After spending a few days in Rio de Janeiro, I and five other sketchers hopped on the bus to Paraty, a beautiful little coastal town about 300 km southwest of Rio. The old colonial center of Paraty dates back to around 1700, when gold from Minas Gerais was shipped from here to Rio de Janeiro and Portugal. When the gold found other ways later in the 18th century, the importance of Paraty declined, people moved out, and the place stayed pretty much the same until it was rediscovered as a tourist destination not too long ago.
Arriving here after Rio was fantastic, partly because the tempo is so different – the calm quietude here makes you let your shoulders down and just breathe – and because I bumped into urban sketchers around every corner. It is quite lovely to travel to literally the other side of the earth, and meet people you know in the streets.
One of the more peculiar things in Paraty is the high tide, when some of the streets are flooded with tidal water from the sea two hours a day. This is no mishap, Paraty was constructed like this, because in the 17th century everyone used the streets as a sewer, and this was a clever way to clean them. Now it seems a bit nuts, but I kind of like it. I especially like how the people living in Paraty deals with this. If you need to go to a place in the flooded part of town, you either wait for an hour or so to go there, or you just take off your shoes and wade!
I stayed in the same hotel as many other instructors from the symposium, and when I got there, the street outside was already full of people drawing the place. Makes you feel at home. My first whole day here was pretty much spent sketching, talking and eating together with old and new acquaintances from the urban sketchers community.
All images: approx. 21 x 14,5 cm, various ink pens and ball point pens and watercolours on Stillman & Birn alpha series sketchbook paper.