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Performance sketching

March 3, 2013

As urban sketchers we are used to people looking over our shoulders as we draw on street corners or in cafés. But drawing on a wall in front of a crowd  — that’s a new experience, at least for me.Marc Taro Holmes and I were invited to be part of the Nuit Blanche party at the Canadian Centre for Architecture last night. We thought we’d be drawing on giant sheets of paper but as it turns out we were given a box of sharpies and a bare wall in a gallery space as part of the exhibition ABC : Montréal. We didn’t have a master plan but both of us had some laser copies of our recent Montreal sketches so we improvised. Before the crowds arrived, we figured out what the design of the mural would be: Marc’s sketch of Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral would be the largest vertical element with my panorama of Montreal as the horizontal baseline. In between we would weave in other elements from our sketches: a bit of Old Montreal, the Plateau Mont Royal, Carré St. Louis Victorian houses, Griffintown construction and some of Marc’s beautiful statues for the detailing.


Here’s the start of the Sharpie drawing with some of our sketches taped to the wall.


A few hours into the drawing, and tired of repeating the name of our group, I integrated the Urban Sketchers website into the mural (in my best imitation of the font Gill Sans Bold).


As the night wore own crowds gathered, took photos and tried to figure out the locations of various parts of the mural.


We’re almost finished (6 or 7 hours later!!) — just unifying the design with a center mass of distant buildings and trees.


And here is the final mural. A true Urban Sketchers collaborative experience!


8 Comments leave one →
  1. Leanne Morin permalink
    March 3, 2013 10:14 pm

    Absolutely fantastic mural!! You are both so talented – and Brave!!!!

    • March 4, 2013 6:23 am

      Thanks Leanne. It was a lot of fun and the audience was so appreciative. We spent a lot of time talking to people too.

  2. Michelle N. permalink
    March 3, 2013 10:37 pm

    Magnificent! I am awed!!! Congratulations on a sketching marathon!!

  3. croquedessin permalink
    March 16, 2013 5:05 am

    Very impressive, nice sketch !

  4. May 7, 2013 1:01 pm

    Bravo! What great promotion for Urban Sketching. I run a group in Windsor, On. We are the Windsor & Essex County Plein Air Society, and we meet once a week in better weather to sketch/paint on location.

    • May 7, 2013 8:31 pm

      Thanks for posting Elizabeth – if we’re out Windsor way maybe we can get out together – and of course, let us know if you’re ever in Montreal and we’ll show you around 🙂

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