"Urban Sketching"

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???

"Sheffield Island"

Picnicking on Sheffield Island

Friday, July 15, 2011

Woke up last weekend craving a boat ride -- and remembered that the Norwalk Seaport Association runs ferry cruises out to Sheffield Island. Packed up a picnic lunch and headed off to the dock in SoNo. The three-hour excursion went by fast! I barely managed to dash off this quick sketch after our lunch, lighthouse tour, and hike. Lovely outing for a gorgeous summer day.

Sheffield Island Lighthouse, Norwalk, CT

"Bermondsey Square"

A Rainy Day at Bermondsey Square

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

On the last day of my second trip to London for work, I woke up around 4 a.m. to see the Bermondsey Square Antiques Market. Figured since I was staying at the hotel directly above, I shouldn't pass up the opportunity.

Unfortunately the skies had decided to open up, so there was little other than a few grumpy vendors complaining about the rain (in London? really?) until well past 6 a.m.

While I waited for more dealers to set up, I trekked 20 minutes north to More London to find a working ATM, but even by the time I got back there was nothing compelling to buy. So I had breakfast in the hotel and sketched the scene outside.

Drizzly day at Bermondsey Square, London, UK

Browsing the Bermondsey Square Antiques Market, London, UK

"Commander's Palace"


Monday, July 04, 2011

In the last three weeks I've been in two countries and five states (seven, if you count airport layovers). My sketchbook came along for the ride, but it wasn't always easy to find time for drawing. And sometimes the weather was just plain uncooperative (NoLa, I'm lookin' at you).

My first jaunt was to Cleveland. Naturally I timed my arrival to coincide with that of the midges. They were everywhere -- swarming cars, storefronts and all. Still, I did manage to step outside and fend them off long enough to do a quick sketch of the skyline from the plaza outside the Marriott Key Center.

Sunset from outside the Marriott Key Center, Cleveland, OH

A week later, I was in London. No sketches this time -- was wandering a new neighborhood between back-to-back meetings and dinners.

The end of the week found me in New Orleans -- where it was hot, sticky, and uncomfortable. I mostly sketched from the coolness of the hotel room, 10 floors above the Mississippi River.

Mississippi River from window of Hilton Riverside, New Orleans, Louisiana

Poydras St and Convention Center Blvd from above, New Orleans, LA

Oh, and I did manage to draw between courses during Sunday jazz brunch at Commander's Palace:

Jazz brunch at Commander's Palace, New Orleans, LA

Hoping my next two trips -- back to London, and then to Lisbon -- will offer better weather...


Finally Done: The Road, Donegal

Friday, July 01, 2011

It's been some time in the making, but I finally redid the sky, added the houses, and signed it. It's quite different from the photo it's based on -- I took the photo in bleak winter many years ago, and clearly the painting is of a much sunnier time.

The Road, Donegal

The Road, Donegal; oil on panel, 13.5" x 13.5" framed.