Sunday, 31 July 2011


A short intermission in the symposium posts - I finally got to meet little Addis, whom I've been knitting and crocheting stuff for all spring (if you follow me on Flickr this will have been apparent to you). She's all of 10 weeks, and despite her spending less than 24 hours in our home I managed to do several sketches of her.

a visit from addis

double nap

And a quick one while her mother packed the car:
bye bye addis

I'm experimenting with a mixture of watercolour paint and watercolour pencils, inspired by watching Marina Grechanik draw during the symposium. The pencils let me get in the line, which I can't manage in paint using waterbrushes (just too wet) and really miss otherwise. I'm hoping this will help me stick with the colour for a while longer this time around - I keep picking it up and then quickly despairing, so we'll see where this combination takes me.

More symposium photos and sketches are already up in my Flickr stream.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Lisbon before the symposium

The only sightseeing I did during my stay was to take tram no. 28 with R and Nina. It road like a slow-motion roller coaster up and down the narrow cobbled alleys and took us through the picturesque and somewhat dilapidated areas around the Castelo.

lisboa tram

lisboa - alfama decay


tram 28

lisboa pastelaria

I met a lot of people throughout the day and hardly did any sketching until the evening meal, which featured Liz, Lynne and John, Orling, Paul, Antje and Marina:

symposium suppers

symposium suppers

symposium suppers

symposium suppers

I missed Liz in this series as I'd already been sketching her earlier. And here she is again with an oversized nose in my journal page of mixed sketches:

lisbon symposium

So many people already, and the next night was the correspondents' dinner with too many assembled in one place to make it possible to meet everyone. Pictures from that, and of various artists' sketchbooks, coming tomorrow.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Tuesday in Lisbon

On Tuesday (last week) we bumped into Isabel Fiadeiro over coffee, and I went back to the Academia des Belas Artes and signed in early. We had lunch in the canteen with Mario Linhares and some of the hardworking volunteers - they did a fantastic job organising the symposium, getting everything ready on time and running smoothly throughout.


In the evening we again bumped into Isabel, this time over dinner with a whole bunch of instructors and Liz Steele, who just happened to sit down at our table where we were wrapping up our day over some really good local food. I decided to use my extra large cahier for sketching people I had dinner with while there, and filled the first few pages with these unexpected companions.

symposium suppers

symposium suppers

symposium suppers

symposium suppers

I also got to sketch the world famous Borromini Bear and made a note of his hat size - the little fellow definitely needs a hat to wear on his treks around the globe with super sketcher Liz, who has perfected the art of eating and sketching simultaneously.

Two days before the symposium started, and I was already feeling slightly overwhelmed by all the new people!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Last week

I arrived in Lisbon on Monday 18th to give myself ample time to recover from the traveling and find my feet. Despite being tired I had to draw a bit in the evening and had a go at the window across the street from our room.

lisbon details

I added some of the details the next day as it got too dark to see before I was done.

view from my hotel window

Lisbon was irresistibly patterned - mosaic sidewalks, tiled walls, iron railings - they were everywhere.

patterned citypatterned citypatterned citypatterned citypatterned city

I wanted to do a collection of the patterns in my little pocket sketchbook, but just never found the time between meeting so many people and the tight symposium schedule.


I'm hoping to go back and see more of the city at a later date.

Still needing to scan lots of stuff, and look through more photos. Will keep posting about Lisbon throughout the week.

Monday, 25 July 2011


Winding down and packing up after an intense Urban Sketchers symposium in Lisbon. I arrived last Monday and soon met local sketchers and people arriving early for the event. From Thursday morning sign in the days have been packed with people, sketchbooks and impression overload.

lisbon environments

I've finally met a whole bunch of sketchers face to face, and it's been great to get such a solid and lively impression of people who have so far just been internet ghosts. I haven't done much sketching during the event, but I've looked at a lot of sketchbooks, seen a lot of artists in action, and had a really inspiring time.


Yesterday I went to a park and did a bit of sketching on my own. There are post-symposium farewells and wishes of meeting up again next year. I'm quite sated by all the impressions and new aquaintances and friends, and pretty much ready to go home.

Packing up my bags and leaving this afternoon. More on here in the days to come.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Den Gamle By

Family visit to Den Gamle By today - it's a live museum town where preservation worthy buildings from various places around the country have been gathered and re-raised. The main part of the town shows typical buildings, shops and workshops as they would have appeared in the 1860's, and there are townspeople about in period costume doing the jobs of the time. Read more about the museum on their homepage if you like: The Old Town in Aarhus

We ended our visit over a cold drink in Simonsens Have where I did a sketch.

simonsens have

When we got home I added watercolour from memory.

simonsens have

It turned out okay, I think.

Friday, 15 July 2011

More watercolour

eating apples

I used a bit of blue and yellow colour pencil on this. I like how it turned out, but the medium still makes me feel very fumbling and slow.

Daughter x 2


My eldest is visiting with Gigi, and I'm taking the oportunity to sketch her while she's here.


Still struggling with the waterbrushes. Details and darker areas are difficult to manage because of the excessive flow. Perhaps I should just combine with coloured pencils instead.

Thursday, 14 July 2011



Urban Sketchers symposium in Lisbon next week - not sure my hat will be much help against the intense sun and heat!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011



Will I ever have the patience to master this medium?

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Monday, 11 July 2011


No rain yesterday, so we packed a picnic basket and spent the afternoon at the beach.

bathers at vejlby fed

Quite a few other people had the same idea, and there were families swimming, people sun bathing, running or walking the dog - quite a bit of life on this normally un-crowded beach.

sunday afternoon at the beach

Top sketch is ecoline watercolour ink in a brush pen, and a water filled ditto for washes. The bottom is fine tipped ink pen and colour pencils.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Saba saba

saba saba

Ecoline ink in brush pen and thin black Artline pen.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Wildflowers and brush pens

I'm filling my handmade accordion sketchbook with drawings of Danish wildflowers from around here - just a random selection of the ones I come across along the road, in fields and empty lots.


The flowers start to wither very fast in the summer heat - next time I'll bring a small flask of water to stick them in until I get back, and just pick one or two.

summer sketching

I'm using colour pencils so far. The ones I have are a bit soft for details so I'll probably either get some colours in a less grainy texture, or else add a little detail in watercolour or marker.

wildflower - capsella bursa-pastoris

I've been asking people on Flickr to help me identify the plants. So far these two are down - the top one is Capsella Bursa-Pastoris, common English name is Sheperd's Purse, the bottom one is Vicia Cracca, common English name is Bird Vetch.

wildflower - vicia cracca

brushpens with ecoline inks

I've also filled more waterbrushes with Ecoline inks, and have been trying them out in the Pentel waterbrush. The ink flow is quite fast and difficult to control, and the colours are incredibly bright.

brush pens

I mixed the green to bring down the neon brightness, but it's still quite fierce. The inks are very clear and the lack of opacity makes the colours extremely bright. The strong flow of the waterbrushes also makes the ink pool on the sketchbook paper, and it takes time to dry. I tried the brushes out on the watercolour moleskine paper as well which helped with the pooling and wetness - the ink soaks right in and saturates the upper part of the paper.


The saturation then becomes a problem in itself. I'm going to try using these with a water-filled brush to dilute and mix the colours with. Next step will be mixing colours in the brushes, and maybe diluting the inks a bit as well.

Have you worked with Ecoline inks? Any experiences and insights you might share?

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Watercolour sketching in town

Went sketching in town yesterday, wanting to have a go at watercolours. I brought along my little palette and waterbrushes, and got a watercolour sketchbook at the store.

sketching at skt. knuds torv

The brushes are very wet, and I am still pretty inexperienced with watercolour, so the results are uneven. I also can't really see what works and what doesn't right now - I need a bit of distance and some more experiments to get a feel for things.

sketching vor fruesketching at skt. knuds torv

vor frue

I like the drawing part of this - the many angles and planes, and the patterns in the window.

skt. knuds torv

This one is a simple ink pen sketch with watercolour wash. You can see how I struggled with the overly wet brushpen washing out the colours.

sketching view towards harboursketching view towards harbour

I finished up down by Bispetorv with this sketch looking past the cathedral and old town houses towards the harbour - the bright blue crane caught my eye.

blue crane
This one is all watercolour and I think the one with most problems. By this time the sky was completely overcast and the light very diffuse, almost completely eliminating shadows. In the end I just ran out of time and had to go catch my bus home.