Yesterday the Twin City Urban Sketching group met at the the Minnesota State Fair for a day of drawing. I woke up in the morning with my inner critic giving me all sorts of reasons not to go. My comfort zone was in my studio working or out in public places that were small. Places that felt safe and I was comfortable. The fair with record attendance of over 140,000 people was going to push me out of my comfort zone. A far cry from a cafe with ten people. I pushed myself over the hurdle of attending the fair to draw.
This was my first drawing expedition with the Urban Sketchers group. I had been following them on Facebook, had gone to some of the locations in the past three monthly outings but never made the meet-up time. I was nervous and intimidated by what they could accomplish in their sketchbooks. However, I found my sketching group at the designated place. They were friendly and so welcoming to a new member of the group. They shared where they thought they might begin for subject matter, we received our sketchbook lapel pins and off we went for a day of drawing.
It was a rainy day so I headed first to the horticultural building. I found a few comfortable “old friends” to draw. Flowers, corn stalks, and other subject matter I had done before and could warm-up with. Drawing objects in a few displays was like drawing in the cafe-few people and I could draw in out of the way spots. Like the cafe, people would stop and watch and ask questions. Friendly and nice people who were very polite. I was feeling comfortable because we were having a great discussions while I sketched. Lots of compliments helped.
My next challenge was to get out into the streets and draw architecture and figures. With literally wall-to-wall people this was going to be an interesting challenge. I did find the end of a picnic table to sit and draw and it became a great spot to draw a street scene. Sitting alone at a long table many people came and sat down. In all my years of being at the State Fair I have never really spoken to any stranger who was also a fair-goer. I found that were two types of people who approached me, those who were also knowledgeable artists and those who did not do art and wanted to know more about what I was doing. Everyone was so supportive and conversations so pleasant and enjoyable.
At the end of the day the sketchers all came back to our designated meeting place and we shared stories of the day and what we had done in our sketchbooks. I was pleased and reasonably happy with my sketches. As other members of the group showed their drawings I was just blown away by the quantity, the style differences and the impressive sketches I was seeing. As a community, the members of the group that day kept up the encouragement to each other and I was learning new things and planning how to improve for next time.
On Monday there is another day for drawing at the State Fair. I do not think my inner critic is going to hold me back at all! I will be leaping out of bed to get to the fair.