Life Drawing in Munich

Day 53, Thursday, October 17, 2019

I had a relaxing day at our Munich Airbnb and Bob spent the better part of the day sorting out the transit system and where to get tickets.   I went to life drawing in the evening.  The session was at an artist’s apartment, which was really more of a studio than an apartment.  Everyone was very nice and made me feel very welcome.

Here are some photos that were posted on the Meetup page for the session.  Maurice is the artist who hosted the event.  That is him in the centre of the photo.
Here is our model, Bettina, she is very pregnant.  How wonderful!  It has been ages since I have had the chance to draw a pregnant model so this was an unexpected bonus. The drawing on the left is mine. I did a couple sketches to warm up. Then spent about two hours working on this drawing. Bob came to pick me up after the session and on the metro ride home I did a bit more sketching.
This was interesting, the older man with the facial hair was sitting right across the aisle from me and he was only on the metro for one stop so I sketched quickly hoped he didn’t notice that I was sneaking peeks at him. The young man with glasses did notice I was drawing him and he smiled at me, I smiled back and he tried not to smile as I continued sketching.  As he got up to leave I showed him the sketch and he said something in German, then he smiled and said ciao, so I think he liked it.

 

Day 54, Friday, October 18, 2019

We both had a relaxing quiet day.  It is nice to have some down time after seven weeks of holidays.  The big event of the day was going for a little walk to get some groceries.

Hörsching, Austria

Day 42, Sunday, October 6, 2019

This is our Airbnb in Hörsching, Austria.  After a lovely lazy morning Bob goes for a bike ride on a very old but still serviceable bike.  Our bnb has a lovely wild flower garden out front and there was a little bouquet of the pink roses on our table inside. The green door leads into an entry area, and the three smaller windows are in our apartment. The inside view of the two windows by the green door.  I think the shutters must be original.  The building is 400 years old and our apartment was originally a stable. This is the door opposite the green door, looking out to the back yard. The two big windows of our apartment from the back yard. The farm buildings are connected to the house.  The buildings form a square with the interior yard area you see here.  There is a short fence with a wide gate on one side of this yard.
Everywhere I look there is something interesting. I did get a bit of a shock meeting this fellow in one of the barns. There is a little sitting area if it gets warm enough for us to enjoy it. I spent the afternoon with my three new friends.  It took a while for them to get used to me, but they love bread!  A few slices helped convince them that I was pretty harmless. I spent a couple hours observing, drawing and taking lots of reference pictures.  These sheep do not have wool that is useful for spinning.  The fibres are too short, so they are raised for their meat.  I had never seen sheep with undocked tails before.  I had no ideas their tails were so long.  At times they looked quite dog like.  They are also very fidgety models! When Bob gets back from his ride he makes friends with this fellow but the other two want nothing to do with him.  This sheep is nine months old and the poor guy doesn’t realize he will be butchered soon. His new buddy follows Bob, hoping for just a bit more bread. Years ago I found an old copy of Henry Moore’s Sheep Sketchbook and I have wanted to draw sheep ever since.  I just had no idea how difficult they would be to sketch.  Seems like my idea of what a sheep should look like just isn’t what these sheep actually look like!

Life Drawing, Prague

Day 31, Wednesday,  September 25, 2019

Our Prague Airbnb is really spacious and close to the old town and the metro.  This is the view out our window.
Bob notices the neighbourhood pigeons roosting on the roof across from us.  We have a quiet day settling in to our new place.  It feels so roomy after the tiny little apartment we had in Dresden.  I found a life drawing group that meets tonight from 6:30 to 9:30 and decide I should go.  It is a thirty minute walk to the studio but the address opens up to an inner courtyard with lots of shops and doors.  No idea where I need to go…I ask for directions and finally the fourth person shows me where the atelier is.

We realized that we don’t return our rental car until tomorrow, so while I draw Bob goes to check on our car and then goes exploring until it is time to meet me.  It was a nice group and they made me feel very welcome.

Remember that walk home last night?  Well my drawing session was just a bit past the train station, so it is another long uphill walk home.

The length of the poses is circled on each page.

The Gemäldegalerie, the Kunstgewerbe Museum and Life Drawing.

Day 25, Thursday, September 19, 2019

As we walked to the metro this morning, the interior of this car caught my eye! These workers are laying paving bricks for a huge plaza.  We have not seen poured cement sidewalks or plazas here, they are all made with paving stones.  It seems very labour intensive. The Gemäldegalerie is our first stop today.  This museum is near the Berlin Zoo and has one of the world’s leading collections of European paintings from the 13th to the 18th century. The quality of the artwork here is amazing.  This is the first painting we see, part of an altar from 1437 telling the story of Jesus on the left, and Mary on the right. The white ‘baseboard’ in the photo comes almost mid-thigh on me, to give you an idea of the scale of the works. The corner of one painting from 1444 shows two pregnant women, notice the babies depicted on their stomachs. I had never seen this symbolism before. We both liked the Fountain of Youth by Lucas Cranach, 1546. This is not the style of his work that I am familiar with… this is!  I have always wondered at this artist’s creativity. Wow!! This painting by Rogier van Der Weyen from 1440 is my absolute favourite of everything we have seen so far this trip. I absolutely love it and wish that the photo was able to convey the impact it has in person. I would have bought a print but it was almost $100 and I worried about getting it home safely. This is a painting I could live with forever.

There are so many interesting portraits here that I have never seen before.  Can you tell that I am drawn to portraiture?These two tomb figures, 510, were very endearing.
I am fond of Frans Hals portraits and there was a whole room of them. This artist must like them too.  What a tough way to work though, on a little stool, holding such a large drawing board.  I assume the museum does not allow easels. I am excited to see this Vermeer from across the room, but then.. I notice The Girl with the Pearl Earring.  I had no idea the this painting was in this museum. What a lovely surprise. Anna Dorothea Therbusch, 1721-1782, is one of the few women artists who actually made a living as an artist. This is a self portrait. There are Caravaggio’s here…and Georges de la Tours…
and Botticellis,
including this Botticellis Venus.And there are Rembrandts, including these two famous self portraits. I finally get to see these two tondos in person, the one on the left by Raffael (34″ diameter) and the one on the right by Botticelli (54″ diameter).  I particularly like the Botticelli, his Madonnas are always so beautiful. This was fun!  I am so glad we visited the Gemäldegalerie, it was quite amazing.After a picnic lunch we check out the Kunstgwerbe Museum nearby.  I would love to have this beautiful geometry set from the 16th century. This museum has lots of porcelain, furniture and church treasures, but we walk by all these. It is just too much to absorb. A few items did catch our eye though. This is an elaborate portable kitchen from 1807, maybe used for camping? All the info is in German, so not sure. These glazed porcelain figurines were part of a group of 15 that were awarded a gold medal at the 1900 International Exhibition in Paris.  There was also an exhibit on Afro Hair, with some very different displays. And finally, an interesting walk through women fashions through the ages.

Across the street we stop to see the Berlin Library.  It is enormous!  Probably the biggest I have ever visited. It was tough to get in though. Without a library card I had to get a special pass, and no one is allowed to carry a purse or backpack or other bag.  So everyone puts their stuff in clear plastic bags!  I don’t see the point of that all. So different from home. Oh and do you notice the card catalogues in the bottom photo?  I was surprised to see them. Whew! and we aren’t finished yet. We catch a bus back across town to visit the oldest church in Berlin but the interior has been updated so much.  It wasn’t what we were expecting, but still interesting. For some reason there was a rooster crowing inside the church?  No idea what that was about.We split up, Bob heads to the Bode Museum and I catch the metro to go life drawing.  I pass this post with just a few posters wrapped around it on my way to drawing.

Here are my drawings from tonight.  The first page is two minute poses and the times of the other poses are written on the pages.  This was a pretty full day!

Altes Museum and Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin

Day 23, Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Altes Museum displays treasures of the classical world with Greek, Etruscan and Roman art.

I often forget that the white marble Greek sculptures were originally painted in life-like colours. This fragment of a grave stele retains some of its original colour. We were surprised at the detail of some of the1,300 ancient coins on display. The museum has more than 150,000 coins in its collection! Bob snaps a photo of me sketching… and then notices the shadows behind this bust.  He is getting very ‘artsy’! This Greek vase from 350 BC showing Perseus slaying a sea monster with a sickle is quite different in design than most of the vases we have seen. The rotunda has a huge dome with a round skylight and has an incredible collection of sculptures on both levels. In the next room this rather unusual drinking cup, is titled Hetaera Above the Chamber Pot!
This Funerary Lion just makes me smile…and I love this statue of a mourning female servant from 330 B.C.There is so much to see here, room after room filled with beautiful art. The Torso of an Old Fisherman, from 200 B.C. is an example of Hellenistic sculpture representing ordinary people.
This statue of Aphrodite, 2nd Century B.C., is thought to be one of the most beautiful ancient terracottas in existence. I think this collection of Middle Class Women from 325-150 B.C. is amazing. They were about 8 ” tall and are so detailed.The Girl Playing Astragal, or knucklebone, is likely a funerary sculpture. These 3rd Century A.D.mummy portraits from Roman tombs in Egypt were a surprise. We had never seen anything like them.  They were painted with wax and tempera. Another sculpture filled room.We have seen Boy with a Thorn, or Spinario, several times in our travels…at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, in Rome and in Paris. In Rome we saw the original bronze sculpture that inspired the marble copies,  It is a favourite of mine. This looks like a painting, but it is actually a mosaic!  I held up a pen in the corner for scale so you can see how tiny the mosaics pieces are. This sad little boy was likely on a tomb for a child.

Next is a room with erotic pottery! On a long covered walkway to the next museum we see a wedding photo shoot.  The Alte National Museum in Berlin features Nineteenth Century art with works by famous painters and sculptors. These are a few paintings that caught my eye, all by German painters that I am not familiar with. There were several paintings that are only partly finished.  I found these very interesting, as it is possible to see how the artists approach the painting process. There were some Renoirs, Pissaro’s and Carravagios, as well as Rodin’s The Thinker. This sculpture was so lifelike and the pose was so natural. There is so much to see, and we have been at these two museums for over five hours! This is the Alte National Museum, seen from the covered walkway. As we walk to the bus we pass the Berliner Dom, the largest church in Berlin.  This photo somehow makes me think of Notre Dame in Paris.  I am went drawing tonight at a Meet Up Life Drawing session. Our model, Josephine, was very tall and thin which was challenging to draw. These are two minute poses.

            A two and a five minute pose

A five and ten minute pose.

Ten minute and twenty minute poses.

And finally two twenty minute poses. 

Bob went to visit a German Spy Museum while I was drawing. He saw an Enigma machine and failed a spy aptitude test. I guess he is not James Bond material!  On the way home I capture our reflections in the subway window.
This is something we don’t see at home…taking your IKEA purchase on public transportation!  It has been a long busy day and we are both a bit tired.

Wandering the Streets of Rome and Life Drawing

Day 81, Friday November 24, 2017

It is a nice day for a walk about the streets of Rome. I get my picture taken with this tiny car on the street outside our apartment. It is the smallest car I have ever seen but it sure would be easy to park!

We are surprised at how little traffic we have seen on the streets. I think they limit who can drive in the downtown areas. Evening rush hour is busy but the rest of the day not so much.We have tea in Nuovo Piazza. This square used to have chariot races around its perimeter. From 1652 until 1866, when the floor of the square was raised, it was flooded every Saturday and Sunday in August. The fountains would be plugged so that they wouldn’t drain and the square would become a lake!  I try to imagine the scene, with people boating and bathing and children playing in the water.There is a group of musicians who kindly provide us with musical accompaniment.A detail of the Fontana del Moro at the south end of the square.I am going to a life drawing session tonight so we go to check out where it is located. The studio  is only a couple of blocks from the Piazza Navona. There is a little studio with beautiful watercolours of orchids on the way…and several basket and chair makers on the same street as the studio…along with a great little book store. I love European bookstores, they are usually small, crowded, and piled with books on every available surface. Just what I think a bookshop should look like.We found the studio, I think we might have had trouble locating it in the dark later, so I am glad to know where I need to go tonight. Heading back to Navona Piazza I peek down the side streets. I wish there was enough time to explore them all.

There are people trying to make money whatever way they can.The Fountain of Neptune is at the northern end of the square.I really like this little fellow and his spouting fish on Neptune’s Fountain.

Buildings come in all sorts of interesting shapes and sizes in Rome.Tthis one appears to be right in the middle of the street!We wander about window shopping and see this robotic sculpture who waves his arms and blinks his shining eyes.An interior decorating shop, a store that sells Bonsai trees, another that sells Oriental furniture and one of the many antique shops along the streets we walked. We never know what we might see down a side street. It is a bit of sensory overload at times.We turn the corner by the elementary school and this is what we see: the Tiber River with St. Peter’s in the background.We cross the Ponte San Angelo…walking towards the Castel San Angelo, which is now a museum. There was or maybe still is a secret tunnel that connects the Vatican to this fort so that in times of danger the Pope could escape and hide here.What would Rome be without gladiators?
We head towards St. Peter’s hoping that we might have another visit to see the inside in the daytime.I have no idea how these olive trees manage to grow in pots, even though they are big pots. I wonder if they need their roots trimmed, like bonsai.We have seen quite a few people begging on the streets, but this person was by far the strangest looking.  I have no idea if this is a way of getting sympathy or if it is really the day to day garb of this individual. 

A Christmas tree is being decorated at St. Peter’s square. The line ups to get into the Basilica are very long so we decide to try to visit another day. This is just one of the benefits of spending more than a couple days in a city. We don’t have to try to cram everything into just a few days.
I think these columns are magnificent. There are 284 columns and 88 pilasters (half columns) that flank the square in a colonnade of four rows. Above the columns there are 140 statues created in 1670 by the disciples of Bernini. St. Peters square is one of the largest and most beautiful squares in the world. 

After a rest and supper at home we take the bus back to my life drawing session. While I draw for two hours Bob found a reception at a gallery that he ‘crashed’ and he enjoyed some wine and goodies.

I had a great time drawing.

30 second and 1 minute posesEveryone was welcoming and the model was fantastic. I did all right, some not so bad and some not so good drawings. It has been a while since I have attended life sessions. It isn’t like I forget how to draw but it takes a while to get the facility back.

2 minute and 5 minute poses

I really appreciate the drop in sessions offered at home. Sessions are $8.00 for 3 hours. Here at La Porta Blu art School it was €15.00, or about $22.00 Canadian for two hours, which is about what I was paying when I was in Paris. I did find one other place with drop in life drawing in Rome where but their price was €30.00 and €45.00 for 2 hours! That was just a bit too expensive for me.

2, 5,10 minute and 20 minute posesUnfortunately, the bus we were to take home was very late. We were just about to give up and try walking to the metro, which was a long way away, when our bus finally arrived, just 45 minutes late! We are in Rome after all, and schedules here have a slightly different connotation than they do at home.

 

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La Traviata in St. Paul’s Within the Walls, Rome

Day 78, Tuesday November 21, 2017

We went for a little walk this afternoon and we see this fellow trying to make a few euros by juggling in the street. He didn’t seem to be having much luck so I gave him a small contribution.
We had a quiet day as we were going out tonight to see a performance of La Traviata, accompanied with some ballet in a church built in 1873. St. Paul’s Within the Walls was the first non-Catholic Church to be built inside the walls of Rome. It is an Anglican church that is often used by classical music performers and singers because of its acoustics. We got the ‘cheap seats’ at the back of the church, only €20 each.

I tried taking some photos but it was dark and they are rather blurry.  I took my small sketchbook and sketched during the performance. It was quite dark so not the easiest. The light in our apartment isn’t very good for taking photos so these aren’t the best either. This page also has some drawings from the metro on the way home.There was even live music. We both enjoyed the performance and it wasn’t nearly as cold in the church as we had thought it would be. I brought a blanket to cover my lap but didn’t even need it. Bob says it is a better opera than the one we saw in Barcelona as the heroine only took two hours to die!

Michelangelo’s David

Day 66, Thursday, November 9, 2017

We arrived at the Galleria Dell’Accademia with our tickets for 11:15 and a very kind guard let us in a half hour early.  Our first view of David is pretty wonderful.We walk past Michelangelo’s ‘prisoners’ forever trapped in their unfinished state, on our way to David. There are a lot of people but we take a photo, me and David!

David is even more spectacular than I remember from our visit in 1980, although when we were last here there was no barrier between us and the statue. Of course that was before someone took hammer to David’s left foot!

This 17 foot tall masterpiece is mesmerizing. I sit and draw David. It is still a bit intimidating to sit in public and draw, but people were very kind and very curious about what I was doing. I was aware that there was usually someone standing behind me, watching and taking photos and many people came up to talk to me and ask if it was OK to take a picture. One lady went and got her parents to come meet me and another woman looked at my drawing and said “God Bless You!” Bob wandered off to an exhibit of musical instruments so that I had time to sit and draw. We spend a bit of time going through the rest of the museum. This room full of plaster casts was amazing.There are several more rooms with beautiful iconographic paintings… and a fifteen foot long embroidered altar cloth for the main altar of the Santa Maria Novella Church from 1336. This was the work of one man. I can’t even imagine how long it would take to completely cover such a large cloth in the embroidered stitches.

In the evening I attend a life drawing session at the Florence Academy of Art in the evening. I planned on arriving early to introduce myself and get settled, however our bus was almost 40 minutes late so I arrive about 15 minutes late. That was quite stressful. I decided to ‘christen’ the nice new sketchbook that I bought in Venice.Unfortunately I also had to leave a half hour early because there was going to be a transportation strike starting at 9:00 and it is too far to walk home.  I still enjoyed the session even though I wasn’t all that happy with my drawing.  I met a couple very nice artists, including a woman from Smithers B.C. who was attending a six-week workshop at the Academy. 

Bike Ride

Day 50, Tuesday October 24, 2017

Our Airbnb has bikes so today Bob went for a 34 km bike ride along this river.  It only took him 3 1/2 hours, including his lunch break. Much better time than if I was along for the ride! You can see the mountains way in the distance in this one.I had a much-needed quiet day. I did all our laundry and a bit in my journal. I finally was able to take photos of the finished pages. Usually by the time get home it is too dark to get decent pictures. 
I drew this page in the car on the way to Dubrovnik.When we were in Venice I finally started to draw while I was on the bus or waiting for the vaporettos. I took a hardcover Stillman and Birn Alpha Sketchbook for this trip instead of my own handmade signatures. It is nice having everything already bound in a book but it is much heavier to carry around. The 9″x6″ landscape format is a bit awkward when I draw standing and a bit too big and obvious when I try to draw people without them noticing that I am doing so. I think I will go back to my old system of carrying a signature at a time in a folder and then binding them all together when I get home for any other trips.

I started to draw in a little notebook that is maybe about 3″x5″ and that is working for those times when my bigger book isn’t. I showed the lady in the last drawing her portrait as she walked by on the bus, and she was quite pleased. She told her friends so I held it up for them to see, and lots of other people saw it and were smiling at me about it.  Kind of nice. 
I had a chance to sit and draw the Karaka on location which was fun and challenging.This ‘steam punky’ fish was interesting to draw . I used my favourite Bic pen for this one. I have bits and pieces done on other journal pages, but really I am quite behind. I am trying to draw more on location whenever possible.

Quiet Day in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Day 34, Sunday October 8

Today was a quiet but rather frustrating day. We went out to get groceries and pick up two Dubrovnik Cards that give entrance to most of the sites that we want to see. We couldn’t find the tourist office that we were looking for and the grocery store closed early because it was Independence Day. We went to another grocery store but there was no parking anywhere, so we tried a third one.  Google maps said it was there but do you think we can find it? We decide to go to a smaller grocery store nearby. It is closed too, but we finally see the store we were looking for.

Oh yes, and I spilled my whole mug of tea in the car all over my purse and then a small dish broke in my hand when I was using it! That was enough for me.  I stayed home the rest of the day while Bob went for a walk into town and picked up the Dubrovnik cards.

Here are a few more pages from my travel journal.