Welcome!

Selsley Common. Stroud

Welcome to my blog and the very first post.

You may think Christmas Eve is a strange day to start an art blog. I’ve been thinking about keeping a blog for a while, but I was waiting for the ‘right moment’; for the planets to align, get through all the unfinished tasks, basically for my life to be perfect. Then came 2020!

The ‘right moment’ is now.

I chanced upon the concept of urban sketching in 2017 whilst browsing the art shelves in Foyles Bookshop in London. A quick flick through Urban Watercolour Sketching by the Berlin-based artist Felix Scheinberger was enough – why didn't anyone tell me about urban sketching sooner?!

I'm a clinical biochemist by day, working for the NHS. It is an immensely fulfilling and interesting role, although apart from the occasional flow chart, requires little or no artistic skill.  As a child growing up in Sri Lanka, my artistic adventures were limited to the token crayon drawing every young child creates; and as I got older, 'real' (insert sarcastic face) studies took over. It wasn't until 5 years ago that I realised my mind needed a distraction; something that's not biochemistry. Something to shift the fresh grief of my mother's sudden death.  I can't remember how or why I chose watercolour, but I did. I started with a box of student-grade watercolour, couple of brushes and a sketchbook. I was mostly mixing 'mud' by the time I found Felix Scheinberger's book in Foyles a couple of years later.

A quick Google search told me that urban sketching is a global phenomenon and there was a chapter right on my doorstep in London. I went along to my first Urban Sketchers (USk) London outing in December 2017, to the V&A in South Kensington.

There was no turning back – I've become an urban sketcher.

I was eager to learn more; I signed up to an online watercolour course by Liz Steel – a Sydney-based urban sketcher. She, not only taught me how to stop mixing 'mud', but also inspired me to deep dive into this amazing activity. I travelled to Porto, Portugal for my first USk symposium in 2018. Never before, have I met so many amazing and talented people in one place - such diversity, yet a single great passion - urban sketching. I learnt so much from amazing teachers like Matthew Brehm and Shari Blaukopf. I made so many friends and met sketchers I've been following on social media for a while before then; and Porto itself, a beautiful city full of character.

For me, the greatest 'aha-moment' along this journey has been the realisation that I'll never again be bored of waiting, for anyone or anything (train/bus/airport/cafe/street-corner), as long as I carry my urban sketching kit with me.

Kit


Even within the constraints of the pandemic, I still managed to do quite a lots of outdoor sketching this year:
Top-9(1)

In fact, urban sketching has been a life line for me during these challenging times. 
(Photo credit to Zane - my friend and fellow urban sketcher)

(Photo credit to Zane - my friend and fellow urban sketcher)


Comments

  1. Good to see your sketching journey detailed, Sasala, well done !

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  2. Wonderful to hear how your artistic journey started and I've so enjoyed seeing your sketches and paintings during this difficult time. I've enjoyed having a go myself with mixed results but Xmas has brought me art books inc one on urban sketching so here's hoping for great things to come. Xx

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Linda! All the best with your artistic journey :-)

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  3. Wonderful to hear how your artistic journey started and I've so enjoyed seeing your sketches and paintings during this difficult time. I've enjoyed having a go myself with mixed results but Xmas has brought me art books inc one on urban sketching so here's hoping for great things to come. Xx

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  4. Interesting to know how you came along this journey. Well done Sasala!
    I have seen your paintings which were brilliant.
    Look forward to see more urban sketches.

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  5. Hi Sasala, I’m testing to see if my name appears rather than ‘Google Account’. If it doesn’t please could someone advise?! Glad to have found your blog. Your sketches are wonderful. May I ask how long you generally sketch for? I’m always trying to get quicker but I get carried away!

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    1. Thank you :-) The scketches I've posted have taken 1-2h, but really detailed one can take longer. It depends on how big the sketch is. I have become somewhat quicker over time but it's not something I think about too much.
      Re. the name, it's working now. I think it's to do with having an associated account (google/gmail/email), because when I tried to reply to you from my phone it did the same to me.

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  6. Dear Sasala, may the fate of your blog be as bright as the Christmas stars! Looking forward to watching it grow. Keep those pencils sharp & good luck. Best, Christine

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  7. Very inspirational journey and thank you for detailing it in-depth and from scratch. Love your work and looking forward for more updates. Good luck!

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