Porto: Part II


And then the much anticipated Urban Sketchers Symposium 2018 began with registration at 11am. The event had somehow grown to 800 sketchers from around the world (500 the past two years I attended) and they all seemed to converge at once on the Alfondega or “hub”. Here’s what happened to me. . .



And so the Symposium started for me “taking shelter” on the littered steps across the street where some ebullient Brits were sketching and chatting. And I guess you can tell by the sketch that I was ready for some fun.


And later, while a long row of experienced sketchers from around the world were doing the entire skyline of colorful edifices on the hill, I picked out one spot on the hill to do a quick study. A rousing opening ceremony closed out the day.

Workshops started the next day and I had signed up for a full schedule of four workshops and a demonstration over the three days.


L.K. Bing, architect and master painter from Indonesia was teaching my first workshop Dramatic Atmosphere in Black and White. We climbed the hill to a spot with the street view he wanted to capture, waited until we could find a spot for 15 of us to congregate on the street without blocking any doors. Then the delivery trucks started arriving and we kept squeezing over to avoid toes getting run over. (Urban sketcher workshops are always great adventures!)

We started out with the little cards he gave us, sketching the shadow patterns of the scene with water soluble pencil and black watercolor and white, then moved on to a larger piece. The view was partially blocked by the trucks and the wall of tourists who were curious and wanting to take pictures of us. The day was overcast so we were mostly guessing at shadows, but I must say that getting to see this teacher paint with large expressive strokes that captured the drama of street life was worth every minute.

porto4 And here’s my clumsy efforts, with a huge serving of invention!

In the afternoon I attended a demonstration with U.K. teacher Lynda Gray

lynda gray

This is Lynda’s signature style, gorgeous line work that thins out at the edges and delicate, restrained watercolor around the focal point. The result is serene and refined. Watching her slow build up of color was a relaxing break from the mad rush of activity in the city and symposium events.

Next: more workshops