I had a clean out of my bookshelf recently and I realised I have quite a few visual diaries.  I started to flick through them and just as one does when looking through photo albums, I spent a lot more time looking, reading and reminiscing than I had planned!  Here are some of the visual diaries I was looking through:

Visual Diaries Renata Wright

Some of my Visual Diaries

They contain ideas, pencil sketches, notes, and more….  I love them all but my favourite is one that I made from scratch in 1992 when I attended a book binding workshop.  I put together an A4 sketch book from start to finish, added a calico cover, and painted it with a favourite famous painting (as you can see I chose Van Gogh’s Sunflowers but it’s nowhere near as good as the original)!

Since then I have added sketches of the house I lived in at the time, our dog in different poses, photos of local buildings, notes on colour mixing and colour charts, sunset reference photos, quick action sketches from a local tennis match, an old woman scrounging in a wheelie bin(!), watercolour notes on painting faces, magazine articles on art, preparatory sketches for future paintings, and so on, and so on …..

Visual Diaries Renata Wright Art

Inside some of my visual diaries.

Visual Diaries j Renata Wright Art

Paint samples and colour wheels!

Visual Diaries Renata Wright Art

Watercolour face painting practise

Visual Diaries i Renata Wright Art

Ideas and sketches. Can you see the woman scrounging in the bin?

I’d love to know if you have a visual diary.  What little treasures do you have in it?  What masterpiece has it inspired you to do?



  • A really good start, Renata, and I’m so impressed you can add photos to your blog. My daughter is my web mistress and ‘though I can write my blog, I have to leave it to her to add any photos and my painting images because I’m so hopeless at technology!!! And now that she’s in the USA she’s been far too busy to do anything for me, so my updates are way behind. :-(. I should have learned, shouldn’t I? I have almost a dozen new paintings to be featured! Are you going to write your blog regularly as I want to follow it? I try to write mine once a month, but then, I just paint, I don’t teach. But I think people enjoy reading about what I’ve been doing, just as I’ll enjoy yours. Love Gilly xxx

    March 21, 2014
  • Jacqueline Payton

    Beautiful Renata! 🙂 xxx

    March 21, 2014
  • Jenny Stevenson

    I love visual diaries.. I used to have one many years ago mainly with sketches of various odds and ends but it vanished in a housemove and i havent done one since. Maybe I should get inspired and start another one. Yours are really interesting. What fun to look back through them.

    March 21, 2014
  • Lee Calley

    Great to see your blog, I have been meaning to start a visual diary, never gotten around to it. (Note to self – I must ………)

    March 21, 2014
  • Gloria Shiers

    While holidaying in France some 30+ years ago! I watched a lady sketching and painting (in water colours) her own postcards, husband sitting happily behind her enjoying a glass of wine. After speaking with them, I decided there and an then, when I retired that’s what I would like to learn to do.

    I guess it was a visual diary, a wonderful idea, with all your help Renata in the classes I have attended,
    I feel I can perhaps, make a start on my own Visual Dairy.
    Many Thanks

    March 23, 2014
  • Sandra Freeman

    Following class On Friday I purchased a visual diary now having read about your diary ideas I will make a start today Thank you for inspiration

    March 24, 2014
      • Sandra Freeman

        Yes a drawing of my new W & N Field set great now what to do today!

        March 26, 2014
  • Margaret Roeterdink

    Totally agree about the value.. And fun.. Of a visual diary Renata! I use mine ( and I’m on to number 6!) as a travel journal and place to experiment with different media & products. ( I suffer from an addiction to art supplies!) I became inspired to spend time this way after accidentally ordering a book called “Artist Journal Workshop” by Cathy Johnson. Was about to return in when I started looking through it and soon found it a wonderful resource. Good luck with this new website Renata!

    March 25, 2014
  • Hilary Robertson

    This is great Renata. I will now be inspired to get my visual diaries out of the draw and start using them for all sorts of things – like paint samples and practising sketching faces or parts thereof. Previously I have really only used them on holiday for sketching so this will be most useful.

    March 25, 2014
  • I’m in awe of the neatness of your colour charts….AWE I tell you!!!

    April 4, 2014
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