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Who was it that said “All of life’s a stage”? For no one is that more true than for an urban sketcher. The urban setting is your stage, the passers-by are the dramatis personae and the whole is about telling a story. Join Róisín Curé, Miguel Herranz and Inma Serrano for three days of urban sketching in Galway, Ireland. If you have never visited Galway, you’re in for a treat: this harbor city on Ireland’s west coast is often referred to as the ‘most Irish’ of Ireland’s cities. Its historical heyday was medieval Ireland and the romance of the period is everywhere to be seen, in the stone arches, the carved stone plaques and creepy gargoyles. After a lull of relative calm in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Galway is once again the most lively of Irish cities: it’s small enough for an incredible atmosphere to prevail all year around, which rises to a crescendo during the summer months, when the streets are alive with buskers and one festival follows hot on the heels of another. The 17th and 18th-century core is surrounded by shops and traditional, brightly painted pubs offering live Irish folk music. Stone-clad cafes, boutiques and art galleries line the winding lanes of the Latin Quarter, which retains portions of the medieval city walls, all in all making Galway a marvellous location for urban sketching.
Our workshop will reflect the beauty, colour and character of this waterside town as we aim to capture it in ink and watercolour.
Within this lively and vibrant city, it’s not hard to find oases of calm. We will take you sketching in these lacunae, such as:
– the Fishery Watchtower, a 19th-century building erected to keep an eye on salmon hurtling towards the ocean in the River Corrib, and to stop poachers helping themselves;
– the Spanish Arch, a medieval reminder of our maritime connection with Spain;
– Eyre Square, the arrival point of visitors to the city, a green square full of musicians, street artists and people relaxing;
– St. Nicholas’s Cathedral, the oldest medieval church still in daily use in Ireland;
– the Long Walk, Galway’s iconic scene of colourful houses overlooking Galway Bay and its boats, swans – and the occasional seal!
– Galway Cathedral, an imposing 1950s church built on the site of the old gaol;
– the Bridge Mills, a beautifully-restored riverside mill, now home to restaurants, designers’ shops and language school;
– Galway Museum, where we’ll catch up on Galway’s often tumultuous past.
We will show you the basics of making a pleasing sketch, and how to sketch some of the commonest elements of any urban scene; we will show you how to make an urban sketch full of drama and life; we will show you how to “turn up the volume” on an urban sketch by using vibrant colour.
We will show you how understanding values helps you to work fast, we’ll help you with techniques for a strong composition and how to make sense of a complex scene. We’ll demonstrate invaluable techniques like using the white of your paper to make a sketch glow, and how to bring a flat area to life by the use of a lively and rich mix of colour.
We’ll share our secrets with you, from our palettes to our sketchbooks and all the tips we’ve learned along the way to ensure a satisfying urban sketching experience. Techniques for increasing your chances of leaving the scene having completed something you’re happy with, like concentrating on one small area of interest. We’ll show you how adding animals and people never fails to bring life and movement into a sketch.
You’ll spend one full day with each of our experienced urban sketchers. We’ll visit a different sketching location for each morning and afternoon demo. Every demo will be followed by a chance to apply what you’ve seen to your own sketches, with plenty of feedback from the instructors. Join Róisín, Miguel and Inma for a meet-and-greet on Wednesday evening 12th July before classes begin, then again each evening for a sketchbook party sharing everyone’s work from the day in a local café. Afterwards on each evening, we’ll stay together as much as we can, enjoying Galway’s vibrant nightlife for food and drink.
Sketching in Galway
Galway is a massively popular tourist destination. People visit from all over the world to savour its delights: it’s renowned first and foremost for its electric atmosphere, its beautiful setting and for its wonderful seafood and proverbial Guinness and whiskey. Wherever you go you’ll hear live music; traditional music in the pubs and an eclectic mix on the streets, courtesy of street musicians Everyone who visits Galway in the summer months is enchanted by its lively atmosphere and legendary charm. We’ll stop and savour it all as we sketch, and it will never feel too busy as we take time out to be calm, as urban sketchers always do.
Galway is a very small city cross-cut by a network of waterways, from quiet canals to the River Corrib, which varies from a tranquil river of crystal-clear water to a churning torrent, depending on rainfall in distant Connemara. It passes right through the heart of the city, meaning you’ll spend a lot of time on bridges! Galway’s main thoroughfare is one long narrow, twisting street wending its way from Eyre Square at the top to the mouth of the River Corrib at the Spanish Arch. This is the main street of interest, and it’s where you’ll encounter the street entertainers.
Luckily for everyone it’s pedestrianised and closed to traffic throughout the day, but the crowds disappear the minute you leave the main drag. The quieter streets which lead off the main street are full of hidden surprises and a sketcher’s paradise. The River Walk with canal on one side, river on the other, provides splendid views and sketching opportunities, and wildlife is never far away, from the large colony of swans that live on the River Corrib to the seabirds that fly over the city – and the salmon that leap the river!
Galway has a large choice of restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets. Some of the best cuisine Ireland can offer is found in Galway, and the area is famous for its oysters, fresh seafood and top-quality grass-fed beef and lamb, although being a student town those who don’t eat meat are well catered for too.
The nightlife is electric but does require a certain level of stamina! If you can put up with a tight squeeze, then do make your way into a music pub, because you won’t regret it. Everyone is very friendly and you’ll be amazed at the warm welcome the locals will give you. We are very proud of our city and we like nothing better than to see our visitors enjoying themselves. Anyone who can play an instrument is welcome to join in – so bring your fiddle, flute, tin whistle or accordion and get in time with the beat!
Composition: Framing your sketch, choosing the elements you like
Demonstration of a basic drawing technique: how to use a mental grid to make an accurate drawing, and other methods favoured by each instructor
Demonstration of painting: Each artist will proceed in their own way. Using ink directly, or using a light pencil sketch first – each instructor has their own technique to demonstrate.
Colour: Wet-on-wet, wet-on-dry; brushstrokes; going wild with colour; turning up the volume…the instructors will show you their favourite ways to bring colour to a scene.
09:00 – 12:30 (3.5hrs): Demo, sketching, critique
12:30 – 2.00: Lunch break
14:00 – 17:00: (3 hrs) Demo, sketching, critique
18:30 – 22:00: Dinner and nightlife
You might like to know that Galway International Arts Festival will start the following week, so if you wish to stay on in Galway and enjoy the many plays, exhibitions and street festivals that are part of the Festival every year, it’s a great opportunity to do so!
$320 USD per student
Refundable up to 60 days in advance, non-refundable after that
Non-artist partners may attend at no extra cost
Not included: Transportation to and from Galway, accommodation, meals
We will have a maximum of 30 students, so with just 10 students per instructor you’ll get plenty of individual attention. We need 24 students minimum to go ahead. If the class fails to reach the minimum by April 15, 2017 the workshop will be cancelled and all fees will be refunded.
For more info or to register:
Email your name and address to Róisín Curé at roisin(dot)cure(at)gmail(dot)com
Workshops typically sell out quickly, so register early!