Several years ago I came across the sketchbooks of Horace Pippin and it was the first time I was struck by how weighty and real sketches can be. The power of the image was in their content and the content was the first World War. Pippin gives us images of explosions during battles, of soldiers hiding out in trenches and planes flying overhead. He titled the sketchbooks "An Autobiography" and they also included descriptions of the war and other events of his life written in script. What I saw in these images influenced the way I composed my sketchbooks with one exception. Rather than add text I decided to eliminate it entirely, other than the occasional label or date. I began using a separate sketchbook just for jotting down notes and ideas and observations for paintings. I have been sketching as long as I can remember and my earliest sketchbook in the collection goes back to when I was 8 years old. Together all the sketchbooks create a sort of visual autobiography. The richest images were created while traveling and also during intense periods of my life. Sketching has become habitual, practically compulsive and all the drawing is directly from life. The sketchbook images are specific to a topic or place and are grouped together to create a series of related images within the same book. This creates a narrative and has a storytelling quality which I was so drawn to in the Pippin sketchbooks. The images below are a rare exception. These sketches include images from Taos as well as India. I like this particular sketchbook because it encompasses all the subjects that I explore in my paintings- the landscape, the figure, religious imagery and architecture.