchbook important to you?

JT: My sketchbook/journals are my portable studio. They speak to me (beckon, encourage, reveal) and they speak for me, presenting in words and images that which otherwise might not be possible to communicate. It is all about exploring potential and making connections. •

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