Step by Step

::: By Hand and On Foot :::

Category: Drawing (page 2 of 2)

Postcards from the Road

Way back earlier this year, when I was preparing to walk the Via de la Plata in Spain, I was counting my pennies and trying to figure out how I was going to make ends meet. I hit upon the idea of a postcard subscription: people could sign up to receive 2, 5, 7 or 10 postcards – original drawings – of scenes from my journey.

I’ve been back from Spain for six months now, and because of the excitement of the arrival of my new etching press, followed by various festivals and Open Studios, I’m only now really thinking about and processing my pilgrimage.

So here, finally, in sequential order, are the postcards I drew. I am afraid the lighting conditions were not always ideal when I took the pictures of the postcards; I’ve done my best to restore the correct color as much as possible.

Seville: the first waymark, at the cathedral
The first waymark

Seville: a courtyard in the Alcázar
Courtyard of the Alcazar in Seville

Seville: the Giralda
The Giralda, Seville

Seville: the Macarena
The Macarena in Seville

My process often looked like this. A sidewalk cafe and a glass of wine are an aid to inspiration!
The Macarena in Seville

Italica: mosaic from the Roman ruins
Roman mosaic in Italica

Guillena: church
Church in Guillena

Just past Guillena: tower in the midst of fields, early morning
Castle in fields, Guillena

Castilblanco de los Arroyos: view of the town from the albergue
View of Castilblanco from the albergue

Monesterio: I felt the town needed a new stamp for the pilgrim credencial that would reflect the town’s status as the jamon capital of the world (or so it claims).
Proposed pilgrim stamp for Monesterio, the jamon

Real de la Jara: view of the town from the castle. I accidentally left this postcard behind on my bunk when I left the albergue in the morning, and I assumed it was lost. I was very pleased to learn that its intended recipient did indeed receive it, thanks to the good samaritan who found and mailed it.
View of Real de la Jara from the castle

Villafranca de los Barros: this church was diagonally across from the pension
Chapel in Villafranca de los Barros

Torremejia: Roman statues used in the wall as building material
Roman statues used in the wall as building material

Mérida: remains of the Roman aqueduct, Acueducto de los Milagros
Roman aqueduct in Merida

Aljucen: street scene
Quiet street in Aljucen

Alcuescar: odd character carved next to the church door
Odd character from Alcuescar

Alcuescar: statue “La Misericordia” in the monestery, seen from the side
Statue of La Misericordia

Roman bridge, between Alcuescar and Caceres
Roman bridge

Cáceres: couple on a bench in the plaza mayor, with the walls of the old city behind them
Plaza mayor in Caceres

Cáceres: bust of a woman on a building wall in the old city
Aztec woman carved on the wall in Caceres

Casar de Cáceres: storks on the church roof; there were dozens of them
Storks on the church roof at Casar de Caceres

Casar de Cáceres: the waterspouts around the roof of the church were quite entertaining
Waterspout on the church roof, Casar de Caceres

Carcaboso: houses
Houses in Carcaboso

Mailing a batch of postcards!
Mailing a batch of postcards in Carcaboso

Oliva de Plasencia: cat on a stone bench
Cat on a stone bench in Oliva de Plasencia

Caparra: the Roman arch. The Via de la Plata goes right through the arch
The Roman arch at Caparra

Pico de la Dueña: the highest point on the route, with windmills and a cross of Santiago
Windmills and cross at the Pico de la Duena

This marks the end of what I actually walked; I finished walking in Salamanca. I took a bus to Zamora and spent two days exploring that city, where I drew my final postcards.

Mailing postcards in Salamanca:
More postcards wend their way to the USA

Zamora: church on the plaza mayor, opposite my pension
Church on the Plaza Mayor, Zamora

Zamora: statue of penitents
Statue of penitents, Zamora

Zamora: a suit of armor as a weathervane atop church tower
Suit of armor weathervane

Zamora: a very operatic-looking statue of Mary Magdalen
Statue of Mary Magdalen in Zamora

Two Down, Four to Go

I’ve been making prints –linoleum block prints, to be precise– for three years now. I absolutely am in love with the whole process of printmaking: the planning; the puzzling-it-out process of converting images to black and white, or of making a reduction print; the craftsmanship of laying ink on block and pulling an impression. And given that my last printmaking class was over thirty years ago, in college, I’m pretty much self-taught. I’ve learned a lot from online sources, especially the Baren printmaking site and email group, and have also been gratified to find that a lot of what I figured out on my own is standard practice.

But there is so much more to learn! So many printmaking processes! So many nuances of paper, and ink, and press! So this semester I’m taking an etching and intaglio class at Cabrillo College.

I felt like I was going to my first day at school all over again. I bought a notebook, sharpened my pencils, decided what outfit to wear, and studied the bus schedule. Kindergarten at fifty!

Now I’m working on my first homework assignment: six related drawings, any topic, any style or mix of styles, just some theme or idea tying them together. I had hoped to go out hiking and sketching this weekend, but have suffered (along with Sarah-Hope) a return of the flu bug, so have had to stay inside. Still, I chose “trees” as my topic, since I can see a fair number of them from my windows, and have a ton of drawings of them in my sketchbooks and reference photos on my camera’s memory card.

Here are the first two. The idea behind this one is the redwood next door silhouetted against a foggy night sky that’s lit from below by the city lights.
Homework 1: redwood tree and fog

The second one is also of a redwood tree. I took a photo of this on one of my recent walks. I liked how the tree dwarfed its cousin the telephone pole. I’m also looking of late at how human activity bisects the landscape, for instance the grid of lines across the sky caused by telephone wires.
Homework 1: redwood tree and telephone pole

I’ve recognized a lot of my habits in creating these. First of all, I tend to sketch in waterproof magic marker or ink pen; I could not find my good drawing pencils. (I later did, but after doing the pencil drawing. A better, softer pencil would have helped!) Second, I tend not to draw for the sake of drawing, but to take notes for future prints or paintings. It’s fun to just sit down and draw for its own sake.

Now back to the drawing board, literally, to tackle the next four. I think palm trees are calling.

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