Left: Piazza Navona, Roma. Right: Renfrew Hall, University of Idaho campus.
"I began sketching as part of my undergraduate architecture education at the University of Notre Dame. My sketching abilities really began to take shape when I spent a school year in Rome, in 1986-87. For several years after graduation, while I worked in architecture firms, I actually sketched very little. But once I began teaching architecture I rekindled my interest in the practice. Now it’s an important aspect of what I do for a living. Architecture students do rely heavily on computers these days, but there is still strong interest in sketching by hand for the unique value it brings to the design process. In 2007 I created a new program for our students – each summer we spend two months studying in Rome. One of the courses I teach is focused exclusively on sketching, so we spend a few mornings each week exploring and sketching the streets and piazze throughout the city.
The subject matter of my sketches is mainly focused on architecture and urban space. Spatial interest and natural light are probably the most important characteristics I consider when searching for a subject. I certainly have my preferences in terms of media, but I try not to get too fixated on a single approach. I enjoy graphite, charcoal, ink, and watercolor, along with a variety of papers and sketchbook types. One of the reasons I try to mix it up is to help my students with their media choices.
I’m relatively new to the community of online sketchers. Until several months ago, I was simply unaware of the amazing array of sketch artists all over the world who were sharing their work via the internet. The people and the work I’m still discovering have been very inspiring, and I’m thrilled to contribute to Urban Sketchers."
• Matthew's blog.
• Matthew's art on Flickr.