One of the driving forces that encouraged me to take this trip to Portugal was the workshop that was being run in Lisboa that weekend. In Melbourne, I participate in a group called Urban Sketchers, in which we meet in the streets of the city to draw what we observe. The concept is wider than just Melbourne though, and there are Urban Sketchers all over the world. I was lucky enough to hear about a workshop being run in Lisboa, the capital of Portugal and decided it would be a great way to build some skills, meet some people and give a purpose to my trip.
Run by the wonderfully engaging and encouraging Marina Grechanik, the workshop focused on the process of putting people in our pictures- something I have to admit I often avoid. We were given some great tips on how to focus on people- be it by capturing emotion, capturing action or by making the people the focal point and ‘heroes’ of the scene.
It was the perfect day to host the workshop as in Portugal, the 25th of April is a celebration of the freedom and democracy that were established after the Carnation Revolution which took place in 1974. Initially a military coup against the Estado Novo regime, it was accompanied by an unexpectedly high level of civilian resistance. What is so amazing about this revolution is that almost no shots were fired. In fact, red carnations were placed in the muzzles of rifles as well as on the soldiers uniforms, giving the revolution it’s name.
So to celebrate the 25th of April, there were a lot of people in the streets- selling strawberries and carnations, participating in speeches and music concerts, running in a race, participating in parades… There was a great atmosphere, perfect for observing people and trying to capture the moment.
It was lovely to meet so many passionate sketchers. There was a great range of people, many from Lisboa, but also from all over the world. It was lovely to sit and chat (in English or French) and hear their stories, as well as to look though their drawings and discover their style. Although I was tired, and missing home (the 25th of April is an important day in Australia, as we celebrate the soldiers who serve and fight for our country. It also happens to be my brother’s birthday), I had a wonderful time, spending the day engaged with others, observing, drawing and trying out new techniques. I miss the Urban Sketching group from Melbourne and look forward to sketching with them once I’m back on Australian soil.