“I sometimes think there is nothing so delightful as drawing.” – Vincent van Gogh
The ability to draw is a powerful gift. It’s a means of communicating, daydreaming, developing and clarifying ideas, inventing, sharpening your observation skills, expressing your creativity, even meditating. Most children love to draw, but as we become adults, many of us find ourselves wondering when and why we quit. Perhaps not surprisingly, our son loves to draw. Also, not surprisingly, we think he’s pretty talented for his age. It’s a goal of ours to help nurture his interest, whenever and wherever possible.
As we travel from place-to-place, we enjoy finding fun art-related activities. In the process of researching our trip to Penang, Malaysia, we discovered that there was an Urban Sketchers Penang group and that they were organizing an event that would take place during our visit. The more that we read about the Sketching George Town II event, the more excited we got. The 3-day event would include workshops, talks, sketchwalks, and social activities. Over 170 avid sketchers from at least 10 countries in the region were registered to take part. This was PERFECT!
We sent off an email to the event organizers explaining that our 8-year-old son was a budding artist and that he would love to participate in one or more of the workshops. Unfortunately, we were a little too late with our inquiry, all of the workshops were full due to overwhelming interest. We were, however, encouraged to participate in the open sketchwalks that were scheduled for each day of the event.
On the second day of the event, we decided to make our way to the location of the scheduled sketchwalk. Our son tends to draw people almost exclusively, so we weren’t sure how interested he’d be in drawing cityscapes. As we wandered along the street, we saw several individuals and small groups positioned atop cardboard stools with sketchpads and make-shift easels. We looked at the various works-in-progress and were duly impressed by the caliber of what we saw. Within minutes, our son had found a spot on the sidewalk and was asking for his sketchpad and pencil. He was truly inspired by the gathering of artists.
We sat and sketched (or our son did anyway) for a couple of hours. He was captivated in a way that we hadn’t expected him to be. While we sat there, a number of fellow sketchers stopped by to say hello, to ask where we were from, to encourage our son, and to take photos. Just before noon, we were chatting with a gentleman from Singapore that let us know that the group was about to assemble to share their sketches. He suggested that we join the group and that our son share his sketch. We agreed.
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” – Pablo Picasso
The artwork was fantastic, but the group was even more incredible. It was so wonderful to witness so many talented artists in such a welcoming and supportive environment. It was plain to see that each and every person there found great joy and satisfaction in sketching. Their common love for art had created a sincere camaraderie amongst the group and it was a pleasure to be part of it.
Having had such a wonderful experience during our first sketchwalk, we decided to participate the next day as well. Again, we had a great time and made even more friends. In fact, we were invited to the event’s farewell dinner.
We are planning to return to George Town for a longer stay and we hope to participate in more sketchwalks with the Urban Sketchers Penang group… as well as foster the friendships that we’ve made.
Urban Sketchers Penang