Sunday, November 22, 2015

Saturday, November 21, 2015

back to morocco

when you take artists to dinner...

Be warned! The waitress will know at least one of you by name, there will be wine, and tablecloths will be transformed! In the absence of watercolours, fingerpainting with wine and coffee will ensue...

That's my contribution above— portraits of Ekaterina, Santi, Swasky and his charming father. It's highly possible that our table was the rowdiest (I point my finger at the Spaniards). Miguel, Luis, Santi, Ferran, Swasky, Ekaterina, Dimitri, Fabian, and my dear Pedro— I had such a wonderful time with you!

Lucky indeed.


I couldn't think of a better place to be during these strange and sad times, than among people who see the beauty in this world, who are willing to share their stories. I was so inspired by the amount of hard work and skill that was exhibited, and really touched by the warmth I received from both visitors and artists. 

Solune (two above) was one of the first carnettistes I met, who travels the world recording sounds and music, which he then mixes into rich soundscapes— and Kazuya Morimoto (above), who came all the way from New York for the Rendez-vous, quickly became a friend.

It was a lovely reunion with Miguel Herranz (below) and Lapin (not pictured), whom I'd both met on a trip to Barcelona back in 2010— and though I have known Simo Capecchi, Luis Ruiz, and Swasky (not pictured) for ages from Urban Sketchers, this was the first time we'd met in person.

Then there was Santi (above), a beautiful sketcher and life of the party. How lucky I am to have met so many wonderful people! A big, heartfelt thank you to the Rendez-vous.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

then, they came

Since it was my first time exhibiting at the Rendez-vous, I had no idea of what to expect, and judging by the queue of visitors that had already formed at the entrance to the Polydôme on Friday morning, I knew this experience was going to exceed anything I could have imagined. After sliding my sketchbooks into their case and making some last minute adjustments to the display, I swung by Solune's stand to say hello, and headed to the coffee bar for a cup.

Then they came.

I don't know how many people I met, or how many portraits I drew on the fly— something that initially made me nervous to have so many eyes on me as I scribbled on sketchbooks and loose leafs of paper. My throat was dry, my cheeks hurt from all the smiling, and I became acutely aware of the different muscles used around the lips when speaking French— or at least trying to. Thank you to all you kind souls who patiently put up with my mangled version of your language!

If any of you happen read this, know that I had such a good time talking to each and every one of you. I enjoyed hearing about your trips to Turkey, your thoughts on art, and I loved drawing you. To the two girls whom I did not manage to capture in pencil so well, if you see this, write to me, and I will replace that sketch with a better one. To the young man pictured on the right below, I realise now that you were waiting to be drawn, and that you were too polite to tell those teenage girls that you were first. Write me, and I will draw you that portrait.

What fun!

setting up

I don't want to talk about Paris. I don't want to talk about Beirut. I don't want to talk about terrible things and terrible people, and death and pain and fear—the media does a great job of that already. What I want to talk about is life and love, and all the wonderful things that exist in the world— kindness, friendship, empathy. I firmly believe that in spite of all the horrors, the world is still a beautiful place, and that the vast majority of people are good. We have to be louder than the anger and the violence, we have to remind ourselves and the people around us that this world is ours, and we will carry on.

So I'm going to talk about the 16th Rendez-vous du Carnet de Voyage in Clermont-Ferrand, one of the most incredible experiences in my life. I didn't know what to expect when I arrived at the Polydôme on Thursday evening to set up my stand— the place was already abuzz with activity as the carnettistes were unwrapping framed art, hanging their colourful backdrops and posters, and searching for hooks.

These are the things I learned from the lead-up to the event:

• Air France charges for all checked bags, but are supportive of artists with long tubes of drawings
• you can do a lot with a few chains, S-hooks, and binder clips
• burlap is amazing
carnettistes have the best stories!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

le rendez-vous

I've fallen behind on blogging, I know. Moving to a new country and starting a new job is really... time consuming. It's wonderful and frustrating, exciting and challenging. I love Morocco so far, but it sure is taking time to settle in— I had forgotten what it feels like to be new to a place. I seem to have gotten into some kind of rhythm with my students, I've got an art store, some favourite hanouts for veggies, and I have a nut guy. This man is truly a master at roasting nuts.

So the big news of late is that I'm participating in the 16th Rendez-vous du Carnet de Voyage in Clermont-Ferrand this weekend! It's a wonderful feeling to be one of the carnettistes at the event, showing my Anatolian and Nepali sketches among some of the finest travel books I've seen. Photos will soon follow, but first, my hotel has a bathtub. It has been a long, long time since I've had a tub available to me, and I plan to take full advantage of it.

Here's the trailer for the Rendez-vous— enjoy!

windmills, dykes, and pickled herring

Oh how I love pickled herring!