|7/21/18 A park near Hall of Justice, Porto|
|7/21/18 A collection of building tops sketched during|
the final sketchwalk
At the Barcelona and Paraty symposiums, I opted for full workshop passes, which enabled me to take as many as four workshops (sometimes two per day). Although I benefited from all that I learned, the experience was exhausting, and I sometimes felt overwhelmed by learning too many new ideas at once. After Manchester’s even more exhausting (though ultimately more fulfilling) experience of being a symposium correspondent, I decided to be completely unstructured the following year in Chicago with a simple sketcher’s pass, which included no workshops at all. It was fun and relaxing, though I sometimes envied other participants who spoke with excitement about the workshops they’d taken.
This year in Porto, I opted for the basic pass, which gave me two workshops and a demo – an ideal balance between structure and flexibility. In addition to the formal benefits that we registered for, we could choose from optional activities, including several sketchwalks, when we weren’t occupied with the formal benefits. I chose sketchwalks at Ponte Luis I Bridge, Sao Bento train station, the Virtudes area and, of course, the huge final sketchwalk in a large square surrounded by dozens of astounding buildings.
|7/20/18 Buskers at the Ribeira|
At every symposium I’ve attended, I’ve experienced a certain tension: the pull between wanting to sketch as much as possible and wanting to visit with as many people as possible – new people I’ve met and especially those I am reunited with only once a year. Porto was no different; in fact, with each successive symposium, I find the pull toward visiting with other participants to be stronger because each year I meet more people, adding to the number that I want to reunite with. The wide-open format of the sketchwalks gave me opportunities to run into or actively look for people I wanted to see while also being in superbly sketch-worthy locations.
Looking around at each sketchwalk venue, I marveled at how many people were sketching together – sometimes almost literally shoulder to shoulder. It’s thrilling to see how much Urban Sketchers has grown over the years, including symposium attendance (more than 800 participated in Porto; at previous symposiums, attendance average was about 500). But I’m also ambivalent about that growth. This year in particular, I found it more difficult to find people at the necessarily larger venues. In the evenings when I had time to catch up on social media, I kept seeing posts indicating that people I knew were somewhere in Porto, yet I never saw them in person.
On the other hand, I was delighted by serendipitous encounters with blog readers and other followers whom I didn’t know at all until they spotted me and came to tell me that they appreciate my blog. It’s probably one of the most gratifying aspects of the symposium – meeting people in person that I have otherwise known only online, or meeting people who are quietly reading my blog, previously unknown to me.
|7/20/18 Dom Pedro IV monument in Praca da Liberdade and |
Sao Bento station behind it
To increase socializing opportunities, I attended drink/eat & draws in the Ribeira area as much as I could stay awake for! The partying and continual conversations are difficult for an introvert like me. Ultimately, though, after all the ink has dried and the sketchbook pages have been scanned, my fondest memories of the symposium are always about the people I saw and will look forward to seeing again at future symposiums.
I am always grateful for the many USk volunteers who work hard all year to make each symposium possible. This year, I also appreciate the local Porto hosts and the Portuguese people in general, who were so gracious, welcoming and enthusiastic.
|7/18/18 drink & draw|
|7/19/18 USk President Amber Sausen bursts into song to get |
our attention for the morning meeting.
|7/18/18 Porto buildings|
|7/19/18 drink & draw|
|7/19/18 Torre do Clerigos|
|7/21/18 Musicus Ensemble performing at the closing reception|
|Final sketchwalk in the town hall square|
|Sketchwalk at Sao Bento train station filled with tiled walls|
|Sketchwalk at Vertudes|
|Following very competitive bidding, I won this spectacular drawing by Eduardo Bajzek in the silent auction!|
|Mike Daikubara and Kumi Matsukawa|
|Jane Wingfield and Sue Heston (among the 800!)|
|Javier De Blas and Greg|
|Lapin and Natalie Taylor (and me, photo-bombing my own photo as usual)|
|Paulo Mendes, one of our extraordinary symposium correspondents!|
|Shiho Nakaza and Liz Steel|
|More drinkin' and drawin'!|
|800 strong at the final sketchwalk and group photo|
|Can you find me?|
|I'm right there (in the red shirt)!|
|Next year: Amsterdam!|