Lockdown sketchbook 2020

The photo shows two small A6 Hahnemuhle sketchbooks. One is unused, pristine and neat. The other is battered, engorged, distorted.

Morag Thomson Merriman, Lockdown Sketchbook
During the first lockdown in 2020, I made a decision to create a lockdown sketchbook based only on my memories of landscapes, past and present. I wanted it to be an intuitive response and I had to let go of my fears concerning topographical accuracy for this project. I had to learn to trust myself and let the process show me the way.

Of the two new A6 Hahnemuhle sketchbooks I already had in my studio, I chose the one I had started sketching in. Only the first few pages had been used. I gave myself permission to paint over them partially, leaving some marks as shadows. The memories shifted and I paused.

Then it began. I started dancing back and forth across all pages, building layers, building memories, marking, adapting, tearing. Textured surfaces started appearing. A new memory triggered by fresh marks on a page would trigger another elsewhere in the sketchbook, and so further layers were created throughout, again and again. It was exhausting, it was exhilarating, it was addictive.

Morag Thomson Merriman, Lockdown Sketchbook

The more I worked in this A6 sketchbook, the more my work spread over and around the edges of the paper, causing them to buckle and undulate, like a geological cross section of a landscape.

Some pages are so thick through manipulation that they are as thick and as stiff as cardboard.

The spine has shifted and stretched.

This is a sketchbook that doesn’t close.


The following shows a selection of these landscape memories that I’ve shared so far on Instagram, will be adding more in due course.

Such wonderful texture…like faded and peeling plaster, Jill Mundy