Friday, February 27, 2009

Sketching at the Mansilla 3935 B&B in Buenos Aires

"Room reflections"
Bob and I prefer staying in bed and breaksfasts rather than 4 or 5 star hotels. We always have fun meeting guests from other countries and talking with the owners. Mansilla B&B turned out to be a great choice. Palermo is a wonderful neighborhood and we were in easy walking distance to lovely shops and restaurants. If you are curious, check out their Website:

Our room is featured on the right panel. Marta Elena, one of the owners, told us the home is a hundred years old. The ceilings were probably 14 feet high. The room was spacious, simple, and very comfortable. We had a high window that opened onto one of the two very small patios and our personal very nice bathroom. Each morning we would chat with people from around the world at the breakfast table. We met people from Alberta, Canada; New York City; Boston area; Netherlands; Ireland; France; and Germany. The rates were most reasonable and the family is delightful. They offered us coffee in the kitchen on our final afternoon, and were always helpful securing transportation.

One afternoon I did a couple quick sketches with a micron pen shown here. I apologize for the quality of the photos. The room reflections could become inspiration for a painting.

Last night our South Side Art Club met for our weekly painting session. We are taking turns meeting at each other's homes because we lost our free space at the community center. The change is proving to be very delightful. I did a larger drawing of my gaucho woman on tracing paper so I can easily do multiple works using her image.

Tomorrow I will share a couple watercolor sketches of the Chilean Fjords. Although I occasionally do landscapes, I prefer them with elements, such as a building, that suggest the presence of people. These are pure landscapes because no one lives there and I didn't feel like including the ship.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

South American art

"La Mujer de Gaucho" watercolor sketch
Ushuaia, Argentina

Las Mujeres de Gaucho photo

My charcoal sketch
I managed to do a bit of sketching in graphite, charcoal, and watercolor, while traveling almost 5000 miles by cruise ship around the lower latitudes of South America. Ushuai, Argentina, on the Grande Isla de Tierra del Fuego, is the southernmost city in the world and a frequent staging area for expeditions to Antartica some 800 miles away. We took a shore tour that included a trainride at the end of the world, a gaucho show, and a visit to the Tierra del Fuego National Park.

We were surprised at the quality of the gaucho show which was in a rustic barn with a visibly amateur stage setting. However, the young folks were anything but amateur in their ability to perform. I took the snapshot of the women, which is not very clear, but good enough for reference materials. A few days later I used the viewer on my camera to do a charcoal sketch, selecting the woman in red as my subject. I then created a grid, which is straight in person I might add (pardon the camera skew), and redrew my composition on a watercolor pad. I did this painting as a sketch for further development in my studio. Interestingly, you might agree with me that the charcoal sketch is a better rendition. Note the positioning of the body and head. In fact, I want to improve upon the charcoal sketch to nail the dancer's body mechanics. That's why I like to do multiple sketches and paintings.

Now that I am home, I plan to do a series based on the sketch where I vary elements of design as taught by Mike Bailey and Myrna Wacknov. (Check out Myrna's blog for her latest workshop slide show to see the results of her instruction this week. Fascinating!) I also have several wonderful source pictures for gaucho men for future reference.

Tomorrow I will share a few little sketches I did in Buenos Aires.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Days at sea

"Days at Sea"
South American Cruise

We arrived back in town Monday afternoon from Buenos Aires, Argentina, after a wonderful cruise around the southern regions of South America. We have never travelled by cruise ship before, but figured seeing the Chilean Fjords, Patagonia, the Straits of Magellan, Tierra Del Fuego, Uruguay, and Argentina, and rounding Cape Horn in the lap of luxury just might be fun to try. Then we stayed in a small Bed and Breakfast in the Palermo section of Buenos Aires for 7 days where we got to pretty much fend for ourselves with our poor Spanish to prove to ourselves we are still capable of independent travel.

I did some sketching and some painting while on the ship. This piece was fun to do and qualifies as experimental. We spent many multiple days at sea without stopping in ports and there were lots of activities, but many people truly enjoy just relaxing. One day I sat in a coffee lounge and did a bit of surreptitious sketching. The following day I stamped watercolor onto cold pressed Arches using toilet tissue. After the paper dried, I drew freehand with a micron pen. I decided to throw in Bob doing the same activity -- reading/sleeping in our stateroom. I then applied some color to parts of the drawings. I'm not sure where this will take me in the future, but Bob really liked the whimsical quality of "Days at Sea."

I have much catching up to do on everyone's blogs, my e-mail, and egad, my taxes. This will take some time.