Urban sketcher or just someone who carries a sketchbook?
I have drawn for as long as I can remember, and I have carried a sketchbook with me on every holiday ever since I could afford to buy my own pencils and paper. So I have been sketching the world around me long before the term “urban sketching” ever existed – we just didn’t have a word for it when I was a young adult over thirty years ago – and I could never have imagined the internet, let alone mobile phones!
At the beginning I didn’t draw that often, and I’ll admit that I was the queen of the sketchbook which only had one sketch in it. I was such a perfectionist that I was scared to make a mistake, but when I did sit down to draw what I was seeing it really helped me to capture that special moment in time. Somehow drawing helped me soak in the environment around me like nothing else ever has – the sounds, the smells, the traffic and people going past, the shapes, colours and temperature. Even when my memory fails me on so many other things, looking at an old drawing brings that moment right back. To me, drawing is my version of mindfulness, of truly being in the moment.
Recently I began to wonder how it would look if I mapped my sketches over the years. If I grab an old sketchbook out of the cupboard or pick up a loose drawing from a box, will I remember where I was and what it was like?
Thanks to a technology which I could never have imagined when I was growing up, that is what I’m gradually trying to do here. Pin my sketches to the places I was in when I drew them, and thinking back to how it was then. It is a way of recording my memories and being grateful for all I have had in life. If you are interested in following along you can click on any of the links to see the bigger picture and, hopefully, read something about that time.
This is a big project – over 30 years of sketching what I could see around me – so adding those sketches and stories to my blog and map won’t be quick. I suspect it will be very enjoyable though, to reminisce. I hope you enjoy it too.
From my blog …
When Beth googled "magical places in Europe" to visit during our big adventure, I noticed a shift in my thinking. It wasn't just castles that seemed magic, but it was like there was some indefinable sparkle in the air where almost anything seemed special. I suppose...read more
Am I the only one who excitedly grabbed my iphone and filmed a sketchbook tour only to find that the video stood sideways on its tail? This will probably be one of those “duh” moments to the more mobile phone oriented amongst us, but I struggled with working out how...read more
Six weeks into our European adventure I started my second sketchbook - a huge achievement for me as I have never filled a sketchbook so fast - or at all really, if I am honest! It was a bit tricky getting used to the skinny, wide landscape format of the Clairefontaine...read more
Ok, so my Strathmore mixed media journal isn't really made of gold, but the metallic paints meandering over the cover and the gold edges inspired by illuminated manuscripts have given it something of a reputation as a golden sketchbook. This was the first sketchbook...read more
“Castle!” calls my daughter from the back seat as we round the bend in the highway. It is our third day in England and we still can’t believe that castles and medieval churches seem to pop up on the landscape every few minutes, interspersed by Tudor buildings and...read more
My mum was a very keen genealogist, and long before the internet she spent years researching our family history in person, gathering birth and death certificates, visiting cemeteries, hand searching shipping records and writing letters to potential relatives. It was a...read more