It’s been a while since my last post. It wasn’t because of idleness – on the contrary: not long ago I’ve finished (well, almost…) my contributions – namely more than 40 watercolour illustrations – for a children’s book on architecture. Hurray! Fortunately, there is a bit of time to put together bits and pieces now, write a little something that shall be dedicated to travelling and sketching.
In October last year, and, just recently, I’ve managed to sneak away by train for a couple of days. Once to Venice on my own, and once to Prague with a dear friend and artist who is very passionate about as well as good at drawing humanoids. In both cases the focus was on exploring: the places, past and presence, oneself in this context, and art in all its facets.
Although painting is a big part of my daily life for a while, I hardly manage to loosely sketch day to day impressions. But it is exactly this loose practise – a process of memorising and (in a way) self-exposing, and even more: the act of doing so in other places, which is very helpful when it comes to expanding your own horizon, and your own capabilities.
The eye for whatever is in front of you, whatever catches your interest, wants to be trained: the process of understanding sites, things, beings, proportions, light situations, textures, structures, colours, and everything else that comes to mind in this regard. In short: the process of capturing and transferring of what is in front of you onto paper. Whether other people are peeking over your shoulder while doing so – with or without commenting on your work, whether it’s hot or cold or whether you are being properly showered by the lovely water of a Venetian canal unexpectedly (the water is salty in case you wanna know…).
But one can of course also choose a lovely sunny day in a secure spot. It’s certainly more convenient, reduces the stress-level, and enables you to work in a more focused manner on your project. 🙂
Travelling somewhere on one’s own is quite helpful for the purpose of looking at and creating art in a rather undisturbed fashion. The act of following your own interests and rhythms makes it a very personal journey in every regard, and that is, naturally, important for your work as an artist.
There are many things I love about Venice: the absence of cars, light and air, its history, its position in the Lagoon, its feminine character, its structure, architecture, and enormous amount of art treasures – just to name a few. The fact that everything is basically within walking distance (or reachable by boat if necessary), is very helpful if one wishes to have a daily art-programme: one can explore the built environment from the outside and inside, and do the sketching “along the way”. All in all, I’ve spent around 10 to 15 minutes for sketching with a fine liner per detail. Only in one case I sat for about two hours in a Café next to a canal. During the evenings, back at the hotel, I added watercolour to the sketches.
Back in Vienna all of the travel impressions slowly merged into something new.
Even though I have spent some time in the Czech Republic over the years, I’ve never managed to visit Prague. So this year, it turned out to be a wish fulfilled for two artists in one sweep. And that despite all the odds: two complex time tables, missing the first train to Prague from Vienna Main Station (shame on me 🙂 ), and trying to check in without a passport (shame not on me 🙂 ).
Due to travelling and exploring the city together, as well as due to the winterly weather conditions, the Prague Sketches had to be done in less time, and the colouring took place on the train ride back to Vienna.
Back in town, and a few days later, the impressions gathered in Prague merged yet again into something new.