How many times when you are travelling, do you come across a scene like this, a scene that you would love to sketch, but it seems too hard and you are not sure how to go about it. To make matters worse, you are travelling with other people who are not sketchers and they only want to spend a little time in the town. Is there a way you could sketch something in around 30 minutes that would adequately record this view? Or is there an approach that you could use so that you at least start the sketch?
This is the stunning town of Bassano del Grappa on the Brenta river with the gorgeous timber bridge designed by Palladio. And it’s one of the destinations on the Palladian Odyssey Tour.
The big goal of the tour is to equip the partipants with some specific travel sketching strategies so that they can tackle a scene like this.
Here are three versions of this scene which I have done – the first was during our ‘reccy’ tour in 2016 to plan the Palladian Odyssey and the other two were my demos during the afternoon workshops on the banks of the Brenta during the PO Tours in 2017. All were done in around the 30-45 minute mark (the demos might have taken a little longer because I was talking at the same time).
The secret is to simplify and in all three sketches I put down some general watercolour washes early on in the sketch. For those who have done SketchingNow Foundations, this is an advanced application of my Abstracting Shapes approach, using a few lines initially to help with the shapes.
There are lots of different ways you could apprach sketching this scene, so just for comparison, here is a fourth version (done in 2016) using a ‘feeling edges’ approach. This version would have taken me less than 10 minutes to complete!
Just for the record, the afternoon sketching was a few hours in lenght, so participants on the tour did not need to complete their sketch in 30 minutes! I certainly don’t want to pressure people into working faster than they are comfortable with. But my hope is that with a few of my sketching traveling techniques in their head, they will find it easier to tackle complex scenes in a limited time frame. Isn’t that what travel sketching is all about?
With all my travel this year (3 big overseas trips in 5 months) I haven’t had a chance to describe all the exciting things we did on the Palladian Odyssey Tours in May this year. So I am planning over the next few weeks to finally get around to scanning my sketches and sharing some of the concepts.
I’m so excited that we are able to run the Palladian Odyssey tours for the second time in May 2018. There are still spots available for two tour dates in May so please go to the website for more details.
So… would you sketch this scene in 30 minutes, and how would you approach it?