It's been quite a week so far - Madras week - and its also coinciding with the Chennai Weekend Artists (the group I sketch with every sunday ) completing a year! As part of Madras week we were invited to show our sketches as a group and have a discussion/ interaction with the public. During the Q&A session I was asked quite an interesting question by Ms Geeta Doctor - Why is it that we all sketch beautiful buildings and pretty scenes - isn't Madras also full of crowd and dust and isn't it about an interesting mix of cultures too?
It was a relevant question and I'm glad it was asked. As a group we have gone around sketching many different things that we consider part and parcel of life in our city. Yet, when we were told we could frame and display some of our prints, the tendency in all of us was to choose "the best" sketches, regardless of whether the variety in topic, style or in number of sketchers in the group was being truly showcased and represented. I think this is partly to do with all our ingrained conditioning of "what is good artwork".
Having brooded over it for a couple of days, I really feel now that location sketching is a completely different ball game. And the strength of going out in a group and doing this lies in the fact that there are so many people producing location sketches covering many styles and topics. I really feel strongly now that the biggest strength of CWA is its variety and not its prettiest pictures.
I took a look at myself too and realised that several of my location sketches never make it on my own blog! How snobbish of me! So here is a small sampling of a few that are not pretty pictures - they are just quick sketches done in the past year showing Madras, its people, its animals and objects doing what they do.
I've also realised that I am so much more comfortable drawing static things that don't move - but its difficult to capture the flavour of a city with such limited skills. The coming year is all about improving my people/ crowd drawing skills. Wish me luck.