Sunday, October 26, 2014

Wroclaw: A Fleeting Glimpse

I flew in on a Monday, flew out on a Wednesday -- but what I saw of Wroclaw, Poland, was postcard-lovely. Much of it is relatively recent reconstruction, given that the city lay in ruins after WWII.

I went to the Philharmonia one evening to see Mario Hossen and Les Orpheistes Festival Orchestra of Vienna play Vivaldi. The concert hall itself was nothing to look at, but there was no need for anything to distract the eyes given what was coming out of the musicians' instruments.

Concert at Philharmonia, Wroclaw, Poland

Daylight hours found me at the office, but a colleague kindly took me on a nighttime ramble around the Old Town, university and Ostrow Tumski.

My last day there, I took an early morning walk around the Rynek (market square) in a chilly, driving rain. I huddled beneath a doorway, trying to keep my sketchbook as dry as I could.

Rynek - Wroclaw, Poland

Wroclaw has gnomes and vintage neon signs and a cathedral and trams (I do love trams) and lots and lots of bridges. All of which (and the pierogi!) will certainly bring me back again.

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Weekend in Strasbourg

Strasbourg, France

Tagged along with M. to Germany a few weeks ago, as he was speaking at Frankfurt Book Fair. We flew out a few days early so we could spend the weekend in Strasbourg, France.

Half-timbered buildings, Strasbourg, France

I expected the half-timbered buildings (aside: they are really tedious to draw even after you figure out the pattern) and the ubiquitous flammkuchen (tarte flambee). Turns out Strasbourg is also multimodal transportation heaven. There are trams and riverboats and bicycles and pedestrian-friendly squares.

Place Gutenberg signage, Strasbourg, France

Tourists, Strasbourg, France

Oh yeah, and a famous cathedral.

Cathedral, Strasbourg, France

We had a nice meal at La Corde a Linge, a riverfront restaurant that specializes in spaetzle and is thematically decorated to evoke a vintage laundry.

La Corde a Linge restaurant, Strasbourg, France

I didn't even get to the EU Parliament building or the Rhine, and I hear there's great biking among the vineyards in Alsace -- all to-dos for a future trip.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Ocean Beach Park, New London, CT

Yoga at Ocean Beach Park, New London, CT
Sept. 20 was a lovely (though breezy) day for the Walk2End Alzheimer's at Ocean Beach Park in New London. As we waited for it to get underway, I sketched a yoga class on the beach and then the pavilions and event tents.

Walk 2 End Alzheimer's, New London, CT

Pavilions at Walk 2 End Alzheimer's, New London, CT

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunrise Behind Terminal Tower, Cleveland

Sunrise behind Terminal Tower, Cleveland, Ohio

I was in Cleveland again for work a few weeks ago. This was the view from the Aloft Hotel in the Flats - East Bank, before a day full of meetings.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

5th Urban Sketching Symposium: Brazil - Part 3

Can you guess the mood? Nina Johansson had us channeling stress and calm and sadness and joy in her workshop and interpreting those emotions in our marks and our colors.

Mood exercise, Paraty, Brazil

Calm | stress mood exercise, Paraty, Brazil

Amazing how choices of color and line style can completely alter the feel of a sketch.

Fish market, Paraty, Brazil

Paul Heaston taught us about wide angles, challenging us to cram everything we could see from ear to ear into a fisheye rendering of the world.

Fish-eye view sketch of Paraty, Brazil

View down the lane, Paraty, Brazil

Our lovely B&B, Pousada Pontal Gardens, had a two-person kayak for guest use. So we carried it to the beach and bobbed along the water. As M. paddled, I held on for dear life (it reinforced my dislike of sit-on-top kayaks) and sketched the view, leaning over to dip my brush in the water.

Sketch from the kayak, Paraty, Brazil

Too soon it was time to leave. I kept a pen and sketchbook handy from sunrise at Pontal Beach to day's end in Rio, so I could capture little vignettes from the transport van.

Fishing boat, Paraty, Brazil

Vignettes from the minivan, Paraty, Brazil

Quick sketch from the minivan, Paraty, Brazil

Boats in the distance, Paraty, Brazil

Sketch of Christo Redentor from the minivan, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

We spent the last two days relaxing at the Sheraton Rio, listening to the hypnotic crash of the waves on the beach. We had fabulous food in Leblon, especially at Q Bistro Brasileiro.

Lunch at Q Bistro Brasileiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Before heading to the airport, I sat in the Sheraton Club Lounge and drew the Chacara do Ceu favela on the hillside. Interesting to sketch, to be sure, but heartbreaking -- when the rains come in the summer, we were told, the sirens sound for evacuation as it's not safe for the residents to stay lest there be a landslide.

View of Chacara do Ceu favela from Sheraton, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

I miss you already, Brazil -- and now I see why you make us get a 10-year visa: we can't resist your lures for long.

Read Part 1 | Part 2

Saturday, September 13, 2014

5th Urban Sketching Symposium: Brazil - Part 2


Sketchwalk in the square, Paraty, Brazil

Paraty, halfway between Rio and Sao Paulo, is a time capsule colonial town that seems to hold a different festival or conference every week. There are horse carts and cobblestonesboulders and pousadas with questionable plumbing. And hummingbirds, and tiny birds that sip greedily from cut watermelon slices (who knew?). Walking involves carefully choosing your steps, except when the tide comes and you have to wade, ankle-deep.

Street in Paraty, Brazil

In Simonetta Capecchi's workshop at the Engenho d'Ouro distillery, we chronicled the making of cachaca, the famed sugarcane liquor found in the caipirinha.

At Engenho d'Ouro, Paraty, Brazil

More from the cachaca distillery, Paraty, Brazil

Sugarcane to make cachaca, Paraty, Brazil

Tasting and selling cachaca, Paraty, Brazil

When I tired of the machinery I turned my watercolors to the misty mountains beyond.

Mist behind the cachaca distillery, Paraty, Brazil

With Lynne Chapman we splashed color and drew lines and used mixed media to get over the fright of making marks on a blank page.

Line over color, Paraty, Brazil

Colored line exercise, Paraty, Brazil

Water, water everywhere in Paraty, Brazil

Read Part 1 | To be continued...

Friday, September 12, 2014

5th Urban Sketching Symposium: Brazil - Part 1

View of Ipanema from Sheraton, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

As of a few weeks ago my passport has a stamp from a new continent: South America. I admit I was skeptical when the venue for this year's symposium was announced. But I fell hard for Rio, and Paraty was charming in its way. I see now why Rio is called the "cidade maravilhosa" (marvelous city).

Before heading to Paraty, we stayed a few days at Casa Beleza, a lovely and quiet B&B in the hilly, artsy Rio neighborhood called Santa Teresa. On our first day, we ran into fellow sketcher Rita Sabler lunching at Rustico.

Rita sketching at Rustico, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

View from Rustico in Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

At Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf Mountain), we stayed and gawked till the sun had set.

Sunset at Sugar Loaf, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Dinner was at Espirito Santa, which specializes in delicious Amazonian food.

Dinner at Espirito Santa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The views from Christo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) were equally fabulous.

View from Christo Redentor, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

We skipped Copacabana and sank into the sand at Ipanema beach.

Ipanema and Leblon, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

In the business district of Centro, we made the requisite stop at Confeitaria Colombo, the art nouveau cafe with its lavishly decorated mirrors and floor-to-ceiling displays of decorative plates...

Confeitaria Colombo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

...and then I sketched a narrow slice of old Rio (Arco do Teles) as the light began to fade.

Arco do Teles, Centro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

To be continued...