Barcelona sin Gaudi - Part Two

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Have I mentioned the amazing food in Spain? We really didn't eat a bad meal the entire time we were in Barcelona, though at a certain point I did tire a little of the ubiquitous pan de tomate ;)

At Matamala, Barcelona, Spain


Another warm, sticky day. Before the first workshop, went up to the 6th floor spa deck of Le Meridien hotel to sketch the view. Next time I'd like to go up into those hills.

View from Le Meridien Hotel 6th floor, Barcelona, Spain

Started off in the morning with Shari Blaukopf's Triad Symphony workshop, where we explored the possibilities of working solely with Alizarin crimson, Ultramarine blue and Aureolin yellow. After some value studies, we painted a small flower stand near the Església de Santa Anna, a lovely church. A bit bummed that I didn't actually go see the cloister.

Florist, Barcelona, Spain

After the class, a few of us took the metro to Barna Art -- because, you know, one never has quite enough art supplies. I snagged one of the few remaining Escoda travel brushes as well as a pack of Catalan-made watercolor paper at sister shop Barna Paper. After inhaling sorbet for lunch (yes it was that hot), I attended the Sketching with Dry Twig and Chinese Ink demo by Ch'ng Kiah Kiean. We watched closely as he deftly and rapidly sketched the cathedral with just a few tools.

Then it was off to Capturing Space Through Form and Color, taught by Marion Rivolier. Was not happy to walk nearly 30 minutes to the location, down in Barceloneta. (Plus, by now I know from experience that the second workshop on the second day of each year's symposium is generally my low point in terms of energy!) So I probably wasn't paying attention to the exercises, but I managed to paint a number of these panoramas of the buildings and trees down there. No pen or pencil lines, thus no "safety net."

Barceloneta panorama in red/blue, Barcelona, Spain

Barceloneta panorama, Barcelona, Spain


I knew this morning's workshop was going to be hard. Omar Jaramillo and João Catarino showed us how to paint around what we wanted to highlight in their workshop, titled Negative Forms as First Structures and Minimal Storytelling. I struggled with the first part, where we had to paint just the buildings, leaving the trees, cafe umbrellas, etc., white. I won't show you my sad attempts. The second part was more my speed -- we had to quickly paint gestural forms of the people wandering around near Placeta del Pi.

People at Placeta del Pi, Barcelona, Spain

After lunch at a Vietnamese place near the cathedral (a welcome break from tapas), I attended an informative and charismatic lecture by RISD faculty member and illustrator Fred Lynch. He was quite the storyteller.

Finally it was time for the 40th Worldwide Sketchcrawl! Keeping with tradition, the last day of the symposium coincided with a worldwide sketchcrawl, so we all gathered at the Arc de Triomf to draw, have a group picture taken and celebrate.

Arc de Triomf, Barcelona, Spain

Sketchcrawl at Arc de Triomf, Barcelona, Spain

A few of us went on to dinner at Luzia Street Grill, where the blank white paper placemat begged to be filled with a sketch.

At Luzia Street Grill, Barcelona, Spain


A day to rest, at last (sort of.) M. and I splurged for tickets and took a ride on the hop-on, hop-off Touristic Bus so that I could get a feel for the city (not to mention see some of the famous Gaudi buildings). It was nice to be off my feet. Of course, there were many stops along the route where crowds of people got on and off. I took the opportunity to sketch the Palau Nacional from the top of the stopped bus.

Top of Palau Nacional from Touristic Bus, Barcelona, Spain

I leave you with a sketch of the beach in Barceloneta, where we stopped for lunch and to dip our feet in the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean.

Barceloneta beach, Barcelona, Spain

Looking forward to next year's symposium, wherever it may be!


Barcelona sin Gaudi - Part One

Friday, July 19, 2013

That's right, you won't see any sketches of the city's fabulously undulating buildings here! I spent four and a half days in Barcelona attending the 4th International Urban Sketching Symposium and somehow managed not to draw anything by Gaudi. Here's how it went down.

Arrived after an overnight flight and sank happily into the bed at Le Meridien for a nap. Wandered over to La Sagrada Familia. Was not impressed by its perpetual construction site-ness (I'd been warned, but somehow wasn't quite prepared for all the sheathing-scaffolding-craning.) Meh. Didn't inspire me to whip out a pen.

Dinner at Els Quatre Gats was more promising. This ancient cafe played host to one of Picasso's first one-man shows.

At Els Quatre Gats, Barcelona, Spain


Let the games begin! We convened at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, were given our massive bags of sponsor swag and sent off to our first workshop. Mine was Dynamic Ink, with Norberto Dorantes, where we had to draw with non-waterproof ink and wash. Not easy! Our subject was Carrer Comtal.

Looking up Carrer Comtal, Barcelona, Spain

From the balcony, Carrer Comtal, Barcelona, Spain

Buildings, Barcelona, Spain

At midday, I attended a demo on Digital Urban Sketching, with Monica Cid and Josu Maroto. Of course, I trotted out my iPhone and finger-sketched while I listened to the instructors talk about various app and stylus options.

At the Digital Urban Sketching demo

Was very excited for my afternoon workshop, Drawing from the Heart and Over Color Splashes with Tia Boon Sim and Paul Wang. It was raining, but happily we were inside the cafe at the Palau de la Musica Catalana. We were encouraged to play with wax, ink, sticks, salt, and splashes. So play we did.

Palau de la Musica Catalana cafe1

Palau de la Musica Catalana cafe2

Palau de la Musica Catalana cafe3

Palau de la Musica Catalana cafe4

Palau de la Musica Catalana cafe5

To be continued...


Getting Ready for Barcelona

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Seems like we were just in Santo Domingo -- but amazingly a whole year has already gone by and it's time for the 4th International Urban Sketching Symposium ... in Barcelona!

Barcelona symposium prep: materials

Thank goodness for the long holiday weekend, giving me time to plan what I'm taking along. In addition to my usual watercolor kits, fountain pens and sketchbooks, I'm taking pens loaded with various *non-waterproof* inks, a selection of colored pencils, some Neocolor II crayons, a bamboo pen and extra ink. The pens and pencils fit into my Niji wrap, and the extra ink (and a small container of salt) is in a kayaking dry bag to prevent any accidents in transit. For water containers, I have a collapsible dog bowl and an H2O4K9 dog water bottle with the bowl in the cap, both of which attach to my bag with carabiners. (Oh, plus a laptop and scanner so I can blog during the symposium!)

Speaking of bags ... all the warnings about pickpockets got to me, so I went out and got a Pacsafe Metrosafe 200 GII anti-theft bag. It's a fairly lightweight daypack and can fit my 7"x10" sketchbooks and paper blocks. I figure it will be useful in other places as well.

To keep a few materials at hand, I took this gardening apron from Terrain and machine-sewed some pen pockets into it. That way I can keep a small sketchbook and a few pens/pencils within reach. I was inspired by a something similar that Inma Serrano had in Santo Domingo.

Barcelona symposium prep: sketching apron

I also "pre-colored" some sketchbook pages with India ink and shellac-based ink, so I can draw on top.

Barcelona symposium prep: pre-coloring paper

So... what are *you* bringing to Barcelona?

Fourth of July

Southport Sketchbook: Happy Fourth!

Friday, July 05, 2013

How could I resist my friend's Facebook post (complete with pics of her children's adorably decorated bicycles) describing Southport, CT's old-fashioned Fourth of July parade? Followed by lawn games on the grounds of the Pequot Library? I was in!

Fourth of July bike parade start line, Southport, CT

I'd just started to sketch the start line when they were off! I frantically scratched out some lines, trying to capture the gesture of the kids gathered together in front of the buildings.

At the Pequot, everyone swarmed the hot dog stand; some kids got their faces painted.

Face painting after Fourth of July bike parade, Southport, CT

The heat and humidity were palpable. Many people stayed in the shade of trees with popsicles and ice cream to stay cool.

Hanging out on the Pequot Library lawn, Southport, CT

The lawn games were lots of fun -- there were costumed races with kids dressed up as King George, Betsy Ross, Paul Revere, etc. Of course I couldn't resist sketching the sack race, where the kids hopped to and fro in pillowcases imprinted with flags and stars!

Sack race after Fourth of July bike parade, Southport, CT


Snapshot from a Roadtrip: Stauf's in Columbus, Ohio

Friday, July 05, 2013

Just returned from a marathon roadtrip to attend M.'s cousin's wedding. We drove to Cleveland, then Columbus, then (with a detour into West Virginia) back to Connecticut via Hershey and Lititz, PA. Whew! Here are a few sketches done at Stauf's Coffee in the Grandview section of Columbus, Ohio. They had decorated the place with bike jerseys and other bicycle gear for the annual Tour de Grandview, which had taken place a couple of days earlier (we had a great vantage point from right outside the rehearsal dinner venue).

At Stauf's Coffee, Columbus, Ohio

Lining up at Stauf's Coffee, Columbus, Ohio


More Plein Air Practice

Friday, July 05, 2013

Five Mile River, Rowayton, CT

Here's another plein air acrylic painting done in Rowayton -- it wasn't an easy one, as the paint dried fast, there were bugs, I kicked my water container over, etc.... touched it up a bit later in the studio. I still think I'll eventually like this medium for plein air work -- I just have to learn it better (and possibly upgrade to slightly better quality paint).

Also participated in my first Quick Draw on June 8, during Jersey Central Art Studios' Paint the Town Cranford 2013 event. Note to self (and others): leave lots of extra time to arrive and scout out a location! We ambitiously thought we'd stop by my office in Secaucus to get all my belongings first (we're moving to a flexible hoteling-only workspace at EY this month) before heading to Cranford to get set up. Due to a blockage on the Saw Mill Parkway, we ended up seeing all of Yonkers stoplight by stoplight and barely made it to Cranford in time. I chose a view and squeaked something out in the two-hour timeframe allotted, but I'm not even going to show you what I painted -- it's destined to be gessoed into oblivion!


Cleaning Up After Hurricane Sandy

Friday, July 05, 2013

Wow, I haven't posted to the blog in a while -- so get ready for a slew of catch-up posts! A while ago (the end of May, in fact, as the note on my sketch helpfully reminds me) we had Bartlett Tree Experts come out and take down the two trees in our backyard that had keeled over in Hurricane Sandy. Couldn't resist doing a quick sketch of the guys through the kitchen window.

Bartlett removing Sandy-damaged trees in the yard, Stamford, CT