Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Urban Sketchers’ Manifesto No. 1, Part 2

Urban Sketchers’ Manifesto No. 1: We draw on location, indoors or out, capturing what we see from direct observation.

5/8/12, F-C Pitt Artists Pen, watercolor
Some of the most marvelous nature sketchers (Elva Paulson springs to mind) are bird watchers who get up before dawn so they can hike to the ideal location to view a particular species, and sketch through binoculars. Of course, birds move fast, so sketching them from direct observation must often be an exercise in frustration.

That sounds like too much work to me, so I go to Willawong Station at the Woodland Park Zoo, where more than 150 colorful parakeets, cockatiels and rosellas fly freely inside a large aviary. Presumably, they are moving at the same speed they would be if they were in their natural habitat, but because so many of them are concentrated in the same space, I can begin to draw one, and if it flies away, another that looks very similar will take its place as my model.

These cockatiels and eastern Rosella were, surprisingly, very patient models who perched for my sketches from start to finish. And unlike birds in the wild, these are so used to humans feeding them with a stick coated with seeds ($1 each) that they let me stand within inches of them without batting a feather. (OK, this isn't the nature sketchers’ manifesto.)

(This is one of a series of blog posts about how I have interpreted the Urban Sketchers manifesto.)
5/8/12, F-C Pitt Artists Pen, watercolor


  1. Hi Tina,

    As you know, I'm not a sketcher. But I sure like these manifesto sketches you've been doing. Actually, I like the whole concept of sketching as you've been doing it: finding a place to watch people (and birds) and quietly creating your artwork.

    It's so unlike my art-making (photography), where I don't typically settle in one place and shoot. And it's so unlike painting; I'm not a painter, but I've seen there's so much set up and take down--unlike sketching.

    Your method and style for creating art just seems more natural. And I like that.


    1. Thanks for your comments, Gary. Ultimately, for me, sketching is more about learning to be observant than about making art. Photography, painting, sketching... whatever the medium, I think the important part is that it helps you see things more carefully.

      - Tina


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