If you've been traveling with me on this journey for any length of time, you know that I'm constantly looking for ways to "up the ante" so to speak. This past weekend I took yet another step. I joined the NYC Urban Sketchers group at the Central Park Zoo. I found out about the group through a post from someone else on Facebook. To be honest, I wasn't really sure what to expect. I had been emailing the group leader Mark during the week but aside from that I was flying solo and blind.
My experience left me so glad I did indeed join them. It was a small group this time around (about 5-6 of us). It's pretty open, as you just show up and join in. Sometimes there are a lot of people, sometimes few.
As we made our way around the zoo, we'd stop every so often and sketch whatever we saw. But this day ended up being more than 3 hours of sketching. Some great surprises were:
- We got to interact with people visiting the zoo. Children would come up and peer over to our sketchbooks. Parents would point us out and say "see that, They're drawing. Isn't that cool?" It was a great reminder that we all start out loving to color and draw, but most "outgrow" it unfortunately. It was like having a magical connection with the kids. So great!
- There's nothing like drawing from life - what you see in front of you. Even the most challenging, like when the animals would constantly be on the move!
- I got to meet 4 or 5 new people from all walks of life and parts of NY (and NJ) who all love to draw. You can't underestimate the importance of being with with like-minded people, especially for artists who usually are creating in isolation.
- A few of us went to a local pub following our sketch time, where we shared our sketches from the day, as well as pulled out some of our supplies and let each other try them out. We shared techniques and observations. Although I had just met these guys that day, I felt a bond by the time the day was over.
I think about what I would have missed out on had I let myself listen to the introvert side of me. Sometimes you just have to go for it. Experience something new. And depending on how you are wired, that may be a no brainer or it might seem completely impossible. But as I've been saying for some time now - just take the the right next step for you - where you are and who you are!
If you're local to NY and want to join in the Urban Sketching fun (no need to be a professional artist - most are people who just love to draw!) they meet up every Saturday! Go sign up to receive info. Even if you make it once, I think you'll find it well worth your time.
Oh yeah - and I was asked to do a guest blog post on the Urban Sketcher site. Check it out!