Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sketching George Town 2012

About 2 weeks ago, I went for my first sketchpacking trip! The Urban Sketchers (USK) Singapore group were invited by our Penang counterparts to participate in the George Town Festival over the weekend. Representatives from Singapore, Bangkok, Taipei and other parts of Malaysia were invited, and the hosts were kindly providing accommodation free of charge. It was a chance not to be missed. So I booked my flight, packed (overpacked?) my bags, and was off to Penang!

The drawing materials I packed. Didn't use all of them, but didn't want to be left without something if I needed it.
 I've been joining the USK Singapore group since the beginning of this year, and discovered there's nothing quite like a group of artists going out to create art together. There are artists of different levels, styles and approaches. There is so much to learn from one another, and the friendly non-competitive spirit is really something to savour. In Penang, we got to experience this on a larger scale, making friends (and art) from different countries. It was quite clear how art can help break down walls and help build community as we lived and made art together in a different land.

Evening talks by some of the Sketching George Town participants from different countries.

Our hosts had an itinerary planned for us. There were 2 days of sketching and talks, then an exhibition. The first day, we covered Pitt Street and Armenian Street, and on the second day we covered the Clan Jetties and Beach Street. Here are some of my sketches from those locations.

Welcome dinner

Pitt Street sketches. It's called "Street of Harmony" because there are places of worship from 4 religions along that street.

Armenian Street
Clan Jetties (this is the Chew Jetty)

Beach Street. Lots of old colonial architecture here.

George Town Penang was dubbed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO some 4 years ago. It is rich in heritage, having been founded as part of the Straits Settlements by the British during the late 18th century. Penang is also known as a food paradise in Malaysia, and needless to say we went around sampling many of the famous local dishes such as Penang laksa, fried kway teow, lor mee, chendol, hokkien mee, etc. There is no lack for good food on this island.


 Last but not least, Penang has a thriving art community. There is street art round almost every corner. I didn't get to hunt down all of them, but doing so would be a lot of fun!

Thanks, USK Penang for organizing this wonderful event! I'd really like to go back and visit all the other places I missed. Thanks for being such great hosts, and for all the gifts and memories. But most of all, thanks for the friendships!

Welcome pack!
Exhibition of our works over the 2 days of sketching

Some sketches from my Moleskine watercolour sketchbook

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