Sketching the Urban Landscape 

Victoria Rock

Victoria Rock looks out over Gulfport Beach at a recent Urban Sketchers meetup.

Anna Matarrese says she used to draw but, until recently, she hadn’t picked up a pencil in years. Now in retirement, she is rediscovering art.

“Drawing helps me stay in the present moment,” she says, “and not think about anything else.”

Anna is a member of Gulfport Urban Sketchers, a new art group that began in October at the Gulfport Senior Center. Part of an international community of artists (, participating sketchers visit urban locales to draw their surroundings. Groups across the world post their schedules on the Urban Sketchers website so any member visiting another city can join in. There is also an annual Meetup held in a different city every year.

Led by volunteer art instructor Judith Carruthers, the Gulfport group meets at the Senior Center on Thursdays at 1:30 p.m., then travels to a different location each week to sketch an outdoor urban setting.

“All different levels of artists are welcome,” says Carruthers. “We just have a good time.”

“Drawing is fundamental,” says Urban Sketcher Victoria Rock. While she has always painted, she says drawing should be a daily practice. “It is exercise for the mind. You have to do it every day.”

Since the group started, the artists have been busy sketching Gulfport landscapes. Soon, however, the Senior Center bus will take them to other locations, such as Central Avenue, to paint “the beautiful historic buildings,” says Carruthers.

All that is needed is a sketchbook, pencil or pen, hat, bottled water, sunglasses and a chair – and a desire to draw.

For more information, call the Gulfport Senior Center event line at 727-893-5657.


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