Urban sketching for as long as I can remember
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 …
“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
I figure that I am spiritually about 10% Dutch. I lived in Holland for six of the first ten years of my life, and I have wonderful memories of that time – memories that have been soaking back into my veins and reclaiming my soul since the minute we stepped on a KLM...read more
Our family is heading off on a two month European adventure to discover castles, fairytale villages and unicorns. I plan to sketch them in a golden journal.read more
Good friends who understand how things are with little explanation. The solidarity in having “been there”. That’s what these flowers remind me of.read more
A chilly day on top of Mount Dandenong, rushing to watercolour the view in a few minutes while my family stood shivering impatiently behind me.read more