Friday, August 7, 2009

23rd Sketch Crawl

For the 23rd Sketch Crawl, the Barcelona group decided to set out for Parc Güell. Although this time the group was missing two members, we had the pleasure of sharing the company of two new members, Leslie and Karyn ( Leslie and his girlfriend were on holiday in Europe but we hope to see Karyn for all future crawls). Designed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudi, the park is located high up on the hill offering an amazing panoramic view of Barcelona city. Monica was the star of the day, giving us a guided tour on our way to the park, explaining the architectural history of Barcelona and also the story behind the construction of the park (thanks again!).

Upon arriving at the park, we made our way to the camin del tres creus, thinking it would be best to start of with the most tiring walk first (the park is built on a hill with lots of winding paths). From this point there is a great view of the city and nearby hills. But just like the previous sketchcrawl, we had just started to draw when the first few drops of rain started to fall! We decided to head back down to get some shelter, but of course as soon as we started walking the rain eased off! At that point, Leslie and his girlfriend decided to head down anyway while Monica and I returned to the first spot to finish the drawings we had barely started
(Karyn hadn't arrived yet).

This is a view looking towards the Carmel neighbourhood. These two buildings peep out from behind all the trees and shrubbery that cover the hill.

I spent a while drawing emerging roof tops!!

We headed down towards the central plaza. There we started sketching just to the left of it where there is a passage lined with columns whose external sides are composed of stones piled up to resemble palm trees. Gaudi used the palm tree for inspiration in designing a lot of the park decorations, including the iron gates at the entrance.

These are views from the same point, the first looking right towards the central plaza (which is on a higher level) and the second looking left where the passage curves round.

Once again it started to rain and we took shelter in the passage. This is a sketch of Monica painting and a human-statue in the background. Barcelona has a lot of these artists who stand for hours on end while in disguise. This guy was a caveman complete with enormous rubber feet and staff (he looked a bit fed up and was up and down from his platform during the few minutes we sheltered). The other sketch is of the external side of a column (from the distance they look like palm trees).

We then headed over to the opposite side of the central plaza. It was extremely difficult to concentrate on drawing due to the constant traffic of people passing by (it would be like trying to draw what's on a cinema screen while everyone constantly passes by to take their seat!). This problem and the hunger factor ( it was now 15:30 and we had met at 11:30) meant it was time for a break. By coincidence Karyn got in touch to say she had just arrived. It was funny trying to meet someone for the first time at a crowded spot. We went for some food and had a nice chat about life in Barcelona (neither of the three are originally from here). Batteries recharged, it was time to return to the steps on the right hand side of the central plaza and finish what we had left off (we met Leslie on the way who decided it was time to call it a day). Inspired by Monica's watercolours I thought I'd try to add some colour to my drawing. Having wrapped the paint box and a small bottle of water in plastic bags, the noise I made removing them disturbed Monica more than all the passing crowds! ( a lot of whom were taking photos of her as she painted)

According to Monica the central plaza was intended for performances while below it was a market place. The three of us then bunched up on a bench to draw the roof of one of the two houses at the main entrance. When most people see this building they think of the candy house in the Hansel and Grethel story. While sketching we realised there was a girl on a bench facing us who was also drawing.

It was a great day spent in great company. Although I did feel like I was committing a sin doing black and white drawings in such a colourful park! There were other spots in the park we didn't get to see so maybe we could repeat the location for a future sketch crawl, that way Eclecticbox and Lapin won't have missed out.

Anyone that comes to Barcelona shouldn't go home without having visited Parc Güell!

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