Urban Sketching is a movement to capture cities without a camera, to interpret them in art immediately, to feel the spirit of cities in a different way than behind a lens. I was in Lübeck last week on holidays and drew a lot. Sitting on park benches, standing with my back against a wall, sitting on the pavement, painting. First, it was only painting what I saw.
The view out of our flat…
Those tiny little paths that are far away from the many tourists also visiting the city… They were so calm and it felt like time was stopping for a while as I put their colours into my sketchbook.
While having lunch…
And simply standing on the side of a street, sketching.
It was a wonderful experience and I began to notice spots where I could draw and paint. A good friend and fellow artist also visited because he does not live far away so we spent the day painting together. People came up to us to ask if we were art students. When our next exhibition was. It was great to feel we could be studying art, at least for a while…
My style changed a bit. It went from simply depicting what I saw to interpreting. We had done that a lot in art class in the final two years of school. Talked about expressionism. One day, we visited an art museum in Lübeck where a Feininger painting was exhibited and I just love his work so much. I could have spent hours looking at this painting. Inspired by his work, I tried something different.
Those are little studies that I will probably put on a larger canvas some day. I really want to get back into painting – I have missed it a lot!
This is my equipment: A square sketchbook, a faber-castell ink pen, a pentel waterbrush and my lovely little winsor and newton watercolours.
First, I sketch the lines with pencil and so that I can erase what I don’t really like or am unsure about. Then I’ll redraw them with black ink and fill the drawing with colour. Finally, I thicken the black lines to improve the composition a bit. My paintings are not really accurate and detailed so they don’t take so much time. Normally about half an hour.
This was my little urban sketching trip to Lübeck and I enjoyed it so much. Trying new things, looking at a city not from a camera but from an art perspective. It makes you calmer, really. A special form of meditation in a city that is often buzzing with tourists. The need to escape sends you to thoses little paths and streets that show the real face of Lübeck: A Hanseatic city breathing history, trying to balance ancient and modern.