You could say that going out sketching is quite traditional and ordinary compared to the exciting changes I foretold in my previous blog. However, it was the urban sketching that triggered these changes. I had got into a rut, life’s problems had become overwhelming. I had no inspiration or motivation. All I knew was, I had to overcome this as art was my life.
I watched videos and read articles and experiences by other artists. ‘A sketch a day’ seemed to be a popular solution. Then I came across urban sketching – what was this? I checked it out on the internet and discovered that it was a world wide activity. Towns and cities all over the world had urban sketching groups, they went on regular ‘sketch crawls’, which means group-organised sketching in certain areas of interest. These events led to large world wide events where many groups combined. I became interested in this way of recording my day or my journey. I also liked the fact that one of the rules of urban sketching is to only draw from observation – no photos. So it was very much hands on.
I didn’t even know if I could still draw, as I hadn’t done any drawing for about twenty five years, but I took a sketchbook out. Very discreetly and self consciously I attempted to draw. I was determined not to go out without my sketchbook. I sketched on buses, trains, in coffee shops and waiting areas. It really sharpened up my observational skills. As my confidence and drawings improved, I decided to join the Birmingham Urban Sketchers, and also The Black Country Urban Sketchers. I was now drawing buildings and all forms of architecture, with challenging perspective.
I felt very self conscious when I went on sketch crawls, but I found such a mixed level of skills, it actually boosted my confidence. Also this form of art did not require perfect drawing skills, the drawings were quick and spontaneous, recording a place or a moment in time. The main thing was, I had finally got back into creating art!