The weather was cold and wet, so our workshop had a low turnout. But we went outside as planned, and about half of us quickly retreated to Moonpennies, an ironically named cafe at the corner of Thurlow and Pender Street. It is a great place for sketching with lots of windowfront seating looking over the urban landscape. I only had about 30 minutes to do this sketch and didn’t think much of it at the time, but I quite like it now. And sans colour on this gray day felt about right.
My fellow sketchers Matthew and Dave joined me in presenting a workshop on urban sketching at the Annual General Meeting of the BC Society of Landscape Architects on April 27. We highlighted the global organization we belong to, urbansketchers.org.
We were also asked to present a PechaKucha on urban sketching at the conference the day before. I took it on, and had fun preparing a presentation of 20 slides x 20 seconds of talking = 6:40 minutes. Not too stressful, although I was nervous as I was sitting there waiting for my turn. But I was encouraged by the fact that all the other presenters seemed nervous too, and then it wasn’t all that bad. And how hard can it be to talk about something you enjoy doing so much?
Reconnecting with Julien Thomas, social artist
The first presenter up was Julien F. Thomas. As soon as he started, I recognized him as the nice young guy that I had coffee with about a year ago on a traffic island that he had occupied on the E. 10th Avenue bike route. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon in late May. I had been teaching in the VCC design program for 4 months last spring, and was cycling home from mounting the design student graduation show at a downtown gallery. It was the very last thing on my list of full-time teaching duties I had taken on in addition to working in my business in 2012. I had been working 60–80 hour weeks for almost the last three months. I was exhausted. But I was done. I had a euphoric sense of sudden freedom from a huge burden, a feeling of time and space generously opening up in front of me, so I was up for almost anything. A nice-looking young man sitting in the middle of a traffic island called out to me “want a coffee?” as I rode my bike around him. I hit the brakes.
We had a good conversation over coffee, brewed with water from an electric kettle on an extension cord on the sidewalk, with organic cream that Julien produced from somewhere in the bushes.
But back to the conference. As he got going on his PechaKucha, I realized why he was chosen to go first. He did an amazing, passionate job presenting on his various social art projects.
Oh, and I think PechaKucha should be a verb. As in, “has anyone pechakucha’d that yet?” or “I’ll have to pechakucha you on why you should chop garlic by hand rather than in a food processor”. It probably already is. If only I had a globalized, easily accessible search function at my fingertips, I could find out.