Tuesday, 21 November 2017
24 Hour Urban Sketching to SaveTrees
On 11th November, Armistice Day, I took part in a unique event, bringing together lots of different things I am involved with. We even made it onto BBC telly - who spotted Andy Kershaw above?
Street Tree Art Sheffield (STARTS) have been organising flash-mob style sketching events for a few months now, to raise awareness locally about the thousands of trees being chopped down in the streets of my home city. I have been along a few times and created the paintings you see above and below.
But the trees on Western Road are extra special. They are a living memorial. The avenue of 53, hundred-year-old trees were planted for the WW1 dead of the local school. Incredibly, almost half of these trees are under imminent threat. So, to try and shame the local council and to get media coverage, STARTS arranged a memorial event followed by an all-day, mass sketch-in under the trees.
This is artist Dan Llywelyn Hall (he's painted the Queen!), who also helped to set the event up and who created this massive painting of Western Rd:
It was a fabulous day and a huge success. Even the littlest people were able to get involved:
I've been told that near to 200 people registering to sketch, including local artists, people who just love trees and lots of children. Some people dressed up:
I got involved because I love trees too, but also because of an interesting coincidence. This year is the 10th anniversary of Urban Sketchers and they have been arranging different events to celebrate. The latest, the 24 hour Global Sketchwalk was scheduled for November 11th. See where I'm going with this..?
Luckily, their idea didn't involve anyone sketching for 24 hours - phew! The plan was to set up sketchcrawls around the globe so that, at any one time over the 24 hours, there would be people out sketching somewhere in the world. There was a live Instagram feed, where all the photos and sketches appeared, as the event swept around the globe. Amazing idea. It inspired so many regional Urban Sketchers groups that each was featured on the live feed for just 15 minutes!
Anyway, I decided to combine the two events and invited Urban Sketchers Yorkshire to take part in the mass sketch-in. Here we are at 10.30, getting ready to get stuck in:
STARTS allocated a specific tree to everyone who took part, so we would spread out down the long street and all the trees would be immortalised, just in case the council get their way and bring in the chainsaws. Mine was tree no 48. I wrote onto it the names of the men it was in memory of:
The local pub, the Cobden View was brilliant. They supplied tea and coffee on tap all day, to help us warm up, with a bounty of biscuits. Yum. They also provided the welcome reward of hot samosas and spring rolls at the end of the day.
Many of those hardened sketchers who braved the cold and stayed all day painted bonus trees too. This is my second tree: no 49. I worked a bit bigger than usual, because I knew that the artwork was going to be put into an exhibition...
... an exhibition which is opening on Friday!
It's going to be fantastic - there was so much fabulous work created. STARTS collected it up at the end of the event. The exhibition is called Fallen Boys Standing Trees, and is at Yellow Arch Studios. There is a celebratory gala day at the show on Sunday November 26th. Come along, see the wonderful tree pictures everyone created, have a glass of wine and listen to some live music.