Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Urban Portraits workshops

The beautiful Miradoura de S. Pedro de Alcântara where our workshop was based
Every morning and afternoon, each group gathered at the Faculty of Arts before walking to our designated sketching areas. Isabel and I had the one very furthest away from the school, up long hills on narrow pavements - talk about sketchercise! Our miradoura (viewing point) was magnificent, but tricky for our chosen theme of Urban Portraits - you could not ignore that view - so we asked our students to place their figures in Lisbon, by finding a way to simply indicate the surroundings, contrasting the bulk of the figures with the light and intricacy of the rooftops and details, and to experiment with a different method from their usual - if they always sketched in line, to use brush and wash alone, and if that was their normal medium, to try linework in as many people sketches as possible - showing a folder of sketches by well-known artists of the simple ways these could be used to indicate shape, form, movement and character.
Line drawings by Picasso and Feliks Topolski
Simple shapes describing form and movement by Degas and van Gogh
My introduction was rather bumbling on the first afternoon, a little more confident on the second day and by the third and last, I felt I almost knew what I was doing. Isabel joined in where necessary, adding and embellishing so I think the students had an idea of what we were after. Then off we went in different directions to find our subject matter, Isabel and I doing very quick sketches so we could get round to everyone and talk about what they were doing and any problems they were having. I really enjoyed this one-on-one interaction, and was where the many years of drawing, sketching, art classes, reading etc. finally came fairly effortlessly into action. As Isabel had predicted, the words came, I could see how to help, and hopefully did, for at least a few of the students. With a wide range of levels, from beginners to experts, there were many there that I would like to have taken lessons from!


 The self-imposed pressure to produce 'good' sketches as examples, was slightly daunting, and I was definitely shaky, but everyone else was relaxed and didn't seem to expect masterpieces from me, luckily.
I was most happy with this one of a couple recovering from a night out, probably in Biarro Alto where the revelry carries on all night - they posed like this for a good long while!

9 comments:

Sandra said...

Well done!…you have indeed captured the moment.

Gillian said...

Great to be able to catch a glimpse of your time in Lisbon. Well done on the workshop and the sketching.

RH Carpenter said...

Wonderful slices of life in these sketches! Loved the couple recuperating :)

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

What a wonderful time your students had with such a talented (and modest artist). Loved to have been with you. Gorgeoous colours in your sketches.

Cathy said...

I also love this last one, but also the others, they are full of life, and quite different from what you usually do; the portuguese air did you good ;-)

Cathy said...

Yes Joan is right, the colours are definitely different from the one you use, that must be the reason why I think they look so new!

Vivienne said...

Gorgeous pic of the couple and just a wonderful sense of place, colour and light in all the sketches. What a lovely tutor to have.... lucky participants.

Sue Pownall said...

These are delightful, especially the couple on the bench.

Robyn Sinclair said...

A workshop I'd love to have been able to attend. Great post, Cathy from the examples of how others have dealt with the subject to your own terrific brush sketches. The couple on the bench is a gem.