Archives for the month of: May, 2014

Phew. I made it. Every one.

I’m using this next week.

These are nice books. They even feel nice.

I just want to spend it. Did not want to draw it. I had it pose three times. This is pose #1 and #2 combined. #3 was too embarrassed to show itself.

iPad; New Trent Arcadia stylus.
Pen & Ink and ArtRage apps.

Checked out of the hotel. Walked through the early morning streets wheeling my suitcase over the cobblestones, looking at everything, trying to be “present” and boarded an Airbus at the stop by Plaça Catalunya. Shucks. Too early. Delta didn’t open until 10am. This sure ain’t JFK. Spotted Gwen and Phil who had to check in and then lost track of them. I did it from the hotel the night before.

Fortunately the officer in security advised me to get coffee before going through immigration because once through there is no turning back and the eating choices are drastically reduced in the gate area.

Oops. Lost track of time and made my way to the gate where I spotted my friends again. But. You see, I had only one more journal spread left in the entire Moleskine, so me and my pen went walking. I asked the girl on the floor if I could sketch her since I was standing only a couple of feet away. She was thrilled.

I had a row of 4 seats all to myself.


Moleskine journal; background Gelli Plate printed with acrylic; Sharpie Ultra Fine pen, Pitt brush pen, Signo Uni-ball (UM-153) white gel pen; and sometimes I add a bit of color with Crayola markers.

iPad; New Trent Arcadia stylus.
Pen & Ink and ArtRage apps.

(Don’t forget – this all took place in April).
Today, Sunday, the plan was to meet Elisa and her father, Carlo, at Petit Palau at 1pm. Yesterday the artist (remember? artist’s studio) told me there would be dancing outside the Cathedral so, after breakfast I went there to check it out. Nothing. Not even a hint of musical preparations. (Later I learned from Ann that it started about 11:20 am. I was there at 10:50.) Instead, I walked down to Port Vell with the idea of drawing some boats. I couldn’t settle down, the boats just seemed too jumbled and confused and I couldn’t figure out how to sketch anything. Kept walking, looked through an archway and spotted the entrance to Museu d’Historia de Catalumya, and entered. I surprised myself again – must have been channelling Gwen – sketched pots, pots and more pots. I learned, in the process, more about pots than ever before.

I met up with everybody and we had lunch at Le Cucine Mandarosso. Oh, thank goodness this place wasn’t discovered earlier in my trip. Homemade pasta. Most of the dishes that day had no meat. Ohhhh. Man. The dessert. No amount of walking would have zeroed out the calories.

Speaking of walking. After lunch we walked to La Sagrada Familia (Antoni Gaudi). Ahem. I knew the way since I was there earlier in the week. The others decided to stand on line and go inside. I opted out, too many people, and waited by the gated entrance where I could sit on a wall.

I did this drawing, not very good, and was going to relegate it to the trash. But, you know what, it reminds me of the sunny, windy, cold in the shade day. It reminds me of the 6 little tiny kids who crawled all over the wall and me, fascinated with what I was doing and bewildered that I didn’t speak Catalan.

The same with this snarky drawing. Instant memories in living colors and goosebumps.

Afterwards we took two taxis, supposedly to Santa Monica, where there was the last day of another book show. I say supposedly because the first cab which contained Phil, Gwen and I, and which was in the lead, let us out too soon, which forced Elisa and Carlo, who knew this was a mistake, to have to also get out of their following taxi. This led to a looong walk to La Rambla and then down almost to the port. The book show was ok. Not of the caliber of Elisa’s “Festival”. The four of them went to have drinks by the sea but I preferred to pick up something to eat in the hotel room. I don’t remember but probably an ice cream cone was involved.

The next day, Monday, I finally drew the view from my room window. Simplified. It was a very complex view.

I had breakfast in Starbucks and the guy with the nice hair and suit sat in front of me again and plugged in his laptop. His office? I spent time writing and reading. Then I remembered I wanted to be somewhere SOON(!) so I hustled to Plaça Raiel and joined the free walking tour. This time I wrote down the names of streets to revisit, located them on the map and sketched my fellow tourists every time the tour guide stopped to do her spiel. Yes, I went in the cloisters when she stopped to let us and I quickly sketched a goose who was watching me. At the end of the tour I impressed myself by knowing just which way to walk to get where I wanted to be.

After lunch. I’m a regular now and even got a smile from the owner. I did a quick sketch on part of a page in the restaurant and then headed out to one of the places I noted during the tour. This is the only time I did the sketch using pencil. Phew. Eraser came in handy. I tried to be careful with the placement of things in relation to other things but ….

I went back to the hotel taking a long rambling route, following the notes I made earlier of places to revisit, and eschewing the map. I went here and there, back and forth without once thinking I would get lost. When I was ready I headed for La Rambla and the streets heading to the hotel. It was early evening and I had planned on packing and then going out for a last round-trip La Rambla circuit, an ice cream cone (ha ha) and something for dinner. Yes, in that order.

At the hotel I read an email from Gwen. Remember last night? Drinks by the sea? Well, they had dinner. And during that dinner a thief snuck in behind the waiter and took off with her purse. He was so good that no one noticed it happening. Passport, money, cards, SKETCHBOOK(!). Gone. Poof. She was able to get a replacement passport at the Embassy. It seems this is not a rare occurrence.


Three guesses who was clutching her purse during that last nighttime La Rambla round trip stroll. I think I even left my journal in the hotel room which was a big first for me.
Moleskine journal; background Gelli Plate printed with acrylic; Sharpie Ultra Fine pen, Pitt brush pen, Signo Uni-ball (UM-153) white gel pen; and sometimes I add a bit of color with Crayola markers.

iPad; New Trent Arcadia stylus.
Pen & Ink and ArtRage .

The next one could also fit the category of DANGER. ‘Cause I have no control once it’s in the house. I have gotten so quick at drawing that it didn’t even have a moment to realize it should be melting.

This was drawn from a photo I took at the Met some years ago. So far the first EDiM from a photo this year.

You all saw this the other day but my OCD self needs it in the proper order so to keep the peace I am obedient.

I stand here because that is where the door ends up and I can beat everyone else into the train.

iPad; New Trent Arcadia stylus.
Pen & Ink and ArtRage apps.

(Here are iPad drawings and more text about these days.)

Something I learned in Barcelona: I loved drawing these super old wooden sculptures. I’m going to keep an eye out for statues like this from now on. Took me completely by surprise.

The Blackout Book festival moved to an indoor venue which also had classrooms. Laurie re-purposes old credit card machines and transforms them into linocut presses. It’s just a matter of removing some unwanted plastic protuberances, blocking up a hole or two and making the roller longer which seems to be optional. A simple Phillips screwdriver seems to do most of the work. The link above has a pic of the action. I was able to draw while I waited for my turn at the press.

Here’s the print of the simple linocut I did while in the workshop. I used the people around me as unwitting models. I didn’t get too detailed because the cutting tool was giving me trouble and I was trying to avoid shedding blood. I pretty much always cut myself with block printing tools.

The next day Laurie, Ann, Gwen, Phil and I went to El Born Cultural Center. This used to be a big market but during some construction it was discovered that there were Catalan ruins underneath so now it is a “museum” or reminder of Catalan origins instead. You are not allowed to go down into the excavation without a guide and none were available at that time (ahem, last minute) but, on ground level, there are stations with pictures and informative text. You can look down on the part of the structure or town that is exposed and read about the family, with their names and occupations, and clearly understand how they lived their lives. Every bit of the excavation was exposed but without a guide we could only look down and walk around the perimeter and read.

I went outside and ended up about a block away, found a convenient bench and sketched the shop across the street. When I finished I went back to El Born and walked around reading the information at each excavated building. Fascinating.

At about noon everyone went in different directions. Laurie wanted to go back to the museum from yesterday and Gwen had to set up her booth at the civic center and get ready for her workshop at 4pm. I wanted to find the studio of an artist we spotted several days ago when it was closed. This time I was lucky and also the artist co-op next door seemed to be having a show opening (lots of wine flowing) so I walked in and checked out the art.

I stopped to listen to a violinist and sketched the stone frieze (is that the word?) high up the wall in front of me. I don’t think that’s the proper word but it eludes me right now. Then I had lunch and coffee. Guess where.

Back at the book festival Gwen taught rubber stamp carving (I used an x-acto knife which is my preferred tool instead of the dreaded Lino tools of the other day) and made stamps on the front and back of the eraser. She also taught how to make paint from clay (remember she picked up clay, two different colors, on our Mountjuic visit the other day) to use on the stamps. Wow! Who knew it was such a simple and quick process? I thought it was long, drawn out and fraught with variables that led to failure.

These are the two images – separate stamps – that I printed on a placemat from a restaurant we ate at last week. I printed this in my hotel room. Yes. I had an ink stamp in my luggage. Don’t ask.

Now it was after 7pm. The artists started packing up their booths and tying up loose ends at around 8pm. It is over for Barcelona but Elisa is taking it to many other countries. Lots of goodbyes and hugs. What fun this was.

Elisa’s in this drawing twice and Gwen once.

Moleskine journal; background Gelli Plate printed with acrylic; Sharpie Ultra Fine pen, Pitt brush pen, Signo Uni-ball (UM-153) white gel pen; and sometimes I add a bit of color with Crayola markers.

Yesterday, Sunday, I joined the Central Park Sketching and Art Meetup Group downtown on East 17th street in Stuyvesant Square, a nice shady and quiet park loaded with benches and picnic tables.

Portraits. We were meant to sit still for 30 minutes while a “partner” drew and then switch roles for a further half hour.

Do you know how hard and boring it is to sit still? I was not looking forward to the role of sitter.

Four of us decided to say “phooey” to all of that and we headed to one of those picnic tables with the attached benches and proceeded to draw each other as they drew us. You neither move very much when sketching nor do you get bored. We chatted, laughed and sketched away.

After the hour was up everybody gathered to display the portraits. And then disperse with new partners to repeat the process.

Janet was obedient and found a partner but Shirley, Paula and I headed back to the same table. We had such a fine time before but now there was a problem – it was kinda boring (that word again) to draw us AGAIN. But wait. See those three over there? They’re looking for someplace to sit! Hey! Hey! C’mon Over. We’ve got plenty of room. Now we were six.

Still, Paula was right in front of me so how could I resist.

Lin was sitting next to me, just like last year when I also found myself sketching her. She has that drawing in her phone and showed someone.

By this time I was feeling “sketch fatigue” and I was not alone in that. I decided to do things the way I usually do, and I know you know what I’m talking about because you all faithfully read this blog.

Faces are vastly overrated, don’t you agree?

iPad; New Trent Arcadia stylus.
Pen & Ink app.

Here’s the text and some iPad drawings for these two days.

I decided that I should try to sketch more of the buildings. Even the ordinary look special in these narrow twisty streets.

This was the big day. The book festival opened outdoors in Plaça de Sant Just. Hoards of people passed through. I arrived late, about 5:00, and Gwen told me I missed both Silvia and Shiem. Oh well. I stopped at every table and was astounded at the artist books. Lots of nice conversations. Then I planted myself on the church steps and sketched the crowds.

And sketched them some more.

The next morning, after breakfast, I walked down La Rambla until I reached Mercat de la Boqueria, a Very Very Very large, crowded, bustling market filled with the healthiest looking produce I have ever seen. Since it was early I was able to find an unobtrusive pillar to lean on and sketch.

My wanderings eventually led me here, to “my” restaurant where, at this time of day I could linger over my meal and coffee (in this place a large coffee is REALLY a large coffee) and sketch without worrying about taking up a scarce table. I suppose you noticed that I ate there yesterday also. Love the place.

The following event (hey! If you didn’t click the above link yet you really should) happened before lunch but I drew it in the hotel room referring to a few of my photos. This was the third and last time I referred to photos. I guess if I hadn’t been busy eating my before lunch ice cream cone I could have sketched the scene from life but one has one’s priorities. Since I was standing still and gawking the ice cream calories counted.

Moleskine journal; background Gelli Plate printed with acrylic; Sharpie Ultra Fine pen, Pitt brush pen, Signo Uni-ball (UM-153) white gel pen; and sometimes I add a bit of color with Crayola markers.

Follow this link for the text as to what we did on this day. Lots of digital drawings.

I could have spent many more hours sketching in this museum.

The clay Gwen picked up here was used a few days later in her stamp carving/paint making workshop.

After lunch we walked uphill a bit wondering where oh where can this museum be? Go up? Down? Right? Left? Well, Duh to us. It turned out to be the biggest edifice around and even had its own waterfall and spectacular view overlooking the whole of Barcelona way, way, way down there.

I was a sketching machine that day. I was flitting all over the place and totally forgot my disappointment when I learned the contemporary Catalan art wing was closed for renovations. We all, Gwen. Ann, Laurie, Phil and I gathered outside and then went up to the roof parapet for the views and then for some refreshment in the form of cake.

Later that evening Elisa hosted a Roundtable where she discussed the Blackout Book submissions and had various artists discuss their process. Since most of it was not in English I busied myself sketching whoever was in my sight line. Because we were all seated at a very large rectangular table it was not difficult and there were a lot of victims. Time flew by.

Dinner was in a different neighborhood, Raval (?), which wasn’t too far from my hotel but I had never been that way before and since it was after midnight I had company while walking back. Thank goodness. I’d still be walking in circles otherwise.

Moleskine journal; background Gelli Plate printed with acrylic; Sharpie Ultra Fine pen, Pitt brush pen, Signo Uni-ball (UM-153) white gel pen; and sometimes I add a bit of color with Crayola markers.

This is the continuation of Saturday – after we left the Sketchcrawl, Ann, Gwen,Phil and I went back to the apartment, hung around for awhile and then headed out for our evening.

And here is the next day, Sunday.

In the little Plaça outside the museum I paused with Gwen to sketch these guitarists. During the following days I saw the same pair in different areas. It seems that maybe all the buskers rotate sites.

At the end of the day I ended up back in Plaça Catalunya again.

On Monday, after our breakfast with Silvia and Albert, friends of my New York friend Ken, we met up with Laurie, fresh off the plane, in front of Hotel Colon. I took advantage of the lengthy conversations and absence of movement.

We walked around, had lunch in a nice restaurant (that I liked so much I returned to it by myself quite a few times in the coming days) and then I left to join up with a free walking tour. I was early enough to consume a chocolate ice cream cone and complete this drawing of the tour meeting place.

The following drawing was done later in my hotel room referring to photos I took of the tour guide Jessie and other tourists.

Moleskine journal; background Gelli Plate printed with acrylic; Sharpie Ultra Fine pen, Pitt brush pen, Signo Uni-ball (UM-153) white gel pen; and sometimes I add a bit of color with Crayola markers.




iPad; New Trent Arcadia stylus.
Pen & Ink and ArtRage apps.