Back from the Urban Sketching Symposium in Lisbon, Portugal!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Four days in and around Lisbon. Gorgeous cloudless weather. So many amazing artists I'd only known online -- in one place. And nothing to think about all day but "What shall I sketch next?"*

*Okay, those of you who know me can probably guess that I was also scouting out where we'd eat next, too. Turns out it's NOT so hard to be vegetarian in Lisbon after all.

But on to the important stuff. Here's my visual diary of our workshops and Sketchcrawl.

We started with a bit of anthropology -- a study of urban ethnography in tiny Largo de Barao de Quintela. At first glance, not so visually interesting, but we were in the midst of a veritable turf battle among pedestrians, vehicles, recycling receptacles, fire trucks, dogs. So I sketched one perspective first, and then turned around and drew another.

Street life at Largo do Barao de Quintela, Lisbon, Portugal

Fire station, Largo do Barao de Quintela, Lisbon, Portugal

The Environments workshop had us peering down a steep staircase toward the typical Lisbon sea of terracotta roofs and pastel walls, with the castle looming in the distance.

View toward the castle, Lisbon, Portugal

Then we ducked into a little cafe, to capture some interior life.

At the bar, Lisbon, Portugal

We began the second day with a panel discussion; most of us were already walk-weary from the cobblestones lining the alternately soaring and plunging terrain.

USK Symposium panel sketch, Lisbon, Portugal

In the Contrasts workshop, we negotiated stairsteps on Rua da Bica alongside iconic yellow-and-white trams, painting as they ferried passengers up and down.

View toward the water, Rua da Bica, Lisbon, Portugal

By that afternoon, I was cranky-tired and not in a drawing mood (sorry, Cityscapes workshop!). But after dinner by the docks, I had enough energy for a sketch of the scene in the twilight.

Christo Rei and 25 April Bridge from Docas, Lisbon, Portugal

Our last day began with "Light of Lisboa" -- an attempt to force the brilliant light of the city onto our sketchbook pages. First, in graphite:

Thumbnail sketches near Restauradores, Lisbon, Portugal

Thumbnail value sketches, Lisbon, Portugal

And then, in watercolor:

Street scene near Rossio, Lisbon, Portugal

We closed the symposium with the 32nd Worldwide Sketchcrawl, in Praca do Comercio.

At Praca do Comercio, Lisbon, Portugal

View and musicians, Praca do Comercio, Lisbon, Portugal

Praca do Comercio, Lisbon, Portugal

View from Praca do Comercio, Lisbon, Portugal

Only one question remains: Where will next year's symposium be???

You Might Also Like


  1. Hi Suma,

    Great post of your work. I so enjoyed meeting you in Lisbon. What a wonderful experience we all had. We must go next year!!! I was so happy there. Life is not so happy these days for me, but like everything in life this too shall pass.

    Best always—Jen

  2. Hi Suma,

    Great post of your work from Lisbon. How much fun did we have??? We must do it again next year. I was so happy in Lisbon which is not so true here these days. However, like everything in life, this too shall pass.

    Best always—Jen