Archive for the ‘Santo Domingo’ Category

Beach trip

Sunday, October 7th, 2012


The day after the Urban Sketchers symposium ended back in July, a few of us headed up to the north side of the island, to a village called Samana. We wanted to get away from the city for a few hours, and see some other parts of the Dominican republic, and a bus trip across the island seemed like the perfect way to do it.

We ended up at Anadel beach, a slow and calm place where the waves rolling in was the only sound present. We spent a few fantastic hours here, swimming, sketching, and eating the most wonderful lunch with all kinds of deliciousness from the sea.


The contrast to the bustling city life of Santo Domingo was striking. This beach was near empty, apart from some local kids playing in a little creek that hit the ocean here. The sea finally gave us the chance to cool off, which was nearly impossible in Santo Domingo. Refreshed and energized, we headed back to the city in the afternoon, stopping for a quick sketch in a nearby village.

Mercado do Modelo, Santo Domingo

Monday, October 1st, 2012


The days after  the Urban Sketchers symposium ended, there were a bunch of sketchers still lurking about in Zona Colonial, and one day we decided to head up to the Mercado do Modelo to sketch. The streets around this place are interesting, to say the least, for an urban sketcher. So full of life – people, traffic, market stands, street dogs, noise and music, and walking around there makes your hand automatically grip after a pen!

While I was drawing the sketch above, a man approached me, and explained that I should add the word “Mercado” on the roof sign. He made it very clear to me that the real name of the place is MERCADO do Modelo, “don´t forget the Mercado!”. He couldn´t see the meaning of just drawing it the way it actually was. The word Mercado had fallen off, you can see the corner of it sticking out as a little greenish blob to the left of “do”.


We drew for a couple of hours, and then headed down to Zona Colonial again for a bite to eat. We had a quick photo session on those yellow steps before we left:


Symposium participants

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

participants1 participants2

Some participants of the Urban Sketchers symposium in Santo Domingo this summer. It is such a luxury to draw each other in a gang of sketchers – everybody is drawing, everybody is ok with being drawn, and everybody has full understanding if they don´t look quite like themselves in the sketches. : )

Printed background

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

segafredo_cafe sketchcrawl_parque_colon

In my workshop in Santo Domingo, I had the participants try out some methods to make the white paper less pristine before starting a drawing. We did all sorts of things, spattered paint, scraped the papers against the ground, painted the soles of our shoes and stepped on the paper. Or, as in these sketches, painted watercolours onto the pattern of a man hole cover, and pressed the sketchbook against it. In the left image (a café near Parque Colón) it worked quite well. I think the dot pattern adds a bit of interest to an otherwise quite empty background. In the right image, I got a beautiful print that said “Santo Domingo” (mirrored, of course, since it´s a print), but a lot of it disappeared because as I was drawing, I couldn´t help myself but let the sketch swell out over the whole page. The following watercolour washes dissolved the print.

Printing on a page like this is always a bit risky, it may end up well or it may become messy, but it´s a great memory to take home from a place you visit. And the participants in my workshop did incredibly interesting page layouts, involving the prints into their sketches.

Workshop sketches, Santo Domingo

Thursday, September 20th, 2012


I gave a workshop in Santo Domingo during the Urban Sketchers symposium, so I didn´t have much time for sketching myself. But I had the opportunity to participate in two other workshops, What´s Behind An Onion with Swasky and Miguel Herranz, and Capturing The Event with Thomas Thorspecken. Both were fantastic, I had so much fun during these sessions.

onion_workshop_bluecar copy

In the Onion workshop we worked a lot with layers, foreground and background, and how to emphasize one or the other by playing with line width, colour, drawing tools and ways of drawing. I tried out so many fun things here, and hearing two great sketchers talking about how they think and work things out when they draw was very enlightening.

In the Capturing the Event workshop, Thorspecken talked about how he has become a steady visitor at cultural events, where he goes drawing to capture what happens there. He also shared a few things about how he builds up his drawings, and then we headed out to try it out for ourselves.


One point that Thomas really made clear, was that he ALWAYS finishes his sketches, no matter what. I´m sorry, Thomas, I didn´t quite make it with this one. I wanted some more shading on the buildings and something to make the ground feel solid, but alas, it was time to go. This is one of the first sketches where I really struggled to get people at different distances from myself actually have their correct proportions. I really struggled to try to measure their heights, and draw some main features before they disappeared out of sight. Otherwise I am usually quite sloppy with that, I just draw, and if it ends up a bit crooked, it´s not too big of a deal. This was like laying a difficult puzzle, even though there aren´t that many people in the scene.

The great thing about the Symposium workshops is that no matter what level of drawing skills you have, you will always learn something new from the instructors. It is such a cool experience to try on someone else´s technique or ways of thinking when sketching, you always discover new ways of looking at the world around you!

Stressful take-off to Santo Domingo

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012


I am probably among the last participants at the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Santo Domingo this summer, to scan my sketches from the event, but here goes.

I´m starting out with these sketches from the journey between Stockholm and JFK. I was very close to not getting on that plane at all. Surprisingly, I found out at the check-in counter, that you had to have a visa to even change planes in the US. I thought I was just going to walk through a transit terminal there, but nope. I can´t believe I had not seen that info anywhere, or heard it from someone!

I got the advice from the check-in personnel to try to do a quick visa application online in the nearest internet café – with a bit of luck it might be approved quickly. So I did. In that process, that took much too long, my credit card was denied to pay for the visa application – same credit card that I had just bought time in the internet café with – and I almost lost my voice because my mouth went too dry. (The first time I have ever had a real physical reaction to stress! Very weird.)

Anyway, to make this long and stressful story a little shorter and more harmonious, I got hold of my brother on the phone, and he was able to log in and pay for my visa application. I had already given up and started thinking that “huh, who would have thought that after all this preparation and anticipation, I´m actually not going to go on this trip!”, but as soon as he had paid, we got the message that my application was approved. Don´t you just love when little miracles like that happen? : )

I dashed off to the check-in counter again, was almost stopped because it was really too late to check in, but in the end they let me through (they probably saw that I was just about to start crying or something…). My gate was at the other end of the airport (of course), so I had to run to get there, but I did get on the plane. Phew.


Once at JFK, I got a glimpse of New York City from a café window. I have never been to New York before, but it is my next big must-go on my travel wish list, so I was happy to at least get the opportunity to sketch it from afar.

Toyota, Santo Domingo

Friday, July 20th, 2012


I am back home after a fantastic experience at the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic). I haven´t yet had time to scan and sort all drawings and photos from there, but here is a sketch that I photographed in the parking lot where I had my workshop.

The workshop started with the participants making marks on papers with any kinds of tools (I have written a post on that before – how to loose your fear of the white paper), then giving them to someone else to draw on. I got mine from Richard, who cleverly put purple stains on the paper with a fruit that fell down from the tree above our heads (someone said it was almonds, I wouldn´t know).

The Toyota truck was looking all beat up and interesting, and just standing there in the parking lot, as if waiting to be drawn. I used a bamboo pen and india ink, then added watercolours. Fun fun fun. :)

Santo Domingo workshop

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

Just a short one here, to give you a peek into the workshops I have been giving in Santo Domingo (once a day during the three days of the symposium).
From left to right, here are Benjamin, John, Lynne, Shinji, Jorge, Shari, Spirou, Martine, Kay and Jason, in deep concentration, trying out shapes instead of lines, bamboo pens or maybe drawing white on black.
The parking lot we are sitting in here (since it’s got a huge tree in it giving shade to sweating sketchers) is right next to the ruin of the first hospital in the New World, Hospital Nicolás de Bari (built in 1503). Above us in the tree is a flock of green parrots, making a whole lot of noise and sometimes a stain or two on our bags. ;)

A big Thank you! to everyone who took any of my workshops, for being such fantastic participants, eagerly trying out my exercises for getting out of your comfort zones, and generously sharing your work with each other!

A first look at Santo Domingo

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Keeping it short here, since the mobile phone isn’t the ideal device to write on.
I went drawing with some other sketchers yesterday, both instructors and participants of the Symposium (which has not started yet, but most people have arrived by now). Santo Domingo is very hot, but we managed to find a nice spot in the shade under a tree. Some local guys were very interested in what we were doing, they were looking over our shoulders, chatting with those of us who speak Spanish (not me), and afterwards they showed the way to a nice chicken place where we had lunch.
An incredibly nice sketching start to this trip. :)

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