The other weekend my daughter and I headed to Half Moon Bay for some sketching with my local en plein air art group. Although I live relatively close to this moody seaside town, I have never truly explored it to find out all the great sketching opportunities it provides.
Our mission was to sketch around the downtown area. Some members of the group are local residents and they had a whole host of good locations to draw, one suggestion being a cemetery only 2 and 1/2 blocks from Main Street. Given it was October, and Halloween was approaching, I was sold!
A cemetery sketch outing is a great way to celebrate the Halloween season. There’s nothing like a spooky setting of gravestones, covered in moss to get you in the mood. This cemetery in Half Moon Bay had no shortage on Halloween charm. The different pillar shapes, textures and spattering of wild plants added to the charm.
But don’t just think a cemetery art outing should only be reserved for the Halloween season. There are lots of creative projects waiting to be uncovered by a trip to your local (or foreign) grave yard. Below is a list of more creative ideas beyond just sketching the cemetery scene.
Other Creative Projects While Visiting a Cemetery
Name Hunt – A cemetery is full of wonderful names. From stuffy first names to stoic last names, they can conjure up wonderful characters for your next great novel.
Character Sketch – Speaking of names and characters, perhaps when wandering the graveyard, you spy a unique name. Try creating a sketch or characterture of what you think this person may have looked like. Or, comb the area for a few different first names, middle names and surnames and combine to make your own.
Gravestone Rubbings – In 1975 my family went on a whirlwind trip to the Northeast United States. We did all the highlights with an emphasis on American History. My clever mom even packed parchment scrolls so when we were in the famous Granary Burying Ground on the Freedom trail in Boston we could make some art. We scouted out John Hancock’s, Paul Revere’s and Samuel Adam’s tombs. Once we found our favorite, we pulled out the parchment, the charcoal and made some rubbings.
I can’t believe I haven’t yet done this art exercise with my own kids yet. The potentials are wonderful– not only could the rubbing itself be framed, but it could also make a wonderful background for a travel journal, sketching or photos. The creative possibilities are endless.