The more streets that I drew, the clearer I became on what it was all about. It’s simple and selfish – I only draw the streets that are meaningful to me in some way.
Sometimes it’s because some detail has caught my eye and sometimes streets link me to family and friends. This way I connect with each street and I get lost in the hours that sink into each drawing.
The other thing that is really important to me is that I draw them as architectural and social records. These are my surroundings as I find them now. The people on the drawings were there at the time, including the chap taking a breather from working in the Hope Cafe.
Each street is gradually added to my archive blog where I break the streets into individual buildings and add insights of history that I discover as I go along. It’s a slow but steady process but it really gives you an idea of what Drawing the Street is all about.
From time to time someone suggests a street for me to draw, including complete strangers! I always consider it because I might find it as interesting as they do and sometimes surprising connections unfold in the drawing of it.
Mount Parade, York was one such street. I was planning to draw the street nearby when a gentleman walked past me, stopped and asked whether I knew about the street just around the corner.
I must have cycled past the end of this street countless times going back and forth to town and had missed it all these years!
As my streets gathered pace I became a member of Staffordshire Artists Cooperative and displayed my work in Gallery at 12 where I later held a joint exhibition with the library to display all my local street scenes. Another exhibition followed on a few months later in Blossom Street Gallery in York.
The best part for me is discovering and acknowledging the people who lived in these places, the lives that have gone ahead of me. For instance, I discovered that Charles Hammersley set out from this house almost a century ago, only to be killed in France in WW1.
I haven’t mentioned how much urban sketching is part of the fabric of Drawing the Street – it’s where I meet people and really get the feel for a place.
In my next 3/3 post on this reflection of my fifty streets I will bring you up to date with my latest news up here in Scotland!
Thanks for reading! Ronnie 🙂