Friday, 20 October 2017

USK in oil paint

I like to experiment with new tools and materials. And I like a lot to paint with oil paint.
So I was looking for a way how to combine urban sketching, which is mostly an outdoor activity and is bound to be quick, with oil painting with all its organisational, practical and drying time considerations.
I started painting outside, which I must admit proved to be a special and very challenging physical experience. Moreover it was also a good solution for the health issues involved with terps. But I was bothered by the tedious task of putting up a field easel, organising the paint, etcetera.
Finally this spring I came up with my little on-the-road-studio:

It allows me to go anywhere, make a little painting and bring it home safely while still wet. The first try-outs were a bit awkward - I had to adapt my brushstrokes to the small format, the polyester film responds differently than canvas or board, I am forced to use less terps and to organise my palette differently.
Here are my first clumsy results:
april clouds behind niederanven church

place d'armes

dräi eechelen
transparent kirchberg buildings

As the summer gradually allowed for more outdoor activities I ventured to more and more different places:
luxembourg corniche

place de l'europe

the moselle in remich

a cabin in the woods at kuelbecher haff - painted from my car in a succession of rain showers and sunshine

luxembourg corniche

the moselle river at perl

rain approaching niederanven


Organising the small paintbox was quite a challenge.
Some people even succeed at compressing it even more. Enjoy watching these short Youtube-films: and about "Luc Grateau, portraitiste du métro", who made a paint box out of an old calculator box !

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Experiencing the USk Symposium as a correspondent

Working as a USk Symposium correspondent was one of the most enriching experiences I have had in recent years. I got to experience this event I love in a way that is entirely different from being a participant.

Every evening I came back to my hotel room with a pack of new sketches and memories to share on the international USk blog. I made so many drawings that I hardly know where to begin posting, so I will only share some of my favourite sketches and moments here. You can find all the posts I wrote during the symposium here:

Pre-Symposium meet-up at the Robie House
Day 1: Welcome to America and Happy birthday USk!
Day 2: Happy mistakes, cityscapes made easy, intimate sketches and more
Day 3: A view, protests and colorful shirts
Day 4: Goodbye and see you in...

On registration day, I spent the morning with my two fellow correspondents, Wes Douglas from Chicago and Vincent Desplanche from France. Wes wanted to show us around the city, so we would find our bearings more easily the following days and so we could see some places we might not have the opportunity to go to.

This sketch was made at the Bean, the two gentlemen were focused on the monument and I on them (and Elizabeth Alley in the background).

Registration took place at the Goodman Centre, or the Hub, which was also where we gathered every day for morning announcements. The very first sketch I did there was an attempt at capturing the whole room, which didn't come out anywhere near what I wanted to do. I had a moment of panic and doubt about my ability to fulfill my correspondent tasks momentarily.

I spent that afternoon getting to know some of the local volunteers and documenting what they were doing, which helped me to find my bearings and my correspondent "style". I had been trying to do what I thought was expected of me instead of what I would naturally have done otherwise. 

The Hub was usually pretty calm during the day, but became more lively again in the evenings when the lectures took place. People were sitting everywhere, on the benches, on the floor, on big balls.

I particularly liked to capture moments I find so typical in urban sketching events, like this one where Mike Daikubara was sketching Cal, one of the volunteers, while I was sketching them and I'm pretty sure I saw someone sketching me as well.

Being a correspondent also meant running around a lot to catch as many workshops as possible. Wes, Vincent and I had 36 worshops to document, which meant an average of one per hour for each of us. The challenging part was to get from one location to another, specially when instructors decided to change locations. However, it was always worth the effort, given that each one of them had something interesting to teach. I got to catch glimpses of more workshops that I would have otherwise, some of which I would probably not have chosen to attend in the first place.

I made this sketch during Asnee Tasna's workshop, which was about sketching the cityscape with flat pointed pencils. I didn't have any with me, so Asnee was kind enough to give me one of his, teasing me that I should be careful not to hurt myself with the sharp tip. Cheeky guy, I loved him!

Here's another sketch from one of the workshops, this time João Catarino's. I only arrived at the end of the session, so I didn't hear what it was about in detail, I only know it was about capturing reflections in windows. I loved João's enthusiasm during the show and tell. He had this huge smile on his face and kept gesturing with glee.

Being a correspondent also meant being on my own a lot. Nobody else had the same schedule and I was left pretty much to my own devices. Which also meant that I could take the time to capture some unexpected events, like this protest held by hot dog vendors on a double decker bus in front of ABC News TV station. I love the unexpected, specially when I get to see grown men dressed as mustard dispensers and hot dogs.

In the evenings I often had dinner with different people, usually the ones I had just been hanging out with. They were quiet moments around dinner or a few drinks, great after a whole day of running around. I like this sketch because it shows two people, Lapin and Josiah, who had been admiring each other's work online for years and finally got to meet in person. And how about the fact that they were both wearing flowery shirts? These guys were meant to be friends.

To finish this post, here are two of my very last symposium sketches. After the announcement of Porto as next year's symposium host, and the many goodbyes at the Hub, the Portuguese crowd and a bunch of other sketchers went to the 2Twenty2 bar to celebrate. We played Jenga and sketched (what else?) until the bar closed.

We laughed, made plans for next year which we are not sure we can keep, and said our last goodbyes, knowing we would meet again to sketch together somewhere else in the world.

Monday, 28 August 2017

September Sketchcrawl

Hello dear sketchers,

The Schueberfouer is back on the Glacis parking like every year, so we will go sketch fairground people, visitors and the various amusements.

Gromperekichelcher and other treats will keep us going in our drawing.

Let's meet in front of the ferris wheel at 14.00 on Sunday 3 September 2016.

See you on Sunday!

Thursday, 17 August 2017

A travers les yeux de Monika...

Monika, membre actif et enthousiaste des USK Luxembourg, nous a envoyé quelques photos de ses dessins faits pendant nos rencontres des derniers mois.
Voilà ses impressions du Luxembourg dans des traits et des couleurs délicats et sensibles:

place clairefontaine, février 2017

pont adolphe, février 2017

pont adolphe, février 2017

rotondes, mars 2017

neumünster, avril 2017

au plateau, avril 2017

bonnevoie, juin 2017

pfaffenthal, juin 2017

belval, juillet 2017

belval, juillet 2017

luxembourg gare, juin 2016

Sunday, 13 August 2017

The big CFL hall in Bonnevoie is being demolished...

While sketching we are also witnessing of what has been and what won't remain... Our sketches might be precious documentations.
Places and buildings are changing. One of the USK mission is also to document these changes in our neighborood.
If you know of that kind of changes and if you are interested in archivist work, please do not hesitate to propose a special action or a location for one of the next USK sketchcrawl!

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

August sketchcrawl @ the moselle river bank

It was a beautiful sunny August afternoon...
The Luxembourg sketchers - some sketchers had not left on holiday like all the Luxemburgers do in August - met on the German side of the Moselle, where we had a view of the so-called blue bridge and Remich.
We missed our 'chief', Beliza, still touring the States and enjoying the post-symposium-leisure after her tiring but excellent job as a correspondent for the 8th USK symposium in Chicago. Here the link to her posts. I also had the pleasure to participate in this wonderful event and will report back to you later!
But now back to the Moselle:

the sketchers sketched

a first round of sketches...and feet
time for some stretching

the 'Iris' is an old acquaintance at our august sketchcrawls

still life with hat

Here are my own interpretations of the blue bridge and the opposite river bank.

a well earned drink & draw at the Rothaus - and a very young participant

Monday, 7 August 2017

USK Luxembourg Sketchcrawl Remich 06/08/2017

USK Luxembourg Sketchcrawl a Remich "La Perle de la Moselle" le 06/08/2017, carrefour Luxembourg-France-Allemagne, nous nous sommes installés à Nennig du côté Allemand...juste en face !

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Festival des Cabanes 2017

Camp Base du "Festival des Cabanes 2017 - Out of the Box" a Kirchberg-Luxembourg le 13/07/17.
Visite rapide aux participants du festival pour ce premier jour de montage, un sketch s'impose pour remercier le Staff, du déjeuner en leur compagnie!