Brazil Trip: Symposium Happenings

September 22, 2014 | Leave your thoughts

An Urban Sketchers Symposium is far more than just attending some workshops and this year, with the activities programme, the scope was much richer. Along with scheduled activities there are meals to be had and other sketching to be squeezed in. This sketch was the last I did in Paraty – on the Saturday evening in the fading light. I had planned all week to do a sketch specifically of the giant cobblestones of the streets…but in the end this quick sketch was all that I could manage. It turned out more about the street than the cobblestones but I hope it conveys the sense that it is hard to walk on!

Really the symposium is all about meeting people who love to sketch…
Seeing them everywhere you look (Tia from Singapore sketching in wild weather)
Making new friends with local sketchers who you have never come across before (more about Paulo and his tea later)
Meeting up with people who your have known online for a long time. Both Sueli and Regina have been FB friends for a while so it was special to meet them.
There were many other people that I met as well…but sadly only a few photos.

In between events, groups formed for lunch… this day we entered an empty restaurant only to be followed by 3 or 4 other USK groups. The kitchen seriously struggled to cope with the load and some of us didn’t get our meals.

You know that there is going to be a problem when you finish your first sketch and start to contemplate a second!

Navigating the hide tide was an extra higlight of this years symposium…and lots of fun!

And the fact that it got dark at 6pm. This meant night time activities
Demo of the lamps of Paraty with local artist Iovesyo Ramos

Dinner: The fun of finding a place when you have a big group… and the traditional sketching the sketchers (this night on the table cloth). I sketched less at dinner time this trip as I was preserving energy for my teaching commitments. I can sketch all day and night – but teaching is far more draining – and contrary to popular belief I do not have unlimited energy.

Nice to just have dinner with a smaller group too. Exciting to meet Paul and Linda Heaston. I have been a fan of Paul’s work for years and it was just so special to get to have some time with him and his lovely  wife. Very cool to be included in his sketchbook too – see here. And it is always nice to hang out with Richard Alomar too… so much we could talk about. If you missed it- his walking the streets activity was a real lightbulb moment for me.

And when I have the energy it is a lot of fun to sketch my meal.

Lovely contrast between my loose splashes and Paul’s cross hatching!

I really loved the activities programme and the Friday afternoon particularly. It was nice and relaxed not having to register for anything and wander around checking out a few different ones.
Not surprisingly a large group formed around  KK and his demo of drawing with dry twig and ink.

I ran into Marc and just wanted to do a quiet sketch – I ‘needed’ a sketch of Matriz Square in my book.
Well, expecting to do a quiet sketch when Marc sets up his easel was a little naive… soon a group formed. But I got my sketch done and was happy.

Some silly photos with Luis my great friend from Lisbon … just to prove that it is not all serious sketching. No idea what we were laughing about so much… I am sure it wasn’t that funny! (hey Luis?)
Saturday afternoon: Being part of the Big Crit event was wonderful. Organised by Fred Lynch… you can read full description here. Each participant, sketchbook  in hand, cycled around instructors, receiving a quick critique of his/her work from each of us —”not unlike speed dating!”

We had a small room so it got a little crowded and noisy but oh! so much fun to be given a short period of time to review and comment on each person’s body of work contained in their sketchbook. Quite different from the process orientated, singe image crits that I normally do in my own classes.

I always talk with a pen in hand so this is my messy page of scribbles I did during the 2 hours. I really LOVED it. Totally inspiring event for both the instructors and participants… and I really hope it will be on offer again next year. Huge thanks to Fred for organising it.

Final afternoon included a sketchcrawl and group photo. I am not sure that many people had much sketching energy left. I had to rush off and do a sketch for the silent auction and then do a few chores…(so little time during the 3 days to do anything else)

The closing ceremony… how to look at the sketches on auction in the small room??? Talk about packed. The usual taking of photos with people in poor lighting conditions….

And then… totally unscheduled… and only in Brazil… the dancing started. First a few people in the corner and then it got bigger and bigger… (I also have some video but not sure what to do with it!)

And finally after it all… a number of us had an ice cream to end the day (well some people went out for much longer- but I was not one of the party party!) Amazing that the FOUR were there all together… Jason, Simonette, Orling and me are the only ones that have been to all five symposiums.

Ok… next post I will share all about my workshops.

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