Temporary Loss Of An Urban Sketching Tool

Have you ever lost pens, paints, brushes, etc. while out urban sketching.  I have.  Several years ago I lost my entire paint kit somewhere between sketching site and home and that loss was traumatic.  The palette was inexpensive, the case was a favorite, and that kit contained several Escoda sable travel brushes.  I nearly cried.  But all of it was replaceable and my sketching regime hardly skipped a beat.

I’m dealing with another loss, however, and I while I hope it’s temporary, it’s much harder to overcome.  I’ve lost my ability to walk more than across the room.  It started with my ankle and then my knee.  Right now the leg between the two is the size of a telephone pole and I’m spending a lot of time with doctors.

If I were a “true” urban sketcher I suppose I’d be sharing lots of sketches of medical machinery but I’m not that kind of urban sketcher, I suppose.  Besides, the pain and stress have been distracting.  I won’t bore you with details but I’ve been diagnosed and I’ve just started some physiotherapy yesterday that sounds encouraging.  The ramifications for this blog is that because I can’t wander the streets of Quebec City, I can’t draw the streets of Quebec City so the nature of my sketches will probably change, at least in the short term.  Irony of ironies, I’ve waited all summer for decent weather and we’re finally getting a string of beautiful days.  Such is my luck sometimes.

The upside is that this is a good opportunity to do some experimentation and maybe I can even convince myself that I can draw from a photograph and enjoy it.  For now, I leave you with a sketch I did after hobbling along a beach on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River last week.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (9×6), Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

22 thoughts on “Temporary Loss Of An Urban Sketching Tool

  1. So sorry to hear that Larry – don’t give up – hope the doctors find the right way for you to go!

    • “Give up”???? I don’t know this expression, Paula. I’d say that I’m just going to have to walk a different path for a little while but that metaphor doesn’t work since I can barely walk at all right now (grin). — Larry

  2. Oh dear! Sorry that hear about this Larry. Hoping for a rapid recovery so you can get back out there. Physical therapists can work wonders. All the best. Paula

    • I hope they can. They’re working to get a large amount of fluid from my leg right now. Once that’s done they can do dances and chants around my knee joint to fix me up 🙂 — Larry

  3. Fast recovery, Larry — wishing you well soon! In the meantime, there’s probably produce in your kitchen that wants to be sketched! 🙂

    – Tina

    • Ah…you’ve been looking over my shoulder. I signed up for a still life atelier since I was going to be a side-lined urban sketcher. First session was yesterday and I sketched a large pile of vegetables in my typical ‘urban’ style. I’m really thinking, though, that this time will be best spent experimenting with different media that I don’t carry with me when I walk. We’ll see what evil lurks…. maybe gouache, colored pencils. Might even do a long rendered pencil drawing. Haven’t done one of those in a long time (grin) — Larry

  4. You’ve got this! You have a reason to want to heal so you can get back out there and get sketching again. Wishing you a very speedy recovery and lots of inspiration to get you through.

    • I’ve done a lot of hobbies in my life and I’ve always found sketching to be the most flexible. While I may not do urban sketching right now, I can always find things to draw and use the time to try different sketching approaches. I’m often frustrated that there are so many approaches that I like but never have time to try. Now’s my chance. — Larry

  5. Oh, no. I hope the PT helps and you’re back out soon.

    I had a period where my knee hurt so badly I could hardly walk. While the reason for it hasn’t improved (arthritis), the brace and PT did and now I hardly ever have pain. It does take a while to be effective, though.

    There is sketching from the car but you have to be able to put the car where you can see something you want to sketch. That’s if you can even drive with your leg as it is!

    Hope you are better soon.

    • I’m confident that my walking hiatus will be a short one. One thing about Quebec City is that the really good places for sketching aren’t very accessible by car unless you’re willing to pay $15-20 to park. Thus, my bus pass and walking penchant have allowed me to go where most residents don’t go on a regular basis.

      You’re right about sketching from a car and when Shari Blaukopf starts sharing her winter paintings from her car, I wish I had one. Alas I do not so that’s not an option for me. — Larry

  6. Best wishes on a speedy recovery. Meanwhile I look forward to seeing what kind of mischief you pens, brushes, etc, can get into during your forced change of pace. I trust you’ll have some wonderful discoveries. I keep wanting to spend some time with gouache … and white and black on a toned background. I never seem to make the time for it.

    • I’m starting to get excited by the prospects myself, though I’d be more excited if my leg didn’t hurt so much. Painting just the shaded sides of objects is high on my list of experiments, as well as single pigment value studies. I really need to push my ability to see and manipulate tone. Pen guys like myself depend too much upon outline and not enough on tone in my opinion. — Larry

  7. Have been enjoying your blog regularly from Washington, D.C. and wish you a speedy recovery! Carol

    • Glad you’re enjoying the blog Carol. If I can get past a steady stream of doctor’s appointments, I should be able to get to sketching something and I’ll share it on the blog. — Larry

    • Hi Carolyn. I still ‘on my feet’; it just hurts a lot 🙂 No big deal. They rebuilt the 6-Million Dollar Man and he was in worse shape than I am 🙂 — Larry

  8. So sorry this has happened to you! I’ve had fabulous experiences with physiotherapists over the years and trust they can be of great help to you. BTW, I’ll enjoy whatever you choose to sketch and whenever it gets done.
    Look forward to hearing you are getting better.

  9. So, what’s the diagnosis and longer term prognosis? How long before you can be back on your feet ? Good luck, brother. I know you are a fighter. So, you can beat this I’m sure.

    • Swelling has gone down in my leg and they should be able to start working on the joint this week. Physiotherapy and possible cortisone is in my future but I’m on the mend. Thanks for asking. — Larry

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