Getting the side eye
I've been taking a great online sketching course by Liz Steel called SketchingNow Foundations.
Liz is a no-holds-barred urban sketcher--a moniker I'm too self-conscious to claim just yet.
I was inspired by a demonstration video from the course where she just sat herself down on a busy sidewalk in Sydney, surrounded by her sketching paraphernalia, and she sketched, oblivious to the hustle and bustle going on around her.
It was fun to see the people doing double takes, giving her the side eye and looking over her shoulder to see what she was up to.
But still hiding my sketchbook
I think it will take a while for me to feel comfortable sketching in public places. I went to a coffee shop last week and sketched my latte. But I hid the sketchbook on my lap under the table and definitely did not bust out any paint, water, brushes or paper towels.
The last time I planned to sketch in a coffee shop, though, I just took a photo of my latte and sketched it later at home.
Tiny progress is still progress!
I'm looking forward to more "plein air" and real time sketching, though.
There's magic in slowing down enough to exquisitely see what surrounds you, most of which flies by without notice when we are the busy people hustling and bustling down the street. Things to do. Places to go. Screens to stare at.
Sketching is the new meditation, when I get past the resistance.
Sketching truly is a mindfulness practice and a meditation. It helps me be more present to my environment and my world. It helps me slow down to real time, to "be here now," in this, the only moment I have.
And it allows me to find my way through any anxiety and resistance I have when I first open my sketchbook. I learn to move through the blocks and the things that don't feel good and I learn that those things, like all things, pass.
If I stick with it through the initial resistance and the false starts and the voice of the inner critic begging me to stop and telling me how bad my work is, there comes that magical moment when the critic and the resistance and the naysaying voices just give up and go away.
I settle into the process and find that the process is the point.
The product, at least while I sketch, is beside the point.
It's too cold right now to go sit on a sidewalk anywhere. Six degrees this morning.
But I have been practicing my SketchingNow lessons from the comfort of my mobile studio (AKA the car) where I'm at the mercy of available parking spots.
I hope that by the time it's warm enough to leave the car, my mobile studio practice will have given me a little more confidence to grab a front row spot on the sidewalk and do my thing as the world bustles on.