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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Urban Sketching Barcelona. Day 11: With Urban Sketchers BCN

Plaça del Duc de Medinaceli with Urban Sketchers Barcelona

October 15, 2016

On Saturday Oct 15, I met with Urban Sketchers Barcelona for the first time, and, as I expected it consisted of mostly the same people from the Meet-up with Inky Fingers last night! After greeting each other and scoping out their favorite spots, everyone settled in sketching. I noticed many of them had these little 3-legged stools so they could choose their positions without having to look for a bench and could sit down with their supplies all around them, no  matter what their vantage point. I hate to admit it but the older I get the less I want to stand for an hour sketching and the more appealing having a portable seat seemed! (To self: buy one when I get back to the states)

We met at a location that was near the Colombus Column by the harbor and I knew pretty much where it was and I was able to walk there from my apartment. It was a beautiful blue sky day, sunny and warm, perfect for sketching on location at Plaça del Duc de Medinaceli...

"… built in 1844, in the shadow of the sea wall, on the site of the former convent of Sant Francesc. The square was designed by Francisco Daniel Molina, who was a municipal architect in Barcelona until 1858 and also planned the Plaça Reial (1858). In the middle of the square stands a monument dedicated to (medieval Catalan) Admiral Galcerán Marquet, which is made of wrought iron, the first time this material was used in the city to make decorative elements on the public thoroughfare. This monument, which has a fountain at its base, is a fine example of architectural design and superb sculpture, and surrounded by 19th-century palm trees. This intervention was carried out within the framework of a widespread process in the city to replace convents with public spaces.

The convent of Sant Francesc was built in the 13th century as a tribute to Saint Francis’s visit to the city and was inaugurated by King Jaume I. (James of  Aragon - pronounced: How-may) The monastery complex stretched from the square as far as La Rambla. The fact that all the monarchs of Aragon (from the 14th to the 16th centuries) swore the constitutions and charters here on their arrival in Barcelona, is proof of the importance of the site. This noteworthy building, which had a large cloister built in the 16th century, was demolished after 1882. Following the demolition of the convent, the Duke of Medinaceli claimed ownership of the site, as the heir of the Catalan noble families who had transferred it to build on, and, with the aim of ingratiating himself with the city, gave over some of the land to build the square." from the website barcelonamovie.com - Pedro Almodovar filmed scenes from "All About my Mother" or "Todo Sobre mi Madre" here. Click here to visit the site. 

I loved the square, palm trees, stately buildings with balconies, a monument. I decided to paint first and add my line drawing over it and it worked out. Palm trees are fun to sketch and I became totally lost in my drawing and was happy with the end result. As we had done last night, everyone gathered for a group photo with their sketchbooks, then scattered - some deciding to have lunch along the waterfront, others off to take care of their Saturday chores I suppose or other commitments. I joined the lunch-going crowd with Melanie and sampled some very fine Catalan cuisine - the special of the day with appetizers, main course, desert and beverage for 17 euros (if memory serves). I had the salad with a seafood entrée - fresh fish caught in local waters beautifully plated and served with a nice white wine and followed up with a delicious chocolate dessert and café.

Knowing this group could sit all the rest of the afternoon over coffee, Melanie whisked me away and took me down to the beach since I admitted that I had not yet been there. While not quite warm enough for swimming I did have to get my feet wet in the Mediterranean and asked her to take my photo. No sooner had I "posed", a wave came in and doused me almost to my knees! I loved it, even though it did take me by surprise! We walked along the beach and through the old neighborhood of Barcoloneta in the  Ciutat Vella (Old town) district. Originally a fisherman's village and at one time seedy and unsafe, especially at night, it's all cleaned up now and quite beautiful. Prior to the 1988 Olympics, all the tacky old stuff was demolished, opening the city up to the sea and now it offers first-classes beaches, restaurants, bars and entertainment that keep the area hopping and filled with tourists and locals alike.

By now I was a good distance away from my apartment and I was getting tired and my throat starting feeling sore signalling the onset of a cold, so I decided to head home, taking a bus instead of walking and fixing myself a light supper at home and falling into bed, exhausted.

Note: Click on photos if they seem cut off, to see the full image

Urban sketching 

Another member of Urban Sketchers

Francesc Munoz , center, of Inky Fingers and Urban Sketchers Barcelona

Teacher, illustrator and sketcher Javier Aguilar 

Rosa, urban sketcher 

 Some Urban Sketchers

Busy sketching

Margot's sketchbook page

Margot Alonso, Barcelona sketcher and architect 

Urban Sketchers Barcelona with me, 3rd from the left

My new friend, Melanie King with fellow sketcher Daniel Pagans 

"Cap de Barcelona" (Barcelona's Face) by Roy Lichtenstein 

A Square in Barceloneta  

Bar along the boardwalk, Barceloneta beach 

Sculpture "The Wounded Shooting Star" by Rebecca Horn

Warm enough for some brave souls to go swimming! 

The Beach, with the Landmark Hotel W center

Surprised by a wave in the Mediterranean Sea 

Controversial Columbus Monument, pointing to the Americas

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