West Sunniside, Sunderland
(Markers in A4 sketchbook)
This was the first outing for the newly renamed Urban Sketchers Tyne & Wear (Sketch Crawl North East, as was).
Drawing in Sunderland when there's a scheduled football match between Glasgow Celtic and the Black Cats makes for an interesting experience. Coming into Sunderland on the Metro from Gateshead, Richard, Pat and I watched as helpful fans and Metro personnel scooped up a legless Celtic supporter from the platform at the Stadium of Light. Getting drunk that early would certainly mean he'd miss the game altogether, but maybe he didn't have a ticket for the ground. Football is a mysterious game.
Mike led us from Sunderland Metro Station to the Sunniside area, where a bit of regeneration seems to be going on. There's a landscaped sitting area and a bit of public sculpture which didn't immediately attract me, so I started to explore the streets beyond. Straight away I ran into hordes of shambling Celtic fans, bottles and cans in their hands and incomprehensible chants on their lips. I felt a little as if I'd fallen into The Walking Dead tv series and there were bands of Walkers everywhere.
Retreating back to the Sunniside area, I eventually settled down on a wall and drew the first sketch, an interestingly elaborate building with a side turret. It turned out later that just about everyone else had drawn it too, but I couldn't see them beyond the bushes I was sitting next to.
You might notice the written sound effects I recorded on the drawing - seagulls calling, police sirens wailing not very far away and some women in a nearby building cursing, swearing and clashing pots and pans about. The sounds of the city!
I'm not too pleased with this drawing. I started to indicate the shadow on the top of the turret before realising that the same shadow extended down the whole face of the building, so I was just as happy to stop when the others decided to move on.
Elephant Tea Rooms
(0.8 marker in A4 sketchbook)
On the corner of Fawcett St and High St West is a fantastical building showing "a blend of high Victorian Hindu Gothic and Venetian Gothic styles." We all agreed it was an impossible draw, then settled down in the pavement cafe opposite and began to draw it. It soon becomes obvious, when drawing a building like this, that it's a matter of finding the patterns, then repeating them without worrying about there being the right number of elements. I was quite surprised at how much I was able to get done that way.
Next time : The Old Low Light, North Shields, 12 August.