Sona’s organisation, the Weekend Art Room, regularly organises such walks to encourage people to get comfortable with art.
At 9.30 am, a group of people met up at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) to take part in the Sassoon Dock Sketch Walk, a walk designed to help you soak in the beauty of the age-old dock while also capturing on canvas things that strike your eye. Despite the torrential downpour, more than 15 people showed up armed with canvases, paints and their imagination. Although the participants belonged to various backgrounds, the one thing that was common among them was their love for painting and sketching. Talking about the motley crew assembled at CSMT, the organiser of the walk, Sona Choksi, says, “We’re trying to build a community with people from different backgrounds who are interested in art. We have school students, a sculptor and also a professional painter among us. All of them love art.” Sona’s organisation, the Weekend Art Room, regularly organises such walks to encourage people to get comfortable with art.
The spot chosen for the sketch walk was beautiful and made battling the woeful weather worth it. Sassoon Dock is one of the oldest docks in the city and is known for its fishing community. The landscape of the dock more than makes up for the fishy odour that assaults your nostrils the minute you set foot in the area. With musky grey water, colourful boats and a hint of greenery, the location is perfect for some inspiration. Vivek Padwal, co-organiser of the walk, says, “Sassoon Dock has its own structural beauty. And the colours you get from the boats and sea are beautiful and would translate brilliantly on canvas with watercolors.” A fact that turned out to be a 100 per cent true.
On reaching the docks, participants were greeted by cats and fisherwomen selling crabs and prawns. Beautiful artworks depicting the Koli lifestyle painted on the walls of houses caught one’s attention. As the organisers were busy finding a place to settle down, participants were happy looking around, clicking pictures and enjoying themselves. When asked why they chose to organise such a walk during the monsoons, as moving around was proving to be a challenge, Sona says, “We try to conduct sketch walks every weekend. The rains last for only about two months. Unless it rains excessively, there is no reason to cancel the event.” Come rain or shine, here’s a group dedicated to sketching.
After a comfortable spot was decided upon, and the participants sat down with painting and sketching paraphernalia, the next challenge was capturing the beauty of the area on canvas. Yogesh Patil, a professional artist, advised everyone to focus on small elements. He said, “We are in the land of fishermen. Instead of focusing on elaborate scenes, focus on a single element, like a basket or a shed.” Behaving like a true role model, Yogesh set up a canvas of his own and quickly got down to business.
The artist also shared tips on how to capture the capricious weather. “The weather changes every fifteen minutes. You’ll have to interpret it your way,” said the artist. His final painting captured his teachings accurately. Another participant, Dilraj Gogada, created a unique artwork as well. His composition included ambient elements like a basket and ladder as well as elements from his imagination, like an octopus and an oyster.
Sona and Vivek conduct sketch walks and workshops across the country. “We try to find places with historical and cultural significance. We’ve organised tours to various locations outside Mumbai like Kerala, Goa, Rajasthan and try to learn local art forms,” reveals Sona.