uskporto2018: Lisbon Part 3

August 22, 2018 | 3 Comments

After the intensely social sketching I had done in my first four days in Lisbon, I woke up on the Firday morning to the realisation that I had nothing planned! Although most of the sketchers I had hung out with in the previous days had now left, there were still a few around. And of course there are lots of local USKers in Lisbon as well.

I could have found someone to sketch with, but what I really needed was some solo time. So I headed to Alfama, the oldest part of the city full of hairpin roads and narrow staircases. I didn’t get to this part of town in 2011 so it was great to be in a new area.

One of the most iconic views in Alfama is this one from an outside cafe at Miradouro De Santa Luzia. If you are wondering, I started painting the red roofs first and then added line over the top later on.

Coffee and a panoramic sketch – what a nice way to start a solo sketching day. (I was wondering if it would stay solo – would I run into another sketcher?)

There were lots of nice vistas but at the streets, pavements (sidewalks), passages were all so narrow, it was hard to find a safe spot to stop and sketch standing up. SO this was just a quick ink sketch with some tone added with my Ecoline Watercolour marker.

I ended up at another lookout – Miradouro Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen. This time I worked in paint only and mainly focused on the castle and the bridge. The view was much wider than this.

I stopped and sketched this little courtyard and then while I was having lunch a local ‘grandma’ was trying to sell some of her own Ginjinha – shouting out loudly whenever someone walked past.

After lunch I found a shady bench outside the Se – Cathedral – and amazingly at a time where there were not many tuk-tuks around. I had a nice chat with some of the drivers who gave me tips on the best cakes to eat! (Just for the record, I didn’t track any of them down!)

Here is the full spread showing the last three images.

I then went in search of a good tourist map as the general maps were terrible and impossible to read and then I ended up at another Miradouro – this one was Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara. The edge was fenced off so I sat back and drew a bit more of the context. This is my favourite view of the city.

And as I was leaving I ran into a USKer – Anabela one of the volunteers. (It would have been a miracle if I had gone all day alone!)

We went to a local park for a sketch while I sorted out which of the three dinner offers I would take up.

In the end I had a wonderful dinner with Gail Wong and her husband John. I chat to Gail every year but I don’t think that we have had as good a catchup as we did this night. It was a sketch-free dinner even though I did pull my sketchbook and put it on the table.


In the morning I had an hour long skype call (work related) so I did another Mantegiara visit. This photo shows the gift they gave me on my last morning – a cracked espresso cup!

I then had a morning to myself and ended up going into the museum of the ruins S. Maria Do Carmo church – it was gorgeous and quiet. It was nice to slow my pace down a little.

At some point during the day I got another icecream – this was a part of my Portugal adventures which I didn’t sketch. Notice the gorgeous pavement pattern below.

I wanted to go back and do another sketch of Arco da Rua Augusta – if you haven’t realised it’s the SOH of Lisbon. (See here for an explanation of SOH.)

I then headed back to Alfama to meet up with Gail and John who were at the castle. After having another great chat to Gail sitting on a table under the trees, I had about 40 minutes towalk about and do some sketches. What? That’s crazy!

Yep! I went into obsessive quick sketching mode and this is what I achieved….

… three very loose sketches. I wish I had had a little more time here.

And then just before we had to leave, I put down the first wash for this sketch of the view from the table where Gail and I were chatting earlier.

We then had dinner with Amber and Daniel who had just arrived in Lisbon. This is the view from the table, done while waiting for our seafood meals.

Such a great night!


I had less that two hours to go out for a little sketching. I wanted to sketch the view from the top of the elevator Santa Justa (see here for my sketches of it) but it wasn’t open yet.

So I ended up back at Praca do Commerico! Just love this space so much, so I spent the rest of my time here recording different aspects of it.

Another version of the Arch!

And then a few quick sketches of different parts of the square.

My final sketch in Portugal was this, just as I walked through the arch for the last time.

I had such an incredible time in Lisbon and I was really pleased that I managed a few quieter days towards the end. A huge thanks to everyone with whom I hung out during the week. It was a great way to finish up my epic European adventure.

Well, that is it for my articles on my big trip – with the exception of my ‘Reflections’ which I will try and share in a few days’ time. It was such an amazing trip and I’m so happy that you came along with me.



  • Ann Fortenberry says:

    I’m Loving this series, Liz, just as I did Porto–but you were busy teaching at Porto so we missed out on on some of the work.

    • Liz Steel says:

      thanks Ann – yes, it was hard to sketch in Porto even though I got there early. While Lisbon was all sketching. Sadly this is the last report of my travels. Just got to wrap it up now!

  • Liz, thank you for sharing your sketches and your love for Lisbon with us. I enjoy seeing the different approaches you use for the sketches. I especially like seeing your quick sketches and the direct watercolor ones. I hope your trip home went well.

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