Urban Sketching Indoors: Workshop in Galway 24th-26th October 2019

(Update: this workshop is now fully booked. Workshops planned for Haarlem, Netherlands, June 2020; Kent, UK, September 2020; Turin, Italy, October 2020. Dates to be confirmed.)

The end of the clement weather means the end of sketching. Rain stops play. Or does it? The amazing thing about urban sketching – as opposed to plein air painting, botanical art, oil painting and almost any other art you can think of – is it can be done anywhere. By anywhere, I mean anywhere – what other art can you do standing in a queue for coffee?

I take full advantage of this anywhere-anytime aspect of urban sketching, and spend many happy hours indoors over the winter with my tiny box of paints clipped to my sketchbook, drawing whatever is in front of me. I’m often alone, but that’s never a problem – in fact, it’s often much better on your own, because you can do it without interruptions! With an intense job or a demanding family, there’s nothing like retiring to a quiet pub or café and doing some sketching. It’s pure “you” time and so very relaxing. There’s something about using your hands that is very good for our psyche, whatever that might be. I just happen to love drawing and colouring in.

This sketch is from Cava, a Spanish restaurant in the middle of town. It was pitch dark outside and very cold, but I sat at the bar and drew what I saw. I liked the hams hanging down, the ceramic sarténs on the turquoise wall and the painting of the pig from the downstairs bit of the restaurant. Best of all I liked the people out for the evening.

This next one was done one freezing February afternoon in Schull, Co. Cork. I was there with my family, as my youngest, Liv, was on a sailing training week. I’d turned 50 the day we drove down, a day or two earlier, and rather than feeling grumpy about getting older, I spent a wonderful week counting my blessings, and above all, sketching in cosy pub interiors. The old man on the left seemed very elderly indeed, which is why he seems a bit stiff! (I’m getting that way myself and he must have had thirty years on me.)

This one was very indulgent! What nicer subject is there than a table groaning with cakes? I think more of us are a little OCD than we might care to admit, and I know I loved writing all the names next to each cake. I sketched this in one of my favourite café-restaurants, McCambridge’s.

My very favourite pub of all is Neachtain’s on Cross Street. They give us a very warm welcome in there. All I needed for this one was a nice G&T and a wet Sunday afternoon. They make a lovely home-made soup in Neachtain’s, so I was happy the girl was serving while I was sketching.

This one was done in Neachtain’s too. The day I sketched this I walked through freezing, horizontal rain to fight my way down Galway’s main street, to get here. Once there, I was welcomed by the lovely barstaff, who bought me a cup of tea and invited me to get comfortable for a sketch. How nice.

This one was sketched one rainy, dark afternoon in December. I went into town with my daughter, who’s a teenager and much happier browsing the shops than hanging out in a café with her mum, or not once her brownie and hot coca was finished, anyway! There’s something very cheering about painting the yellow of the light from a funky light fitting.

If this sounds like something you can see yourself getting into, and you could do with a few days’ break in October, then why not join me for a very small workshop (only six!) in Galway City from 24th-26th October? I will show you lots of things I do to get the most out of indoor sketching:

  • Defining fore-, middle- and background for your composition
  • Using a fude pen for quick, free expression
  • Using a limited palette for convenience and alo to avoid colour clashes
  • Becoming confident with colour
  • Drawing tips to make everything land where it’s supposed to
  • Above all, have three days of fun in a very small group, in great company and with great food, just as winter approaches
  • €395 includes three full days’ tuition, Thursday, Friday and Saturday

There’s a booking form on my website, just look under Workshops. There’s only one on that date (because I cannot yet bilocate). Hope to see you there.

Happy sketching!

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