The life of an artist can be a lonely existence especially when your studio is your office or kitchen/dining room table and you work by yourself.  Being with others and creating helps me to fill up my energy and motivation bubble so I often take advantage of group art gatherings when I can.

I was interested to hear of a new local group started by local artist Meg Leslie called Urban Sketchers. It is a worldwide practice and provides a platform to sketch in a public space with a group of like-minded individuals. There is no instruction offered just a time and place to go and sketch with any medium you prefer. The last 15 minutes everyone throws down their work to be shared with others in the group and a time for interaction.

I shared the info with my Life Drawing group who were most interested. I was not surprised as these folks like to meet formally and informally throughout the year to practise their skills and to socialize.

So off I went to the 2nd Urban Sketchers session in Orillia which took place at Mariposa Market. There were some 25 individuals who scattered throughout the bakery and coffee shop. I stayed in the upper level of the new area in the rear where the group first gathered and found unlimited things to draw here. The original building is close to a century old and the new addition is furnished with period looking accessories to coordinate the charm of the old.

Urban Sketch NathanUrban Sketch SaraI focused my attention on the brick wall and opening with overhead light using watercolour pencils, felt pen and pan wash on my piece. I might add that I warmed up by doing some pencil sketches of people namely the local reporters of Nathan Taylor, Orillia Matters and Sara Carson of Orillia Today. I also drew a ceiling fan with wall and ceiling beyond in pen. Wow a difficult perspective!

It was inspiring to be able to sit and draw with so much subject matter available in every direction I turned. My eyes are always opened during a drawing/painting session as I see things I do not notice otherwise. This brings me back to my college days and weekly sketch sessions at the Royal Ontario Museum when drawing items in cases was the norm. It gave me confidence to draw in public with people looking over my shoulder while sketching.

Overall, this session was a great experience with no pressure to provide an exceptional finished piece. This artist feels that sketching in public with no instruction is a wonderful practice; for inspiration, for practise, for discipline, for socializing and for fun! I look forward to the next Urban Sketchers time at the Orillia Public Library during the month of March!

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