Brazil Trip: Sao Paulo Day 1

September 16, 2014 | Leave your thoughts

Well it is time to start the daily reports from my Brazil trip and well Day 1 was one of the most ‘full on’ first days I have ever had.
My great friends Marc and Laurel Holmes had arrived the day before and were rearing to go. So I met them for breakfast at 7am and we went straight into Centro and started sketching. Please note that I had just had a 36 hour Thursday and hadn’t switched off my lights till after 11pm. Give yourself no chance to even think about jetlag is what I believe!

I have had the great priviledge of hanging out with Marc and Laurel at the last few symposiums. After Lisbon we had a full day together in Belem… so sketching together non stop is called a “Belem Day’ for us. We both love sketching complex buildings and in previous years Marc has liked a good period of time to set up the easel and do a ‘serious painting’.
But not these days – he was working with his lightweight kit, standing up, working straight to shapes and well we were taking the same time to complete our sketches.
Our first warmup sketch was this delightful but highly complex building just down the street from Sao Bento- the big monastery which we had intended to sketch but the lighting was no good.

There is nothing like been thrown in the deep end… sketching in a foreign country with no feeling for how busy or safe a place is, sketching and painting standing up (something I rarely do) being slightly sleep deprived and somewhat out of touch (did you read the comment on my Auckland airport sketch that I had been drawing too many teacups lately and out of practice for complex scenes?)
I love this photo of the two of us squinting!

Next we went up to a tower for a view of the city. I had no idea about Sao Paulo as a city so this was great to give me a feel for the vastness of this city and the extent of concrete.  (BTW I love concrete!)
We are squinting because of the sun this time… we only had 15 minutes up the top… it looks like Marc tried to do a quick sketch? No I think he was touching up the darks of his first sketch.

Roaming the streets – SO many highly decorative and very sketchable buildings. I am liking the feel of this place a lot!


Next we found a busy intersection with a great collection of wonderful buildings and I sat down on the ground this time. There was a collection of homeless men in the area as well… so I would never normally sit in this location to sketch – but I felt safe sitting next to Marc and Laurel is always roaming around keeping an eye on things for us. The first sketch I did ink first (traditional way) and felt like I lost my highlights ….

 so the second sketch of Pateo do Collegio – I went straight to shape first. Ah! was feeling like I was warming up …but still a little anxious about the surroundings and people everywhere.

 Next stop was the main Cathedral. The plaza da Se was crazy – people everywhere and police… an excitable man shouting with a crowd around him…and lots of people stopped to talk to us  – Marc kindly did the talking and I tried to focus on sketching this complex cathedral. I  started with a few details first (thinking about my symposium workshop already) ….

 …Before tackling an overall sketch. Some crazy woman came and stood in front of me shouting (in Portuguese of course) at the top of her voice. I just ignored her and the crowd around us told her to move on… sigh! very crazy surroundings to sketch.

We grabbed some takeaway food – I fell in a ditch and injured my knee(not that you really need to know that but it adds to the activities of the day) and then we sat in the full sun and sketched the Thearto in 20 minutes- well 20 minutes less an animated broken conversation with a passionate man walking past – something about special it was to see us drawing from the heart rather than just taking photos? You can imagine the hand gestures since he had little English and I have no Portuguese!
Welcome to Brazil!

If you are getting the feeling that this was a non stop day… it was – hold on it was only 2pm!

Next we jumped back on the subway and headed for an art store close to where we were staying (the upper class Jardins area) to meet up with the wonderful Fernanda (one of the organisers of the symposium) and her sketching workshop.

 Sat and talked and then did a quick sketch…


Then it was time for some food so we went to the very nice Benjamin Abrahao patisserie – meeting up with my friend Claudia (Brazilian but lives in Sydney) and Xing (Singapore UK- who was giving a talk at the symposium)
 And yes I sketched my food…and my first suco! (juice) oh – and tea and cake.

Ok…so much for day 1! What a day!

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