Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Paraty before the Symposium

Paraty! How do I describe Paraty?

It's this enchanting small town with a very unique historical centre with its windows and doors painted in bright colours and its streets paved with big rocks that prevent you from walking around admiring the beautiful scenery, unless you want to fall or sprain an ankle.

It's a place where the water floods certain streets at high tide and you either have to wait for it to retreat or get your feet wet to cross.

And during the 5th International Urban Sketching Symposium this year, it was a place invaded by sketchers from all over the world at every corner.

I spent the day exploring the city a little bit, sketching, meeting other sketchers. some of them I knew from last year's symposium. The city being so small, it gave me an even stronger sense of belonging to a community of like-minded people and friends.

As I sat making this drawing, at least four people came and introduced themselves as being participants to the Symposium. I even met, Nelson Paciencia, a Portuguese sketcher whose blog I follow.

Paraty - Praça da Matriz
The quiet before the symposium storm
It's a strange and wonderful feeling to casually meet people you sort of know through their online work and who sort of recognize you from a comment you left on their blog.

In a place like Paraty, you only need to turn your head to see a sketchworthy scene. Which is what happened with this next drawing.

I tried to channel my inner Inma Serrano. I love her work and, as a Brazilian sketcher I met used to say: "When I grow up I want to be like her".

Paraty - Praça da Matriz
Still a lot to learn, but this was fun!
Less is more, that's what my room mate, Delphine Priollaud-Stoclet, kept telling me. It was also the theme of the activity she prepared for the symposium. So I tried to apply this principle to this next drawing. I think it could benefit from a bit of colour, though.

Using negative space
We had lunch at a restaurant called O Arpeador, if I remember correctly. A very tasty dish called moqueca, with fish and shrimp. There was a singer practising her number, so we were able to enjoy some lovely music as well.

Lunch at o Arpeador, Paraty
Lovely Brazilian music
This was also the place where I met Zeta, a fellow sketcher from Luxembourg! Of all places for me to meet someone from Luxembourg, Paraty was probably the most unlikely and therefore the most likely place for that to happen.

It went something like this:

A woman walks into the restaurant, obviously a sketcher. She tentatively asks if we were also sketchers participating to the symposium.

Delphine and I go: "Why, yes, indeed, we are! Come join us!"

I ask her: "Where are you from?"

Zeta: "From Luxembourg."


And the rest is history.

Serendipity, my dears. Serendipity.

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