I have followed Manchester Urban sketchers facebook site and know a few of the members but until now had not attended an event. Partly because of other commitments and partly because I don't like sitting out in the cold!
Today was the ideal opportunity to dip my feet in, as an introductory meeting was being held at Salford Art Gallery, where I had my art club meeting later on in the day.
The event was opened by Amy from the gallery and four members sat at the front.
Anne Percival gave the introduction and continued with a brief history of the movement, which started in 2008. After a session, the aim of the group was to share their work; not to compare it. Artists learn a lot from each other and she told us that sketches, can evoke more memories than a photograph, as you have immersed yourself in the moment.
Next to speak was Roger, who told us that he bumped into a group of sketchers at the Manchester Symposium and decided to go home and get his paints etc. and join them. He explained that only simple equipment is needed and whilst out sketching, he discovered a whole new world of buildings and viewpoints he would never have noticed before. He said, "it was a great way to meet people and make friends."
Andrea added that you should start off by being comfortable in your surroundings and with the materials and that you don't have to post your sketches all the time. She encouraged people to dip their toe in, starting today after the talks.
After the talks we had a choice of following the fourth member, Colin, through to the other gallery for a short demonstration or to go out sketching.
I decided to watch Colin before doing any sketches.
Colin explained that when starting a sketch there are no rules; sometimes he uses pencil first, other times colour first.
He started the sketch of the corner of the Coronation Street set by finding an eye line. He then sketched his design out roughly with a graphite stick, before starting to find details. He then used a pen, adapting the drawing as he goes along, concentrating on the things that interest him.
After drawing the outline, he adds colour to highlight some features. This concept was also shown to great effect in his sketch book, where only some areas had been coloured to add emphasis to them. He also showed us one he believed had been overworked and had lost a focal point.
He finished the short session by adding thicker lines to emphasis certain areas.
A really informative demonstration and a fascinating insight into his range of working methods. As he said, "!t is a great chance to try out different ways to capture the scene.
Below is Colin's quick sketch, as well as a longer one, which demonstrates his point about only adding colour to some areas.
The time had come for me to have a go myself. I took the easy option by working in the Gallery Café. This gave me a chance to have a coffee in the warmth; a decision I was glad of, when a couple of sketchers came in from outside with frozen fingers!
By this time I had only about half an hour for my sketch so quickly got on with it. I managed to draw out my idea and add some colour before it was time to go back upstairs to show our work to the group.
It was interesting to see all the different approaches and scenes chosen to sketch.
An enjoyable event and having "dipped my toe in" I am hoping to attend some of their meetups in future. For those of you who would be interested in trying their hand at sketching, there are more workshops at the gallery, which I am sure are well worth attending; check out Salford Art Gallery website for more information.
Some of the sketches are shown below.
It was time now to get something to eat before returning to the gallery for my art club's portrait session. No rest for the wicked!