Many of my quilting friends have been urging me to sketch. I understood their arguments: learn to observe, understand line and shadow and blah, blah. Sorry. I just simply could not summon the enthusiasm to draw a butternut squash. I tried but there was no love.
Sketching travels, buildings, people, illustrated travel journals. Now that does interest me, because those things interest me much more than a butternut squash does. Diane ( who was of the squash school of thinking and who paints them beautifully) came up with a perfect solution for me. Buy a squash, she told me, bring it to her kitchen half way across the world and sketch her eating it. Good plan. So I booked a flight to California ( Yes, really I did! Yipee!!) but that's not for a few months and I decided I really needed to try this sooner.
So, three weeks ago I collected together the art supplies that littered the house and gave myself a goal. I had two day trips to London and a fortnight in Bath. My intention was to be an urban sketcher for those sixteen days. Not to be a good one. Not to show anyone anything necessarily. Just to be one and see how it felt.
So I started on the train to London.
And it did feel good even though I was not accomplished. So I kept going.
The Urban Sketching book somehow showed me the startlingly obvious: that a sketch is a sketch. Not a polished work of perfection but a capturing of the essence of a moment. One sketchers tip was: don't spend too long on a sketch because otherwise it becomes a painting. I found that immensely freeing. I can sketch without my brain every going anywhere near all the myriad reasons I am resistant to trying to paint.
I have also brought this book with me to Bath and find it equally helpful and inspiring.
I have had his previous books An Illustrated Life and Creative License for some time and enjoyed reading it yet it did not spark the same desire to join in. I think the difference is two fold. First, if I am going to find time in a hectic life to overcome fear and produce art work then the subject matter has to matter to me. Secondly, there is an attractive element of community to the Urban Sketching movement.. Which is how I came to be sitting in an Abbey choir stall this afternoon surrounded by Japanese waterbrushes, handbound sketchbooks and Staedtler Markers discussing ink brands with enthusiasm... But thats a story for tomorrow.....