Today is Australia Day – our national day. It’s a day for outdoor celebrations, events on the harbour, a day at the beach or a BBQ with family and friends. I rarely do anything big on Australia Day and often it’s a simple family day. But this year it was even more low-key – I needed to spend it at home doing chores as I am moving soon (more about that later). So I headed out early to do a quick sketch of the harbour before things got busy.
My destination was a favourite spot – Clarkes Point in Woolwich – where I normally catch the ferry across to Cockatoo Island or into the city. It was a grey morning but I still enjoyed sketching the view towards the Harbour Bridge and also of Cockatoo Island. By the time that I had to leave (9.15am) the park was filling up with families having picnics and people attending a local award ceremony.
This morning was a great reminder to me that I just have to make the effort to get out sketching.
Not only did this morning’s sketching session get my creative juices pumping but I also had a great conversation with Michael, a local oil painter. Having small chats with people while I am working really energises me, and I came home happy to spend the rest of the morning clearing out my filing cabinets!
Note: I know that the thought of other coming up to look at your work is one of the aspects that make many people afraid of urban sketching. But once you overcome that fear, the interaction with passers-by is the best part of sketching on location. I wrote about this in a previous article: Are you afraid to sketch in public? There are some additional tips in the comment section too.
At times the interruptions do affect the sketch, but for me that is all just part of the record I am creating. Today my conversation with Michael occurred after I had put the first ‘pass’ of watercolour washes down. I normally would just start working into wet, but by the time we had finished our chat, all the paint on my page was dry. I also realised that I only had 3 minutes till my parking ticket expired, so a little mild panic ensued and the end sketch isn’t quite what I had planned. But I am happy with what I have.
My big takeaway from today is that I must schedule some regular short sketching outings during my daily life. I do try to sketch when I go out for other reasons, but it’s all too easy to feel the need to rush back to my work. Dedicated sketching sessions are what I need!
Do you schedule sketching time (outings) in your daily life?