Finally I can show these sketches from Barcleona!
So, right after coming back from Barcelona last summer I happened to be talking to a writer at The Artist’s Magazine.
Actually this is a funny story, so I will digress. Our group USK:MTL was sketching musicians at an event for historic re-creators, and there was this guy with a lute. I didn’t actually recognize it as such, I’m just sketching away and I think to myself “I don’t know what that instrument is – I could just make up some nonsense and nobody would care”. But, I’m a well trained Urban Sketcher so I drew it exactly as I saw it. Soon after I get a message – “Wow, my friend is a lute player, and I never see drawings of lute players, can I purchase that sketch?”. So that is a little tale of why it’s good to get out and draw the unexpected things life shows you.
Anyway one thing lead to another, and it turns out the lute fan is a writer for The Artist’s Magazine. This leads to me doing a small interview about the Barcelona Symposium, and giving them two of my watercolors from the trip. So finally, the short article is out in the world. (Appearing right next to a short bio on Kansas correspondent Cathy Johnson, which is another small-world thing). Here’s the issue if you happen to see it on the stands:
So that means, hurray! I can finally show you guys the paintings! It’s always unexpected, what with the world of blogging, how long it takes to see things in print. Our expectations change so fast hey?
[Casa de Les Punxes, Barcelona, 12x16]
I didn’t know what to expect out of BCN – but it certainly was not these ‘witches hat’ buildings. I had no idea this was a thing. But they’re seemingly everywhere in the city, and they’re always charming to see. Such a whimsical bit of architectural nonsense. Barcelona, of course, has the world crown for whimsical architecture.
Here’s the drawing in progress on location.
[Bisbe Street Bridge, Gothic Quarter, 12x16]
This little bit of fun is in behind the cathedral in the Gothic quarter, and is probably the most photographed bit of the city. Because it’s so cute! How could you not love a style of architecture called ‘Flamboyant’.
Wikipedia has an interesting side-thread on the authenticity of this area. I gather there was a strategic policy in the 1920′s to insert some history into this neighborhood. A plan to improve the image of the city and attract visitors. I would bet that has been an excellent return on investment. Architects are divided as to if this sort of faux-history is valid. I personally like it – why not? It’s an artistic response to the past. I’m ok with seeing reproductions, especially if the alternative is seeing functional modernism.
I drew this with Liz Steel on one of our post-workshop rambles. I always get the best stuff by hanging around with the architects. They scout the spots so well. For some reason I didn’t get a good shot of her drawing. Next time, better reporting skills!
Just a side note for those interested in the process. This trip I was sketching multi-page drawings on location, (the trick shown here, and here) printing them onto watercolor paper back home, and painting in the studio.
There is an interesting discussion to be had as to how true to ‘Urban Sketching’ that process is :) We have a desire to draw on location, from observation, which has so many advantages I won’t even get into it. Of course, we’d prefer to do the whole painting on the spot as well – it’s easier, and the results are always better if this is possible – but it’s a trade off isn’t it? Do you spend three hours on location getting one painting, or do you get as many sketches as possible and color them later?
I’ve done it both ways. This trip I opted for sketching like mad and finishing later. There was so much to see in such a limited time, I’d kick myself if I came home with only eight paintings, instead of this stack.
The deciding factor was the high incidence of pickpocketing and theft in this area. Unfortunately we had a number of street-crime incidents during the workshop, so I decided on the-better-part-of-valor and carried everything on my person in a very small bag. I hope to do more painting in Brazil this upcoming 2014 symposium. I should think Paraty would be more laid back than downtown Barcelona.