Thursday, August 25, 2011

Walking to the Faculdade de Belas Artes, Lisbon Part 2

We had rented the top floor of the tall, yellow house just below the castle walls ( Castelo de Sao Jorge) It had exactly 74 spiral steps leading up to the remodeled apartment. Small balconies , a back patio and skylites gave us unparalleled views of the surrounding city of Lisbon.

The day after our arrival I walked down the cobbled streets and across the flat part of Lisboa called the 'Baixa', then up the hill into the 'Chiado' district ....around the corner to the Faculade de Belas Artes, where the sketching symposium was based. It took about 15-20 minutes, depending on how many times I stopped to take photos! What a lovely way to start the morning.

The sidewalks were a marvel in themselves.....each with a different pattern of black and white cobbles!

 Trolley cars went by along the winding tracks and past buildings both sculpted or dressed with tile. pretty packages waiting to be opened!

Looking up, you would often see a collection of plants growing along the roof lines , brought in from the constant winds that cooled the air on a warm July day.

Trolleys were a constant presence clattering up the steep hillside.....

Once down on the flat streets, a view off to the left brought into focus one of
the great plazas ... the Praca do Comercio, with its magnificent arch. At the end of the symposium, this would be the site of the sketch crawl where over 300 sketchers would congregate!


Along the way, the smaller details of the streets would come into focus...small alleys, doorways, balconies, street lanterns....and graffiti! As in many cities around the world, graffiti has become a common sight.....sometimes taking over all the surfaces below 6 feet!

A counterpoint to the graffiti were the occasional tiled panels or 'azulejos', that depicted various historical events.

My final destination was the college...where we all met to break out into the smaller workshops that fanned out across Lisbon.

After a full day of sketching I would often meet my husband and we would discover another wonderful viewpoint  over the city before searching for a cafe for a late supper. What an adventure for this 'girl from the country'! Discovering a new city can be pretty exciting.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Time Travels....LISBON, Part One

Time got away from me this Summer! In June we traveled back East to my 45th Cornell reunion and enjoyed the beautiful campus in Ithaca, New York. And just recently we returned from a wonderful trip to Portugal so that I could attend a three day sketching symposium in Lisbon. Between these two trips, and a few local excursions, we have accumulated thousands of photographs between us, and I've filled numerous sketchbooks! Once we got back, catching up with our normal home, garden, and vineyard chores hasn't given me much free time to spend blogging ... but here I am ... anxious to share all the wonderful sights that we saw while they are still fresh in my mind.

There are many stories to tell about Lisbon... hills .... cobbles ... trolley cars ...graffiti ... patterns ...color and light! Traveling around the compact city was an adventure! To negotiate the many hills within the city is a challenge.... steep cobbled streets and stepped pedestrian walkways are everywhere, but the most amazing solution are several huge exterior 'Elevadors' that connect people to the upper and lower areas of the city! One  of the most elaborate is the 'Justa Elevador', a 150 ft tall tower designed in 1902 by a student of Gustav Eiffel.

From the top viewing platform you can see many areas of the city, including Praca do Rossio, a large square with undulating patterns of black and white cobbles and a beautiful fountain. This was one of the areas where many of us met to sketch the urban scene.

One day my husband and I took both trolley and subway across town to the famous Gulbenkian Museum and gardens. Completed in the 1960's, the museum complex is known for it's outstanding modern architecture and garden....not to mention the wonderful displays of art and artifacts.

The garden contained flowing paths that wound through dense plantings of grasses, groundcovers, trees and water. I loved the simple, but bold  umbrella 'discs' that were interspersed along the pathways!

Large sculptures, such as this woven basket that was big enough to enter and move around in, were placed along the way.

Huge colorful pillows  for people to lounge on were placed under this tent of brightly colored fabric strips....

Several meandering water streams culminate in a large pond  that edges one of the two modern buildings.

Once inside the museum, views to the outer garden were softened with woven window coverings, making the garden appear as an  impressionist painting.

It was the perfect adventure on a hot day in Lisbon!
For more info on the Urban sketchers, and to see some of the wonderful sketches that were produced, go to our blog.