The Sketchbook Project

Years ago, my dear friend Stef introduced me to The Sketchbook Project. Basically, you order a sketchbook, fill it, and send it back to live at the Brooklyn Art Library, where it can be checked out in person or online (if you choose to have the sketchbook digitized). Some lucky sketchbooks even get to go on tours and exhibits! Stef encouraged me to participate in The Sketchbook Project, but I was hesitant. The thought of my work being part of an “official” library/exhibition of art was intimidating. Only up until very recently has my art been primarily a more personal, private endeavor.

In November of 2019, 2020 was fast approaching – a new year, a new decade, a perfect year (so I thought) to embark on a renewed commitment to further my artistic ambitions. So… I signed up to be an “Official Sketchbook Artist of the Brooklyn Art Library”. After the sketchbook arrived, it sat on my desk – intimidating me with its blankness. After a couple of days, I took a breath and put pencil to paper.

Fast forward nine months, today I dropped off my sketchbook at the post office and it is making its way to the Brooklyn Art Library. Once it is digitized at the library, it will be available for you to check out online. If you are lucky enough to travel to the Brooklyn Art Library, my sketchbook will be there for you to check out in person, that is, if it is not on tour.

Learning : Watercolor

Rocks. Experimenting with salt and alcohol in watercolor

I have always been intrigued by watercolor. Its fluidity, its transparency, the organic ways the watercolor interacts with the paper… but the same things that intrigued me so, also seemed the most daunting. A little over two years ago, I finally decided to learn more about the medium that had intimidated me so much over the years.

Through a fortunate stroke of serendipity, the person I would look to, to help me embark on my journey in watercolor is someone I met about 30 years ago. Kate lived next door to the basement apartment, my two roommates and I shared in North Berkeley. I had the privilege of getting to know Kate and her family… even babysitting her two boys. I admired (and I continue to be inspired by) Kate’s aesthetic and graphic designs. Now, Kate makes art and teaches watercolor classes & workshops from her studio in Kensington, CA.

In February 2018, I signed up for Kate’s Intro to Watercolor workshop. Through Kate’s thoughtful lessons of the basic materials and techniques, and encouragement to experiment without fear, I quickly fell in love with painting in watercolors. After the class, I began my own explorations in watercolor which marked the beginning of my Down to Earth collection of illustrations.

Slider

Sketches from my first (ever) watercolor class. Feb 2018

Then in May 2019, I attended Kate’s Exploring Watercolor with Beginner’s Mind retreat at the Tassajara Zen Center with a group of wonderfully creative friends. Through Kate’s mindful lessons and demonstrations, I learned even more about watercolor – techniques, tools, color mixing. Tassajara is tucked away in a remote area of the Ventana Wilderness. Off the grid, there are no distractions other than the inspiring views of the surrounding mountains, the sound of the creek, and the warmth of the hot springs. This six day retreat dedicated to mindfulness, watercolor and creativity finally clarified the innate connection between my art practice and my informal approach to meditation.

Slider

Sketches from the watercolor retreat at Tassajara. May 2019

I am continuing my journey and diving deeper into watercolor – savoring every moment and always learning.

Thank you Kate for demystifying watercolor and inspiring me with your graceful creative spirit. Thank you for opening my eyes to a medium that speaks to me, and speaks for me. I am so grateful our paths crossed all those years ago.

If you are interested in Kate’s art, classes and workshops, I encourage you to visit her website: https://www.katebweese.com/.

Learning : Ceramics

Ellie. ceramic sculpture

During my days at Cal, my art practice was focused primarily on two-dimensional art: drawing, painting and printmaking. For some reason, that extra third dimension seemed intimidating to me. In an attempt to push myself beyond my comfort zone, I took a Ceramic Sculpture class taught by Professor Richard Shaw. Although I had the skills to translate three-dimensional spaces and objects on to two-dimensional surfaces (paper/canvas), I still found sculpting three-dimensional works challenging, and I ended the class feeling a bit deflated – not understanding the disconnect between my head, my hands, and the clay.

Fast forward to 2013… through a mutual friend, I was introduced to Jenni Ward. Jenni was looking for someone to help her with her website. Serendipitously, Jenni is an amazing ceramic artist who also taught ceramic classes from her home studio. In September 2013, I slipped my toe into the clay (sorry, pun intended) – attending my first ceramic class since the one I took at UC Berkeley. This time around, as my hands began to work the clay – everything felt different – there was no hesitation or intimidation. Over the course of the next 4.5 years, I would learn so much from Jenni – hand-building techniques, how to make teapots that don’t dribble, why ceramics aren’t glazed on the bottom, how to throw on the wheel, to name a few – but most of all a deep appreciation for the workmanship and art of ceramics.

Thank you Jenni for inspiring me with your patience, your guidance, your beautiful nature-inspired ceramics, and your wanderlust. Most of all thank you for reigniting my passion for making art, and showing me that it doesn’t have to be just a “hobby”.

I will be updating the website with a collection of some of my favorite pieces from my time at Jenni’s studio. As an introduction, Ellie – the first ceramic sculpture in the collection – is now on the website: https://www.priscillashihcinque.com/ceramics/in-the-room.

If you would like to learn more about Jenni and her amazing sculptures and installations, please visit her website: https://www.jenniward.com/.

On Line

Forest at Night - close up view

Back in 2014, I began a series of illustrations that resulted in a collection of linescapes. More abstract than my most recent work – these illustrations are meditations on the drawing of lines. Each linescape took a lot of concentration and was completed over multiple sessions. These illustrations represent some of the first works in which I integrated meditation as part of my drawing practice.

I have added a collection of LINESCAPES to the website – you can see them HERE.

Hello world!

Morning in Santa Cruz

For many years, making art was often a guilt-ridden endeavour – distracted with thoughts of what I really should be doing instead… writing code for work? cleaning the house? – because those just seemed so much more time critical, practical, or important. Well, my life has changed through the years, and with that, my perspective. I have learned to take the time to stop, see, breathe and just – be – without any guilt or expectations. Drawing, painting, making – these are my moments of meditation.

After 20+ years of designing and coding applications and websites for others, I have finally orchestrated a website for myself and my art. At the moment, my website includes two collections of some of my favorite illustrations – Down to Earth and Used. I am in the process of scanning, photographing, and archiving more artwork and actively working on new projects – all of which I will add to the website. So stay tuned…

Making art is finally taking center stage in my life and on my new website. I hope you enjoy the view.

A very special thank you to family and friends for your love + support, and the many kind words in response to my artwork posted on social media. To my fellow artists, thank you for inspiring me with your creativity, your generosity in sharing your craft, and for showing me that making art doesn’t have to be just a “hobby”.