Breakfast view

First breakfast in a café in Porto, Portugal, and this was my view.  Great coffee but the custard tart was not as good as they are in Lisbon. I did this quick painting in the café, started straight off with ink pen (no pencil) and then applied the paint.

And now, I’m off to do a two and a half hour Classical Walking Tour with the Porto Walkers.  Bye for now.


Tiles, doors and stations

Lisbon, Portugal is a stunningly beautiful city.  So many buildings have amazing doors and the exteriors are covered with hand painted tiles, some dating back to the 1700s, to protect buildings from fires. Most of these doors I photographed in the lanes in the old district of Alfama in Lisbon.




Time to explore more of Portugal, so with a train ride to Coimbra and then another one to a new gorgeous Portuguese city, that is, Porto.  The difficulty with trying to draw train stations when you are catching a train, is that you produce a bunch of unfinished drawings, but it’s good practice, definitely a challenging perspective exercise and it still serves as a nice way to document some of the characteristics of the different stations.

Coimbra A
Coimbra A Station
Coimbra B
Coimbra B Station
Coimbra B Station

Arrived in Porto and enjoying the view from the balcony of the B&B.

view from apt

I can’t wait to draw some of this city.


Red, Yellow and Blue

In Sintra, not far from Lisbon, there is a magical, fairy tale-like palace, the Pena Palace.  They must have had so much fun building this outlandish, fantastical and ornate palace.  It is a must see but I strongly, strongly, strongly advise that you get there as soon as it opens.  Our tour group arrived at 9 am and we were basically able to walk straight in but on our way out, we were aghast to see the queue and there were hundreds more joining the queue for the two hour wait, in addition to another queue lower down, to buy a ticket to enter the grounds to join the two-hour queue to get into the palace.

Pena Palace, Sintra, Portugal
Penna Palace2
Pena Palace, Sintra, Portugal

After visiting the Pena Palace, we stopped at Cascais before heading to Europe’s westernmost point, Cabo da Roca. At Cascais, I drew this bright red building. I had to get back on the bus before I could paint it, so it was painted at the hotel.

Cascais building
The Loja Das Meias
Cascais 1
Photo taken from where I was standing to draw the Loja Das Meias

While waiting at the Santa Apolonia Station in Lisbon, to catch a train to Coimbra, Portugal, this bright blue building caught my eye.  So I drew it and was able to partly paint the picture before I had to board the train (I can’t understand why the train didn’t want to wait for me to finish my painting??! :-/ ).


I like the yellow colour next to the bright blue.  I’ve painted a red, yellow and blue building in Portugal.  I wonder which colour is next?!

Thanks for visiting and take care.

Having a go in Lisbon

Lisbon is a gorgeous city and an urban sketchers dream, or nightmare, depending on how challenged you like to be.  It has thousands of ornate and exquisite buildings. I got up early and drew this building located in the suburb of Alfama in Lisbon.

Lisbon building

Then I returned back to my B&B and set off to have a renowned custard tart (a Pasteis De Nata).  Most businesses don’t open before 10 am, so while waiting for the Patisserie to open, I started to sketch this building.  The Patisserie opened before I could finish the drawing. It has hand painted tiles for fire protection covering the  front of the building.

Then, as recommended by the tourist guide books, I experienced a ride on the Elevador Da Gloria.  It is an well-admired feat of engineering.  The tram system was built in 1885, originally powered by water displacement, then this system was superseded by steam and then eventually powered by electricity. While waiting for the tram, I did this quick and tiny sketch.

Lisbon 15

Lisbon 20
The Elevador Da Gloria

At the top, this house caught my eye and I sketched part of it.

Then I returned to my initial morning’s sketching spot and applied paint to the drawing.  This time there were people constantly streaming by and the consistent theme being discussed was directions and trying to determine which direction to go.  Where I was drawing from was a five way street corner.


I tried to have a go at drawing as opportunities arose as I explored this awesome city of Lisbon.

Thanks for stopping by. Cheers.

Lisbon Food Tour

A morning Food Tour in the old city of Lisbon is an awesome way to explore the city, hear some of the history, learn, experience and taste what the local Portuguese eat for breakfast and lunch. The meeting point was at the Largo das Portas do Sol.  While I was waiting for the tour to commence, I quickly tried to sketch the entrance to the Museum of Decorative Arts, which was directly across the street.

museum sketch
The Museum of Decorative Art’s entrance, Largo das Portas do Sol, Lisbon


The Food Tour commenced with a to-die-for custard tart, another sweet made featuring a crunchy sugary top and bean centre accompanied by an espresso coffee.  At this stop, I tried to do another quick sketch of one of a row of balconies and lamps but I didn’t get very far with the drawing before we had to move along.


In 1755, on the morning of November 1st, on the Feast of All Saints, when people were in church worshipping with many candles alit, Portugal was hit by a massive earthquake.  Building crumbled and candles fell causing multiple fires. Those that escaped collapsing  buildings ran down to the river to escape the fiery inferno and then were met by a tsunami. 75,000 people in Lisbon died as a direct result of the earthquake.  People were traumatised, to say the least.  When Lisbon was rebuilt, tiles baked at over 1000 degrees Celsius were applied to the outside of buildings, to protect them from ever having to suffer the same demise if a fire erupted again.  Tiles baked at over 1010 degrees Celsius,  will last up to five centuries, are fire resistant, hand painted, heritage protected, and are beautiful and varied.

Rita, our Food Tour guide, in front of a tiled exterior wall

Apparently, this laundromat and scrub boards are used daily and it is said that the hilly terrain and washing is a staple form of Portuguese exercise.

A curious spectator watched the group pass through.


We made room for trams to pass.Lisbon tram

The spectacular Church of Santa Engracia was able to be seen from many vantage points.

Santa Engracia

Everybody thoroughly enjoyed Ruthy and Rita’s food tour, “Lisbon’s Best Flavours”, and I highly recommend this informative, fun and tasty exploration method!



Early morning discovery

Went for a wander early in the morning in Dubai before the heat set in and heading to the airport and came across the Garhoud Mosque.

My sketch of the mosque.

Some more discoveries.  I thought this collection of cranes looked cool.

On the trains in Dubai, you see such a variety of dress, races and cultures. It is all so seamless, ladies dressed in full black burqas, white, black, beige or colourful hijabs, colourful saris, Arabian white robes, western clothes and nobody stops to have a second look.  It’s such a good example of acceptance and respect that countries around Dubai should aspire to.

Thanks for visiting.  I’m off to explore Lisbon, Portugal!

Stop-over in Dubai

My urban sketching journey has commenced with a stop-over in Dubai along the way. Flying Emirates, which incidentally gives quite generous leg room in economy seating, and arriving in Dubai after a 14-hour flight at 5 am, there was a wait in the Flora Hotel reception area before the room was available.

I drew some of the indoor view as the outside view from the reception area was quite industrial…

Reception are at the Flora Hotel, Dubai – black & white

… and then as time passed, I thought that I might as well try to add paint to my drawing…

Reception area at the Flora Hotel, Dubai in colour

… and then more time passed, and I ordered a Moroccan Tea. It came in a funky, ornate, shiny, silver teapot with a teapot cozy covering the handle. It was a refreshing and delicious mixture of camomile and peppermint tea.


The room still wasn’t ready, so a blockie of exploration was undertaken. Here’s some of the things I took note of.

ornate window covers
cleaning lace decoration on a building near the Flora Hotel


It’s almost time to go to the airport to fly to the next destination.

Thanks for stopping by…

Funky Gastown in Tasmania

I moved from Canada to Australia about 28 years ago.  During all the years I’ve lived in Australia, I have never come across a restaurant that had a menu dedicated wholly to serving Canadian food, until Gastown East moved into my neighbourhood, walking distance from my house! It is an awesome restaurant with the best coffee, yummy food, excellent selection of wines, awesome atmosphere and views. It even featured in the weekend’s paper.


There are tables outside on the deck and this is the view that awaits you.  I love the reflection of the red boat and the zig-zaggy masts.  I once painted this but I cannot find the painting or a photo of it.  I used a wax candle and oil pastels to create some resist on the paper.

Kangaroo Baypj
The restaurant looks out over Kangaroo Bay, Bellerive

Gastown East is nestled in historic Bellerive, right across the street from the Historic Police Station built in 1842.  It’s for sale right now.  I hope its beauty is retained.  I really want to draw it.


Also, close to this funky restaurant is the old Telegraph and Post Office building, built in 1897 and in operation as a telegraph and post office until 1982.  I sat on the sidewalk and drew this.  I went for looseness so I used a reed and ink.

Telegraph & Post Office Kangaroo Bay, Bllve inkxsml
Ink and reed drawing
Telegraph & Post Office Kangaroo Bay, Bllvexsml
and then paint was added

It’s very cool having a bit of familiar culture and food so close to home.


Congratulations, Gastown East! and I’m sure if Gassy Jack was still around, he’d be wishing Gastown East many, many happy returns.

The Road to Deloraine

Salamanca Market was cancelled as Saturday involved delivering an original painting and prints to Art as Mania Gallery in Deloraine, Tasmania in preparation for the upcoming annual Square Dancing Convention.  To avoid the ridiculous amount of roadworks on the Midlands Highway, the backroad through Bothwell was used.  Bothwell has a very cool café.  Despite only intending to spend money on a coffee and a date scone, I left with a table cloth, a throw rug and a pair of fingerless gloves!

Here are some photos of the door art of the Bothwell Café.

Bothwell Café.

I tried to do some urban sketching in Deloraine.  I attempted to draw the Deloraine Hotel but it was way too complicated for the short amount of time I had, so I gave up on it and crossed the street and then tried to draw the quaint library.

I was much happier with my 7 minutes of drawing the Deloraine Library.

I had to put the drawing aside to meet friends for coffee, drop off my art at the gallery and then visit the very nifty town of Latrobe.

Deloraine native hen
A Deloraine Native Hen
Deloraine sculpture
Deloraine sculptures on the banks of the Meander River

This house is near to where I stayed in Deloraine overnight.  I thought it was abandoned, but no, there was smoke coming out of the chimney.

Lunch was had at a cool art café called The Crowded coffee Lounge in Latrobe.  It is spacious, adorned with stunning pastel framed artworks, has cool furniture with one table having a puzzle in progress and another with a stack of board games. Many art classes are delivered from this venue.

Photos taken of the back of the café. I really liked Latrobe and I want to return to further explore it.

For now, it is the road back to Hobart, Tasmania and back to work. 😦

Thanks for visiting.  May your travels be gentle and kind for you.