A camping stool and a bottle of water in the panier
Sheffield’s first Tour-de-Sketch took place yesterday, with support from the Pedal Ready Cooperative
A few sketchers were wobbly and unconfident on bicycles, so the Pedal Ready team coached them first, checked the bikes over, even supplying some spanking new bikes on loan, and then we set off, with the Cycle leader at the front and another at the back to keep an eye out for stragglers and those with technical (that is to say, mechanical, not art technique) difficulties.
A cold bright day, we stopped every 15 minutes or so to sketch. The stop off points had been pre-agreed when someone went out on a recky. It was interesting that no-one complained about the viewpoints that had been designated as stop offs: there is always something to draw, wherever you are. The stop times were a problem though: 35 minutes was not really long enough to get truly stuck into a drawing. We all felt we were just getting into our stride when it was time to go. It was a long day: starting at 9 and finishing at 5, but how it flew.
At the end of the day, we sat around a large table in a cafe at Hassop and passed the sketchbooks round, talking about our techniques and giving each other tips and ideas about materials. Amazing to see the variety of interpretations of the old birch we all drew, and of the viaduct at Coombs Road.
What struck me most about this event, and our now regular monthly sketchcrawls (last month in Sheffield’s covered market all day) is the social networking. I have always regarded drawing and painting as a largely solitary activity, but I have a world of friends – in all corners of the globe – on Flickr, and a vibrant network of sketchers of all ages and backgrounds in Sheffield. Art can now be a highly social activity, which is a real bonus for a gregarious soul like me.