An afternoon in the garden

Today we ventured out to the botanical gardens , up in the Montjuic area. It was a rather hefty walk from our apartment to the gardens (looking back, we probably should have just gotten a cab) so by the time we arrived, Dan and I were quite happy to post up on a bench while I sketched and he took in the scenery. The sun was shining, the air was crisp and as we were one of the few people in the park — it made for an extremely peaceful afternoon.

The park itself is pretty great. It is divided into geographic sections devoted to particular region of flora and was teeming with some really interesting specimens. I’ve been to a fair amount of botanical exhibits (it is kinda my job…) and I was impressed at how many plants they had that I had never seen before. Also birds. There were lots of the little animated green Quaker Parakeets putting on shows and squawking with their friends.

How great are these guys?? They look like colorful bottle brushes, or some type of alien q-tip.
When we arrived back home (after a siesta of course), I decided to clean up and ink over a few of the sketches in my moleskine. Much to my frustration I somehow managed to lose my trusty xs faber-castell pen while we were in Venice, so the lines are a bit thicker than I would have liked.

I may see if the local art store carries a similar pen, I really prefer my lines as thin as possible when doing work like this. And it will give me a chance to stock up on a bit more watercolor paper before heading back to the states. I’m pretty sure my bag is going to be painfully close on the weight limit for our flight… but how can I pass up afforable Arches paper???
That’s right, I can’t.
I can however throw out some shoes…

Doing What You Love.

I wandered around La Boqueria for a good while yesterday afternoon. With only a week left of our adventure – I needed to doubledown on my effort to find souvenirs for our friends and family. Granted, none of the stuff at the market is exactly TSA approved, it was still a wonder to behold. Flowers, nuts, fruits, candies, meats and *very* fresh fish (still bubbling at the mouth…) and people crowding each stand, handing bags of purchased goods over hands reaching with euros. It was a fairly chaotic exchange but thoroughly entertaining.

This morning I felt like playing around in my new pink pantone moleskine (Which I am adoring. The subtle white dots on the page are sort of my favorite thing ever.) With the foliage from the previous day still whirling about my mind I set to draw out a phrase that’s also been circling back in there. A good way to start off a day of work :)

See the dots? Aren’t they great?

Aaaand a gratuitous shot of the new sketchbook and compass, because they rock my socks right now.

The Most Delicious of Subjects

While exploring Barcelona today I stumbled upon one of my favorite things ever.


It took a good amount of willpower, but I managed to get the tasty bits home, photographed and even sketched before eating them. If that’s not artistic dedication, then I don’t know what is.

I made a few studies of the individual cookies, but decided to focus on a poster-sized watercolor instead.

The paper needs a good pressing after the water-heavy washes, but I’ll do that when I’m back in Miami in my studio. Until then, I may just have to go back to the little shop and get more macarons. You know, for research 😉

Early Morning Calligraphy

Barcelona gets up early and I love it.

There are few things as comforting to me as waking up hearing pots and pans being readied for breakfast. Our neighbors typically start their preparations around 6:45, sending delightful scents of coffee and eggs wafting through the courtyard and into our open windows. (The walls in this old building are extraordinarily thin, so every noise above a normal speaking tone carries pretty much throughout the whole place.) It is a lovely, slow way to wake up.

Eventually the smells will make me hungry enough to shed my covers and walk to the kitchen right around the time the kids start filtering into the school across the street.

It is loud, it is bright, it is early and I cannot get enough of it.

This morning was no different. I made my tea, grabbed my new sketchbook (finally bit the bullet and purchased a pantone moleskine!) and started to draw swirls, curves, anything to wake my sleepy brain. This morphed into lettering and from there I made an attempt at a calligraphic alphabet.

I’ve never had a lot of patience for lettering, but this morning it was different. In sunlit stillness I treasured the swirls and strokes of each figure, giving each letter time and breath. And now I’m hooked. It felt like yoga, a process of repetition, a meditation.

And just when I was happy with it, I wrinkled the page. Of course.
I know my shaky littler letters have a long way to go, but it was wonderful to try something new :)