The Sketchbooks of John A. Parks

By Peggy Roalf   Wednesday September 12, 2018

The last week of Summer brings the last featured sketchbook, as Pimp Yours also draws to a close. Today enjoy pages from John A. Parks, whose next exhibition opens in November, in Chelsea.

I regard my sketchbooks as a kind of private playground, somewhere I can go to explore an idea, try out an image, or simply spend time looking at something. Sometimes I use them for the simple pleasure of drawing. I make a lot of studies of other people’s paintings in them too, especially when I’m looking for ideas for new work or just if I’m curious to see how a work was put together.  


Because I have such varied uses for the sketchbooks they have a wide variety of images and approaches in them. Some pages are preparatory sketches for paintings and I actually prop the sketchbook open for reference when I’m starting a canvas. Other things never see the light of day, and some pages collapse into doodles, blots and jotted notes of phone numbers and reminders. 


I don’t have a single size or brand of sketchbook, in fact I’m always on the lookout for a new, better, more sympathetic paper. I find a lot of the sketchbooks have rather hard, machine finished paper, which isn’t always the best for me because I do so much drawing in pen and ink. An adult student of mine gave me a lovely old leather-bound sketchbook several years ago with a perfectly absorbent paper, and I filled it all too quickly with pen an ink drawings that came out with a lovely warm line. I’ve never been able to find another quite like it.  


I’ve never exhibited my sketchbooks but I have thought about showing some of the drawings. The problem is that this would involve cutting them from the books, which I am loathe to do. So here they sit in the studio, piling up with the years, a happy, private world to dip into.


John A. Parks is an English painter who trained at the Royal College of Art in London. Based in New York since the late seventies, he has exhibited his work widely in the US and England. His work is represented in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Royal College of Art Collection, the Museum of the Rhode Island School of Design and many private collections. He is a member of the faculty of the School of Visual Arts in New York where he teaches painting and drawing. Parks has also written widely on art and artists and is the author of “Universal Principles of Art” (Rockport Publishing), a broad introduction to the world of art. His painting is represented by 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel, in New York where his latest work will go on exhibit in November.
[pimp your sketchbook]




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