Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bucharest, Romania

Tree in the green area.

There's a series of trees in the green area. It started raining shortly after I started, so had to cut this short. I'll have to wait till the sun comes out to get to the really big one that almost covers the green space. I was trying to look at the tree as a warmup for a portrait.

Tree in the green area.

There was a small reprieve in the rain, so worked on this small one. These trees have these very round leaves. Now that it's getting to be summer, they're very solid forms.

View from the apartment at night.

The light from the street lamp illuminates the solidity of the tree from the inside out.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bucharest, Romania

Strada Schitul Magureanu. The little church next to the park. We looked for the rooster in the back, but didnt see it this time.

Strada Stirbei Voda (every week day between 8am and 6pm)

Happening in June: The World Parking Symposium VII (who knew there were such things) . Bucharest could use a World Parking Symposium. In Europe, one of the technologies that is popular in many congested cities is robotic parking. Sort of like an automated Self Storage for cars. Here are some of the videos for them, they're actually quite impressive. I like the music on the first one:
Robotic Parking

Despite the current chaos that is parking and driving in Bucharest, one of the advantages of places like Bucharest, is that there tends to be a leap in technologies directly to the state of the art; no need to try various intermediate steps, just go directly to the state of the art. So, maybe one day not too far in the future, a slew of U-Park-Its will suddenly pop up as a very attractive solution for everyone that wants a safe, clean parking spot. Maybe there will be U-Park-It Club memberships and VIPs, maybe with coffee lounges and concierge services. Coming soon, direct from Switzerland, at 15 locations around Bucharest, the U-Park-It Cafes and Hyper-U-Park-its.

Parcul Izvor, Bucuresti

It seems that the guardians (meanies) have been removed from the parks, and that Izvor Park is once again a Place for Play. Febe will be really glad of this over the weekend. A recent article in the Nine Oclock News was referring to the guardians being removed from the parks; apparently tens of thousands of people didnt like their presence in the parks.
Nine Oclock News: article on the parks

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bucharest, Romania

Morning excursion

The trip behind the bloc this morning to look for "a spot". Somehow when I got Febe, I never realized that somehow "finding a spot" can be sort of a way to forget about deadlines and phone calls and emails and all the millions of stresses at work. Somehow when your dog needs to find a spot, this seems to put in perspective the other stuff. Today Febe wasnt so sure about these particular bushes. The ones alittle further away were maybe a better spot.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Watercolor Practice - Paris

Flower shop on Boulevard Raspail

This was from a trip to Paris the other year, near the Jardin du Luxembourg. Practicing with the watercolor pencils. This time started with linework in pencil, then colored with watercolor, then added ink lines for emphasis. Fortunately the ink was semi-permanent, because came back and added extra washes to bump up the colors.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Watercolor practice

This is from the fictional village of Bucharest-on-Thyme. There are alot of things wrong with this picture.... just practicing with the watercolor pencils a bit.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bucharest, Romania

Day after Easter: sketching around the apartments with colored pencils and ink.

Usual for Easter in Bucharest, the city emptied out completely, everyone going to the mountains for the long weekend. Very few cars around, and was a nice quiet weekend and Monday off. However, for those who stayed in town it was really nice, because the weather was good and the flowers were out.

On Monday, we thought about going down to the park or somewhere, but decided to just walk around the blocks of flats with the dog and do some sketching around the neighborhood. We came across a number of pink and purple Lilac flowers on trees. Also came across these two elderly russian or russian-style cars having their after-Easter chat.

I was sketching this amazing purple Lilac tree, when I noticed that Febe was staring like a zombie at this cat who was busy ignoring her. Shortly thereafter, the cat assumed this "lizard" poze, and sat staring zombie-like back. We also found this more cultivated garden. The plastic bottles are actually little greenhouses for roses, and they really work. The fences for the gardens are lined with old rebar, with a bent stick at the top. Halfway through the sketch, an elderly lady came out and asked us if I was "measuring" her garden; we said no and asked her if it was ok to include her, and she said ok, but continued to watch us.

The little playground, where a grandfather was pushing kids on the swing, and some others were sitting, or looking into the trees.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Bucharest, Romania

Calea Victoriei, Bucuresti

The other day we went over to the art stores in Bucharest to look for some watercolor pencils. As far as I know, there is one street in Bucharest (Hanul Cu Tei: translated: Tei Tree Inn) with four or five art stores, over in the Lipscani district, just near the glassblowers street (Pasajul Sticlarilor). So, we parked over near Calea Victoriei, and walked over to Lipscani. Just as we got out of the car, I saw a bunch of interesting things to sketch, but only had time for one. This is the history museum with the dome, and one of the street lamps. In the history museum, there's actually a full size copy of the Trajan's Column in the Roman Colliseum. The column is wrapped by a spiraling mural depicting the Roman war with the Dacians.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bucharest, Romania

Strada Vasile Paun

Had a cold this week, so today was the first day to get out and make a few sketches. The guy with the cart is part of the city "recycling" system, collecting metal and taking it to various "recycling" centers all over town.

Cupola at corner of Strada Schitul Magureanu / Stirbei Voda

Bulevardul Kogalniceanu

The chicken at the church

I passed by a little church next to the park, and as I was passing by the small backyard area of the church, I saw this big rooster in there. Just walking around. Here he is coming down the little hill to take a look at me.

The chicken at the church.

So, I was standing there gazing at this chicken, and he was just standing there gazing at me out of one eye. A group of chinese tourists came by and watched me while I sketched the chicken. I'm sure they were baffled why somebody was standing there drawing the chicken.

A couple of sketches from photos the other day........

Little Wooden Church - (no chicken here)

Biserica Luterana - (no chickens here)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Bucharest, Romania

At the carwash, Bucuresti

It was time to go to the carwash yesterday. The car had been dusty on the inside and the outside after a winter of being on the street, and it was time to do some cleaning in the apartment and in the car. So, while the car was being washed, I did a sketch. Some of my friends have been challenging me lately with people in their artwork, so the guy standing there watching, and the dog (the actual manager of the car wash) jumped into the sketch.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Bucharest, Romania

Liberty Center Mall, Bucuresti

Liberty Center Mall, Bucuresti

Sketching further down Strada Progresului along the tram lines today, down past the marble factory, and the fire station and the church, and past some miscellaneous industrial or post-industrial areas, at the newly opened Liberty Center Mall. It's on a busy intersection, with two tram lines crossing each other, vehicles, and masses of pedestrians.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Bucharest, Romania

Strada Progresului

Church and Fire Station
Sketching along the tramline again, this time in front of a church and fire station, just down from the marble factory. As I was sketching, the cartridge pen stopped working, so I switched to the ballpoint pen I used to use. I started with the outline of the church, and then moved to the fire station, and then the tree. After the basic outline, I focused on the overall shapes of the shadows, and the church sort of popped into 3 dimensions. Lately, I've found by focusing on the outline and the negative spaces, this can help me to get the overall proportions and make sure the towers dont run off the page, and there's an interesting effect if I focus on the shadows after that. Compared to the cartridge pen, which produces very strong blacks and whites, the ballpoint pen produces softer greys.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Bucharest, Romania

Strada Progresului, Bucuresti

Strada Progresului, Bucuresti

Searching for Bucharest
Memorable cities that come to my mind usually have trams: Cities all over Europe, Paris, London, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Denver. Some of my favorite trams are the historic models in Netherlands and Germany. In Bucharest, I like the older models with the wrap-around glass in the back. There's something nice about riding on the trams, locked onto the veins of the city, up and separate from the swarm of mosquito cars blowing horns and sucking the life out of places. Or maybe it's just that stepping onto the tram feels a bit like stepping onto one of the old rides at disneyworld.

It was a beautiful day yesterday, so I thought I'd sketch over by the tram lines. A few blocks from the apartment, the tram runs by these two massive rolling cranes. It's a huge yard, part of a marble factory, right in the middle of the city. I guess if something could be the heart of the city, it could be a marble factory. Not too many trees though.

The cranes are huge. The hook is about the size of the tram stop.

Views of trams:

Back in the apartment, I saw somebody having a picnic on the grass across the street.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Bucharest, Romania

Bulevardul Regina Elisabeta

Strada Schitul Magureanu

Today the sky was blue, and the plants are starting to bud out with all kinds of shades of green, much more bright in the sunshine; yesterday clouds, today sun. I decided to add some color on the sketches, something different from the usual line-only style.

Here's where we were today:

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bucharest, Romania

Lacul Morii, Bucuresti

Lacul Morii, Bucuresti

Lacul Morii, Bucuresti

In Search of Bucuresti
I decided to drive over to Lacul Morii this morning to check out this huge lake on the west side of Bucharest that connects to the river Dambovita. On the map, it appears as something significant in the landscape. I saw on the map that there is a pathway or road that goes all the way around the lake, so I thought this might be a good place to take Febe and find some sketches. It was grey and cold today, but I wanted to explore it anyway.
However, it wasnt as picturesque as I was hoping, but it was an adventure for sketching; we found a parking space, crossed the perilous tram lines and highway, and after avoiding or escaping the wild dogs guarding piles of junk, we managed to climb to the lakeside for a pristine view of sloping concrete walls and thousands of blocs-of-flats on the other side. The wind blowing across the vast lake added to the sense of loneliness in the place. There's a modernistic church at the edge of the lake, which from the road looks like a lone statue peering across the lake. Finally leaving the area, I decided to sketch the thing that connects this vast landscape feature to Bucuresti: the dam. What a huge mechanistic beast.
After standing by the lake with the wild dogs barking at us, and standing on the bridge with the giant vehicles and crane trucks blowing by us, and street people trying to get by, Febe was pretty happy to head back to the car. Maybe in 50 years, this place will be a beautiful lakeside park and a bikepath, for picnicers, frisbee, and runners.

Here's where we were: (source: