[by Róisín Curé in Galway] I had a very sketchy Saturday. It's amazing how many sketches you can fit in around your everyday tasks. No one was left unfed, un-driven around, unaccompanied.
I started with a sketch of the rooftops of Galway. My younger daughter had something on in Galway City and I had and hour and a half of sketching stretching blissfully in front of me. It was a beautiful day so the thought of spending it indoors wasn't appealing, but it was far too cold to sit outside and sketch. Then I remembered I wanted to draw the view from the roof of a car park I'd been at earlier in the week: in summer it's not ideal to sit out on the roof, because the seagulls who nest there take huge exception to the presence of sketchers. So I sat in my car on the deserted roof, indulged in a few random circles to determine the best vantage point and got busy. I like this view particularly because it makes you think Galway is a city of beautiful architecture, when it is anything but. Galway's charms lie primarily in its people, and while it's far prettier than a lot of towns I can think of, most of its beauty is in its location - sitting on the edge on the western edge of Europe on the Atlantic coast, cut by man-made waterways and gushing rivers, and always clean and fresh with lots of bird life to be seen (not least the angry seagulls). I must also concede that its narrow winding streets, its colourful pubs and restaurants and its crowds of good-natured people make it rather pleasant to stroll around.
In the afternoon I took my son to the barbers. Usually I get time for a good sketch there, but we arrived shortly before closing time and there was no queue. Then this guy came in. He reminded me of Jesse Eisenberg a bit, something about the pout. He had nut-brown hair with a big floppy fringe and a scraggly beard - I think he was going for a vaguely hipster look. I started to draw him fast because I knew the barber wouldn't take long with my son. I wasn't sure if he was 100% happy to watch me sketching him in the reflection of the mirror, but pressed ahead heedlessly. Then Dorothy the blonde barber started shaving one side of his head, revealing a greyish bald scalp. Off the other side came - and I drew the lot. When Dorothy finished, she did the thing with the mirror to show him the back, and he had to put on his glasses, so I think I was safe enough in my scrutiny.
The man next to me watched as I sketched. He enjoyed it, took a card and told me he had a job for me. We'll see. It's a funny way to get work but has been my most successful channel - I often feel like a kind of performing artist, lurching from gig to gig. I should definitely put a hat out.
Then one of the younger barbers approached. He'd starred in a previous sketch of the barbers, and isn't Irish, so he had none of the reserve that makes the Irish far too cool to be effusive about anything, and he raved a bit about how happy he was with my sketch, which he said was "still in my phone!"
On Saturday night our local community centre held a concert of traditional musicians. The manager of the community centre invited me down to sketch the action - I was delighted to do so, and to share my work with all involved, as they all do so much on a voluntary basis for the community - it's my pleasure to be involved.
This is Laura and her accompanist, whose name I can't remember at the moment. Funnily enough it's not the first time I've sketched Laura playing the fiddle...with, as it happens, the urban sketcher/ traditional musician, Mary Burke, from Manchester!
Also there on Saturday night were carers and residents from the Brothers of Charity, a religious organisation, whose duties include looking after people born with mental challenges. One of the houses where they stay is opposite me, and I see the residents being taken for walks by their carers whenever it's not pouring rain. One of the residents, who looked profoundly disabled to my untrained eye, was loving the music. She clapped and jigged throughout, and kept perfect time. She was in my line of vision and I really enjoyed watching her: she made all kinds of movements with her body that were unlike any you've ever seen, but her face was the picture of rapture. She held her carer's hand throughout all her gyrations, and her carer, a woman about my age, shared her joy. The sight of the two of them enjoying life so simply and so thoroughly gave me pause for thought about my tendency to fret (and dwell, and bear grudges, and many other bad things).
Here's Máirtín Ó Connor on accordion, Brendan O'Regan on mandolin, Mártín's daughter Ciara on cello and his daughter Sinéad on fiddle and keyboard and the lad on the left is called Tom, but I didn't catch his surname. I recommend you check out the lads on You Tube.
The music was wonderful and every now and then I closed my eyes to listen properly - it's good to take the foot off the sketching pedal at times.
That was my sketching Saturday. And I could have done it all again...in fact, when I woke up on Sunday, I sketched the breakfast my youngest brought me in bed, for it was Mothers' Day, but that's another story.