News Column

'Urban Sketchers' to draw in city

June 24, 2014

By Stephen J. Pytak, Republican & Herald, Pottsville, Pa.

June 24--Michael M. McCord, legislative assistant to state Rep. Neal Goodman, D-123, enjoys sketching people, places and things in his spare time.

"Sometimes I see myself as an advanced doodler," McCord, 56, of Saint Clair, said Monday with a breath of modesty while sketching landmarks in the city's Garfield Square, including First United Methodist Church.

Like a saxophone player who enjoys practicing with fellow jazz musicians, McCord said he'd like to find fellow artists to hang out and sketch with for fun. He's starting an "Urban Sketchers" group, hoping a few will gather for the first meeting, scheduled for 8 a.m. Saturday.

The group will meet in front of 207 N. Centre St. and travel across the street to the Arch Street Parking lot to take in the sights, relax and draw at the annual Pottsville farmer's market.

"It's a chance to get out and have fun. Nobody is going to be criticizing you or judging you," McCord said.

McCord made efforts to get the word out about the group by talking to representatives of the Allied Artists of Schuylkill County, based in Pottsville, and the Walk In Art Center, Schuylkill Haven.

McCord enjoys drawing people, places and things. He draws in pencil and dabbles in watercolor, and his sketchbooks are filled with his illustrations.

"I've been drawing ever since I was a kid," McCord said.

Born in Saint Clair, Sept. 15, 1957, McCord graduated from Saint Clair High School in 1976. He earned an associate's degree from Williamsport Area Community College in 1978.

"I studied advertising art. But I'm not a draftsman. I'm a sketcher. I don't try to do a perfect recreation of reality. I'm looking, more or less, to entertain myself and enjoy what I'm doing while I'm drawing a picture," he said.

While he'd been drawing for years, McCord said he'd suffered some insecurity about displaying his art.

"It's good to have people see your work. Last year, I started to post some of my sketches on Facebook. I wanted to step outside my comfort zone and start putting my work out there. It's very personal to me. But that's what happens if you work without interacting with other people. Feedback is important," McCord said.

McCord took second place in "Category II -- Paintings, Under Glass" for his illustration, "The Walk Home," in September 2013 at the Allied Artists of Schuylkill County 52nd Juried Art Exhibit held in Pottsville.

In July, McCord will have a studio at the Walk In Art Center, Schuylkill Haven.

"It's a place to work and display your work, and it gives you an opportunity to collaborate," McCord said.

McCord is also a member of the Saint Clair Planning Commission.


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Source: Republican & Herald (Pottsville, PA)

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