Saturday July 21st was the last day of the whirlwind Urban Sketchers Symposium 2018. After the morning workshop with Marion Rivolier (yesterday’s post) the 800 attendees were invited to the “Big Sketch” final sketchwalk and group photo in a long central promenade area up on the hill which ended in the grand city hall.
This young woman with her sketch board and symposium pass was perfect to tell the story.
But first I started with a warm up sketch in direct watercolor to overcome my nervousness about the busy open space with so many curious onlookers and experienced artists. I was happy with the girl with no face, painted in only shadow shapes, before I got all involved with the cherub statue and decided I better move on!
It was time then for the group photo on the steps of the City Hall. Can you see me waving? Ha ha!
Next we walked back to the river to the Alfondega or symposium Hub for the Silent Auction of the spectacular work done by Urban Sketchers in Porto. This was followed by the raffle drawing of prizes from generous sponsors. Then the buildup to the big announcement that next year’s Symposium (drum roll here) in Amsterdam!
With all the socializing activities and workshops during the event I was starved to just wander and sketch with no time limit. So the following morning I set off alone.
The tourists don’t get up early, so it was possible for a while to wander without the crowds and sip coffee with the excellent views of the river.
Walking to the other side of the bridge on the lower level I found a spot in the shade with my back to the bridge wall. It was midday and the day’s activity was beginning in earnest. A young man was donning a wet suit, and later returned to strip it off with an appreciative audience of girls. So I wrote this tidbit on my sketch (never write until later!) He and his friends then expressed some interest in what I was doing and I was able to ask
Q: Why the wetsuit?
A: To jump off the lower bridge span into the river! (the upper span is for suicides I learned)
When the group came over to look closer, I covered my writing with my hand and had to keep it there while one of the girls, an art student sat beside me to watch me paint!
Then a street musician/artist stopped by and chatted with me for a while and explained that the deafening roar of motorcycles which was increasing with each moment was related to another kind of symposium happening that weekend, a motorcycle rally!
Back across the bridge again I caught sight of this edifice sheltered in the armpit of the upper bridge span.
Oh how I will miss the urban character of Porto! I heard that someone suggested we have the annual symposium in Porto every year!
On the last Porto day exhaustion finally took over. But we agreed we couldn’t go home without seeing the Atlantic ocean beach. A short cab ride got us there and exhaustion lifted as we breathed the sea air and found a lovely resort to dine and enjoy sun and cool breezes.
I got out my Inktense pencils, pens and marker for the top sketch, though I always end up wondering why I didn’t use watercolor.
The young wait staff were not so busy they couldn’t visit with us and answer questions and enjoy being sketched.
And that’s about it.Well, that’s not quite it. I’m still doing a bit of sketching from my pictures of scenes I had no time to do while there.
The Porto sign was right around the corner from our Yellow House and perfect to stage our farewell (along with a line of tourists from other countries.
Thanks for joining me on the trip! If you came in late, you can scroll down for more sketches of two weeks in Portugal.