Wendie recently did a post on handmade gifts. I think they are the best, and you just hope that the recipient senses the love and care that went into the gift, all the planning and then the hours completing the project. Well no doubts here. My great friend gave me this sketch recently–depicting a moment of our trip to Berlin and Paris. We had the best time, sketching our way along, absorbing that world in a way you can never do with just a camera. So this gift is kind of a loop back, a sketch from a photo of me taking a photo. But at the same time it captures the essence of our friendship and I treasure it.
As I sat outside sketching this famous bookstore, I was very aware of the number of tourists visiting and posing for photos. It was a cold, damp day so with scarf pulled up around my ears and fingerless gloves on, I did a hurried sketch to absorb the history of the place. A. came to meet me after about 30 minutes and we went to another favourite spot, this time in the Marais, a short walk away.
This is a bustling, in fact crowded, tea shop with great servers and good food. (I was lucky to get the shot above in the early morning before the crowds.) We sketched here twice–the first time upstairs, the second time sharing a big wooden table right by the front door. Lots happening–and room for everyone.
Another spot we loved was Le Café Campana in the Musée D’Orsay, the creation of Brazilian designers, Humberto and Fernando Campana. Surprisingly good food–and of course the amazing old train station clock.
And finally another piece of Parisian history, Sennelier, and like Shakespeare and Company, in the same spot since those famous artists shopped here. We visited here twice because we loved the atmosphere and, of course, the colours!
This morning I walked down rue Mouffetarde to buy a loaf of bread and find a spot to sketch. This is a lively area of market stalls, shops and cafes. This has been a roadway since the Roman settlement of the area and originally lead to Rome. Many of the current buildings date back to the 13th century.
All around people were singing and enjoying the street theatre and a morning cafe. How civilized.
Then this afternoon we walked along the Seine to the Tuileries Garden to sketch. The weather could not have been more perfect. All of Paris seemed to be out enjoying the afternoon. The Tuileries has many, many chairs, enough for everyone to take in the sights and savour the day.
I am leaving tomorrow for two weeks away. A week in Berlin and a week in Paris, sketching and absorbing. I will keep you up to date right here, I hope, if the wordpress app cooperates. I have my sketch book, new palette, brushes and pens ready to go. I also have my reading planned: C.S. Richardson’s new book, The Emperor of Paris. Check out this link and the lovely short video which may make you want to go to Paris too. I absolutely loved Richardson’s first book The End of the Alphabet and I have great hopes for this new one. I always try to read a novel about the city I am visiting. For Berlin, Ian McEwan’s The Innocent. There isn’t a book of McEwan’s that I haven’t enjoyed, but the one on my top ten list is Atonement, a wonderful film too. But I digress…
It will be cold for sketching, especially in Berlin, so I decided to make myself a pair of fingerless gloves. You can see them in the top photo and below you will see I got carried away and made more for the show coming up in December. They are so easy to wear and so practical. There is a slit for your thumb and then your fingers are covered to the knuckles, but free for sketching or texting. Perfect. These pairs are made of gray cashmere, so wonderfully cozy.
For sketching inspiration I have been following Luís Ricardo Simões’ amazing blog, World Sketching Tour. Check the blog out, particularly this video. Here is one of his sketches from Berlin. His wonderfully loose style is so appealing. My friend A and I are hoping to absolutely fill our sketchbook with all kinds of images from these two great cities. I will keep you posted!
Here are a couple of my own recent sketches. A. and I spent a recent weekend sketching with Sharon Cranston, learning to relax and let the pen do the observing. This sketch is from a Picton Ontario food fair, full of people and great smells. We were right beside the fresh bread booth! The second is on the GO train into Toronto.
Drawing people is tough. Luckily this young woman was so involved with her phone that she didn’t notice me. Maybe by the time I am home from Europe I will have figured out how to do faces. When I add the mouth, I seem to ruin it. Ah well. What I am really after is the wonderful connection with a scene that you get from drawing it — far more than taking a photo. I can still smell the bread from the picture above!