Hello! I’m Róisín Curé, from Galway, on the west coast of Ireland. Back in 2012 I discovered urban sketching, and since then a whirlwind of colour and line has swept through my life. I am so grateful for the happy accident that led me to stumble on urban sketching, and my life is infinitely richer as a result.
Before then, I had always drawn and painted. Being good at drawing and painting was a big part of my identity, and even though I took a few twists and turns along the way, I always knew I would come back to art one day. The twists and turns included a Masters degree in Geology, some “wasted” years of being young and foolish and starting a family. By 2012 I had three small children and an illustration business. In January of that year I went en famille to Mauritius. This was not as random as it sounds: my husband Marcel is half Mauritian and had always wanted to live there for a while. His work as a programmer meant he could work anywhere, so off we went. Shortly after our arrival, I was given a gift of a book for my birthday from my mother. Three things comprised my watershed moments: living on a tropical island, discovering the fun of keeping a travel journal and receiving that book. The book was Danny Gregory’s Everyday Matters. If you haven’t read it, do. It’s Danny’s memoir of finding himself facing a family crisis and feeling his way through it, in part helped by sketching stuff around him.
Before I had finished the book, I asked myself a question.
“Why am I not sketching?”
I put the book down, fetched my pens and inks and drew the things in front of me – the birthday gifts from my kids, which were on a table. In that moment I knew my life was about to change. It was that simple, that sudden and that certain.
Despite a flourishing career in art, I had never just drawn stuff for the sake of it. After that first drawing, I was like a woman possessed. After a week of sketching at home I left the house to sketch – terrified – and soon I had the courage to go a bit further afield. I spent the rest of the time on the island driving around in a tiny rental car, sketching anything and everything. I sketched a Hindu temple, a Tamil temple, a beautiful mosque, a buddhist statue and a church; I sketched the beach, the sea and the palm trees; I sketched the people I met and the markets, everything that I found beautiful or interesting. I was on an art-induced high.
Then I received another gift (again from my mother). It was The Art of Urban Sketching by Gabi Campanario I joined Urban Sketchers – the link to the Facebook group was at the back – and, just as so many have said before me, I found my tribe.
By 2014 I was an invited correspondent on the Urban Sketchers blog, and the fun of writing pieces to go with the sketches was the cherry on the top. That same year I co-founded Urban Sketchers Galway. In 2015 I held my first international urban sketching workshop, then in 2016 I co-hosted a workshop for 45 people in Galway City along with the very talented Shari Blaukopf and Marc Taro Holmes. Since then I have hosted many workshops, both national and international: Galway 2017 and 2018, Kent in the UK in 2017 and 2018, at USk Porto in 2018 and have five lined up for 2019: in Portugal, Ireland’s Aran Islands, Haarlem in the Netherlands, in USk Amsterdam and in Bordeaux, France.
Now, as well as organising urban sketching workshops within Europe, I am a freelance urban sketcher. I currently carry out all kinds of sketching assignments, as varied as you can imagine, from festivals and weddings to all manner of businesses. I also teach children all about watercolour and drawing ( I have a quiverful of mini-urban sketchers ready and willing to pin down their lives in art!) and I run my local urban sketching chapter, Urban Sketchers Galway, with pride. We meet about once a fortnight, sometimes more, and we really enjoy the simple act of sketching together around the city.
I teach all kinds of topics, and I love to sketch all kinds of subjects. Above all I am passionate about others taking up their sketchbooks and joining in, in this absorbing and wonderfully satisfying activity.