Urban Sketches – Lunchtime outings

Dear Auntie Moonbeam

Theres’s a wonderful sketcher based out of TO. name of Richard Johnson. I’ve seen his work for years (including his incredible series in Kandahar) but only recently came across his blog.  His goal is to complete at least one sketch a week, despite the obstacles of inclement weather, kid duties and a full time job.  What a great idea!

I’ve decided to similarly challenge myself.  The goal isn’t to produce a masterpiece each week – that would be unrealistic.  Instead I’m trying to carve out time to slow down and absorb the world around me through pen & ink.  Even if it’s five minutes from inside a  bus stop during pouring rain!

Of course my doctor would argue if I’m finding time to sketch a couple times a week why couldn’t I find the time to exercise?  Ummmm….no good answer on that so we’ll just move right along….

Mr. Johnson also gave a interview to Urban Sketchers recently in which he gave an great response about his reaction being called an artist.

…I don’t consider myself an artist in any way shape or form. I just draw. And once out of the field and back in the world I don’t continue to work on the material. The work goes in my art file in the basement under the laundry and that is that. I don’t have any hidden need to let out my inner angst on a canvas. Perhaps because I am too shallow, but mostly I think because by the time I get home the sketches have served their purpose. They are a means to an end, nothing more. Plus, life is busy.

I could not agree more. I’ve been searching for a way to express that exact sentiment for years.

My sketching isn’t art.  And I don’t say that out of false modesty.  It’s just not how I think of it.

Sketching is relaxing.  Sketching is a fun way to pass the time.  Sketching provides great memories.  But I don’t value the end results so much as what they gave me.  An escape, a conversation with a stranger, or a fun story about that time I sat on the dirty NY sidewalk!

The below sketches were done over the past week and offered me a chance to leave my computer screen for a few minutes and enjoy the first decently warm days of the year.  They aren’t my best, in fact if I’m being honest I don’t even like some of them (I clearly have some work to do to get back into sketching mode!)

But in the spirit of keepin’ it real and showing the mistakes as well as the successes I’m sharing all of them – crappy perspectives and all.

One last thing to mention is another idea I’m borrowing from Mr. Johnson’s drawings – adding notes.  I like how they add context to the sketch, like little stories.

Thomson Tomb - Mt Pleasant Cemetary

St Lawrence Market

CN Tower background

Spring tree in bloomKing East

Building profile

Subway sketch


Thoughts? Comments? Insight?

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