I imagine non-artists can find traveling with artists tedious at times, we're never not working!
In fact my vacation this year was to go and spend a week in Barcelona for the 4th International Urban Sketchers Symposium. And it was fabulous, my perfect vacation!
|Cooling off with a clara in Placa George Orwell|
All these sketchers got together, but not only just to draw and paint in our sketchbooks, but to learn loads of new techniques and materials as well.
I took 5 three-hour workshops over the course of 3 days and my head was spinning with new materials and techniques to try.
|A quick morning sketch at the Catalan History Museum|
Barcelona is a sketchbook haven- everywhere you turn there is something to be captured. The light is strong and sunny with the widest variety of subject matter to choose from- the hillsides, sea and beach, architecture, parks, narrow winding streets, modern neighborhoods, public squares, bars and cafes along with the ancient Gothic quarter.
It was a little overwhelming.
|internal courtyard of the Barcelona University Library|
Having the chance to go around with a tiny sketchbook, a few pens and pencils and travel watercolor set really made life easier without the oil painting gear. I thought more about bite-size scenes to just capture a moment in time.
|Stairs to the Neoclassical Pavilion at the Labyrinth Garden|
And the best part was I wasn't worried about making a finished product, I just wanted to sketch in my little sketchbook.
That's the beauty of sketching, it's just for you to take the opportunity to really experience a place by sitting and observing it.
In the meantime you see all kinds of life happening around you and are soaking it all in. Nowhere to be, notwhere to go. The sketchers only mission is to sit and be in the place and make some visual notes about it.
|Reflecting pool behind the Neoclassical Pavilion at the Labyrinth Garden|
Not knowing Barcelona at all, I was very lucky in finding a place to stay in the old Gothic part of town in George Orwell square. This place was lively at all hours of the day and night and here I just stopped to sketch it before call it a day one night on my way home.
|Placa George Orwell at night|
I was on such a roll and felt so relaxed that I didn't want to break the momentum of the days spent in Barcelona and stop sketching.
I even got to the airport early and had time to drink a coffee and make this final sketch. I didn't quite get to finish because they called my flight, but I didn't mind, it is the act of sketching that counts.
|final sketch at Barcelona airport|
Carrying a sketchbook and something to make marks in it with should be indispensable to artists and non alike. Instead of checking our phones, we can participate in a moment and be where we are, seeing and recording it and learning something new about ourselves, a place and drawing too.
Find out more about Urban Sketchers here and consider joining your local group or creating one yourself.
Join me for a Sketching Tour of Rome or plein air oil painting workshop in Italy.
Click here to see upcoming dates.