For the next two Saturdays I'll be doing workshops for the City of Perth as part of their Winter Arts programme of activities. To prepare, I've been wandering around the CBD looking at suitable sketching spots and possible plan B's if the weather is too much of a challenge.
The city centre does not feel warm and friendly. The architecture does not inspire cosiness, human warmth, humour or delight. Attempts at quirky and funky are overburdened with transparent tryharditude, poorly masking the real intent of persuading people in to spend money. The city's dead, what can we do, oh lets make some urban arty alleyways and do what Melbourne does.
Whatever its mood and its failings, this is where we will for the next two Saturdays be and this is where I sat down to sketch yesterday afternoon.
I'd come from a sketching class at The Meeting Place, where I managed to compose a picture that was mostly asphalt and draw some oddly proportioned cars that looked like they were all parked on different slopes - not the fault of the terrain, please note, but of my failure to see the wheel and body placements properly - I sat on a bench in Forrest Place and drew other people doing the same. As I studied the slope of someone's shoulders, the way they put their hands to their face, the hair that fell over their eye - as I drew their jaws and ears and hoodies and chins, the bleak, cold city became a much nicer place.
Drawing makes my eyes kinder, makes me love things more and makes me feel closer to the life around me. It makes me give the things I draw a quality of attention that changes the way we respond to each other and the atmosphere around us. That goes for rocks and trees as much as humans and other creatures.
It was good to remember that yesterday, that the world changes when I change.
nb: the building isn't in the city centre, its a remnant sketch from South Freo.