Meet the Correspondent: Luis Ruiz > Malaga, Spain$show=/search/label/Luis%20Ruiz

"Since I was a child, I have always loved drawing. As an architect, I was trained to sketch on site in my first year of my studies. I have always considered sketching a wonderful tool in my job to understand things, more in the field of spatial relations than in their material aspect. On the other hand, I have always brought a sketchbook with me in my travels as a much more effective way of keeping a memory than a photograph. But lately my travel sketches tended to be too few and too quick. I have recently found Urban Sketchers, and then discovered the immense joy of sketching outside with no particular task. Reading Usk’s manifesto, I feel especially sensitive with the point of keeping a record of time and place, and I’m changing from sketching just architecture to understand the city as a big scenario for human activity. I live in Málaga, a city in the south of Spain with more than half a million residents and 2,500 years of age; but also the center of a busy and lively metropolitan area, home of an active harbour and a big tourist destination. Now that I have two small children and I do not travel as much as before, I’m trying to show this mixture of old and new in my drawings. It is so rewarding to share my work with so many excellent artists and receive continuous feedback from other members! And, last but not least, to learn from other parts of the world. I'm delighted to join Urban Sketchers." • Luis' art on flickr.

Urban Sketchers Yorkshire deep into the 1920s

By Lynne Chapman in Sheffield, UK

Last Saturday, Urban Sketchers Yorkshire had their January sketchcrawl. I thought we'd do a coffee-house crawl: always nice and cosy at this chilly time of year. There is a perfect stretch of road not far from me, with loads of little quirky places. 

The day didn't quite turn out as I expected though...

The difficulty was that the nicest cafes are pretty small and Saturday is the busiest day, so my plan was to break into 2 or 3 sub-groups, so we could fit into places. To make sure everyone met up properly at the start though, and nobody got separated, we used a big Wetherspoons as a meeting point. Good job we did, as over 30 people showed up. We filled one whole section -pretty much everyone you can see below is a sketcher: 

It was a good place to draw, because the glass walls give easy views all round. I was doing a lot of meeting and greeting as we had at least half a dozen first-timers, which meant not so much time for sketching, but I managed this one painting: 

It was a short walk to the road with the quirky cafes. I was a tad apprehensive about how my pan would work, with so many of us, but we were lucky with timing and about half the group fitted into the first place we came to, the Rude Shipyard. It's sort of half bookshop, half cafe: 

They too had great window views. They also do AMAZING food, so I spent half my time gorging not sketching. I spent at least half the remaining time either chatting or texting the other splinter groups to make sure everyone was okay, so when I did get my book out, I went for a quick watercolour impression of the street outside: 

It was when we left the Rude Shipyard that we threw the original plan out of the window... 

While chatting, one of our members told me something rather interesting. It turned out that she knew a man who has taken on the considerable challenge of renovating the old Abbeydale Picture House, a huge, badly decaying cinema from 1922. It was once a very grand place, the largest in Sheffield, with a ballroom and a billiard hall inside as well. I painted it last year, when Yves came to visit from Paris

It's been closed to the public since 1975, when it went rather down in the world and was used as an office furniture showroom. Things got even worse though, and it was boarded up in 1991. 

Anyway, the Abbeydale Picture House was within easy walking distance from the Rude Shipyard. My friend made a quick phone call and we suddenly had permission to go and draw inside for the rest of the afternoon. 

It is in a bad state, but the original slendour is still there, clinging on to the fading walls. Bits of it were completely dark and cobwebby, but the cinema auditorium was lit and safe. We spread out all over, with some people up on the balcony, with great views down. It was hard to know where to start, so I just sat in front of the screen and painted the view back across the stalls. 

I loved the time-scourged glamour. It would have been quite a place in the roaring 20s! 

People were really excited by the privilege of getting a look inside, but unfortunately the space was unheated and so freezing cold. I think everyone would have liked to stay longer, but our fingers were giving up the ghost, so we walked a bit further down the road to the Broadfield pub, where we warmed up while sharing the work. There were still so many of us that we had to sit at two separate tables. 

These are just some of the sketchbooks from the day:

I suspect that the brilliant turn-out could have been a result of all those New Year resolutions. It was lovely to see so many new faces and to re-meet some people who'd not been for a good while. Come again next time everyone! 

If you live in the north of England (you don't have to be in Yorkshire), join our Facebook group to get updates on our monthly outings. 


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Test USk Blog: Urban Sketchers Yorkshire deep into the 1920s
Urban Sketchers Yorkshire deep into the 1920s
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