Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Notre Dame Cemetery at Limpertsberg

For our November sketchcrawl we met at the Limpertsberg to discover the Notre Dame Cemetery, which really is like an open-air museum of funerary architecture and sculpture. In the beginning of November the melancholic sculptures are decorated with masses of flower colors.
The Notre Dame Cemetery dates from 1775 and was laid out outside the former city walls on Limpertsberg. The Limpertsberg plateau was then a barren plain, but in the second half of the 19th century the area became known for its spectacular rose gardens.
During those years Luxembourg gained a reputation as a prestigious rose growing centre and at the beginning of the 20th century Luxembourg was known the world over as the Land of Roses.
The flowers we saw at the cemetery were mostly chrysanthemums, symbol for enduring life and rebirth, but in the carvings of the beautiful tombstones, roses play a prominent role.
We sketched bravely for an hour and a half. Before the cold snowy wind started to hit us hard, there were some timid rays of sun and Valérie made good use of this slowly waning November light to make these beautiful photos.

photos by Valérie Mabileau

And here our traditional 'family photos'!

Friday, 1 December 2017

December Sketchcrawl

Hello dear sketchers,

For our December sketchcrawl, let's go sketch at the Christmas market in Luxembourg city, by the Gëlle Fra.

If the weather is too bad, we will find refuge in one of the cafés in the centre.

Let's meet in front of the Cathedral at 14:00 this Sunday 3 December 2017.

Don't forget your gloves, scarves and anything that can help to fight the cold ;)

See you on Sunday!

Monday, 6 November 2017

Limpertsberg en novembre

Après le 1er novembre, le cimetière a encore un air de fête, ce dimanche. Les bouquets et arrangements n'ont pas encore perdu de leur superbe et ponctuent de taches colorées la grisaille mélancolique. Un rayon de soleil défie les prévisions météorologiques d'un après-midi pluvieux. Malgré la tristesse du sujet j'ai choisi un ange pleurant dont la pierre douce et claire illumine l'ambiance grise et dure de granit poli.

Nous nous sommes donnés le temps de dessiner jusqu'à 15h30. A 15h25, comme un signal, le rayon de soleil disparaît, les nuages s'amoncellent et le froid engourdit les doigts. Le temps de nous retrouver à la sortie du cimetière, un vent frais s'était levé et quelques gouttes de pluie commençaient à tomber.
Nous sommes allés nous réfugier dans le Hall Victor Hugo où s'exposait la Art Week. Après avoir salué Anneke et Pit au stand de l'Atelier Empreinte, nous nous sommes installés sur les poufs au centre de la halle pour esquisser les lieux.
Quel contraste avec le cimetière! La foule, la chaleur étouffante, les couleurs criardes…

Saisir le passage des visiteurs devant des œuvres aux couleurs lumineuses…

                                  …et puis mes collègues esquissant.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Le parc en octobre

Heureusement qu'il ne pleuvait pas ce dimanche dans le parc. Un pâle rayon de soleil essayait de tromper l'humidité ambiante et quelques familles avaient tout de même décidé de laisser leurs enfants profiter du grand navire place de jeux qui occupe cette partie du parc.
Pourtant j'ai préféré, esquisser à mi-ombre ce buste de Victor Hugo, étonnamment jeune, un peu méditatif qui observe on ne sait quoi dans le gazon.
En arrière plan les rires d'enfants me rappelaient les promenades avec mon grand-père dans ce même parc avec pour aire de jeux un grand bac à sable, des toboggans et plus loin un labyrinthe en béton coloré qui a disparu depuis bien longtemps.

Pourtant le pavillon rescapé, même avec ses volets clos, m'a donné envie d'un de ces cornets de glace auquel nous avions droit après nos jeux.

Lac d'Annecy en septembre

Comme l'année dernière, j'étais en vacances pendant la Schouebrefouer et à défaut d'esquisser les manèges d'automne, j'ai rapporté de mes vacances quelques tentatives de saisir les paysages montagneux autour du lac d'Annecy.

D'abord en noir et blanc les plongeurs profitant à St Jorioz du ponton de la navette du lac, puis le paysage montagneux en face.

Puis, le même paysage en couleurs

…et vu des hauteurs par temps menaçant.


Ensuite tenter de saisir la transparence de l'eau dans la zone d'habitat protégé et les reflets sur les vagues.

Enfin, essayer depuis le sommet de rendre la plaine qui s'étire au pied du Semnoz.

La Moselle en août

Ce dimanche nous avons dessiné la Moselle depuis la berge allemande, une autre vue du Luxembourg et du pont de Remich franchissant la frontière.

Puis méditative, laisser errer le regard au fil de l'eau, avec ses canards groupés et saisir les vaguelettes…

 …qui soudain s'agitent, mixées par divers engins motorisés en chevauchées sportives, admirées ou honnies.

November Sketchcrawl and 24hr USk Sketchwalk

Hello dear sketchers,

We are looking at a busy month of November!

For our usual sketchcrawl, we will explore part of the Limpertsberg, starting with its cemetery and ending at Hall Victor Hugo where those who are interested will be able to admire art works exhibited in the framework Luxembourg Art Week.

Let's meet at the entrance of cinema Utopia on avenue de la Faïencerie at 14.00 on Sunday 5 November 2017.

Don't forget to wear warm clothes! :)

We have a special event this month!

On Saturday 11th November 2017, USk chapters from around the globe will hold sketchwalks in their cities to celebrate 10 years of Urban Sketchers. For 24 hours, we will be able to follow all these sketchcrawls on Instagram using the hashtag #USkGlobal24hrSketchwalk​, starting with Auckland, New Zealand and ending with O’ahu, USA.

Photos and videos from each chapter will be shared on the official USk Instagram account during these 24 hours, and published on Facebook during the following days.

For our contribution, we decided to meet at 11:00 on Place Guillaume. Depending on the weather, we will be able to sketch the market or visit a few cafes or pubs around.

Mark your calendars! This months we'll have not one, but two outings: Sunday 5 November and Saturday 11!

See you soon!

Friday, 20 October 2017

USK in oil paint

I like to experiment with new tools and materials. And I like a lot to paint with oil paint.
So I was looking for a way how to combine urban sketching, which is mostly an outdoor activity and is bound to be quick, with oil painting with all its organisational, practical and drying time considerations.
I started painting outside, which I must admit proved to be a special and very challenging physical experience. Moreover it was also a good solution for the health issues involved with terps. But I was bothered by the tedious task of putting up a field easel, organising the paint, etcetera.
Finally this spring I came up with my little on-the-road-studio:

It allows me to go anywhere, make a little painting and bring it home safely while still wet. The first try-outs were a bit awkward - I had to adapt my brushstrokes to the small format, the polyester film responds differently than canvas or board, I am forced to use less terps and to organise my palette differently.
Here are my first clumsy results:
april clouds behind niederanven church

place d'armes

dräi eechelen
transparent kirchberg buildings

As the summer gradually allowed for more outdoor activities I ventured to more and more different places:
luxembourg corniche

place de l'europe

the moselle in remich

a cabin in the woods at kuelbecher haff - painted from my car in a succession of rain showers and sunshine

luxembourg corniche

the moselle river at perl

rain approaching niederanven


Organising the small paintbox was quite a challenge.
Some people even succeed at compressing it even more. Enjoy watching these short Youtube-films: and about "Luc Grateau, portraitiste du métro", who made a paint box out of an old calculator box !

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Experiencing the USk Symposium as a correspondent

Working as a USk Symposium correspondent was one of the most enriching experiences I have had in recent years. I got to experience this event I love in a way that is entirely different from being a participant.

Every evening I came back to my hotel room with a pack of new sketches and memories to share on the international USk blog. I made so many drawings that I hardly know where to begin posting, so I will only share some of my favourite sketches and moments here. You can find all the posts I wrote during the symposium here:

Pre-Symposium meet-up at the Robie House
Day 1: Welcome to America and Happy birthday USk!
Day 2: Happy mistakes, cityscapes made easy, intimate sketches and more
Day 3: A view, protests and colorful shirts
Day 4: Goodbye and see you in...

On registration day, I spent the morning with my two fellow correspondents, Wes Douglas from Chicago and Vincent Desplanche from France. Wes wanted to show us around the city, so we would find our bearings more easily the following days and so we could see some places we might not have the opportunity to go to.

This sketch was made at the Bean, the two gentlemen were focused on the monument and I on them (and Elizabeth Alley in the background).

Registration took place at the Goodman Centre, or the Hub, which was also where we gathered every day for morning announcements. The very first sketch I did there was an attempt at capturing the whole room, which didn't come out anywhere near what I wanted to do. I had a moment of panic and doubt about my ability to fulfill my correspondent tasks momentarily.

I spent that afternoon getting to know some of the local volunteers and documenting what they were doing, which helped me to find my bearings and my correspondent "style". I had been trying to do what I thought was expected of me instead of what I would naturally have done otherwise. 

The Hub was usually pretty calm during the day, but became more lively again in the evenings when the lectures took place. People were sitting everywhere, on the benches, on the floor, on big balls.

I particularly liked to capture moments I find so typical in urban sketching events, like this one where Mike Daikubara was sketching Cal, one of the volunteers, while I was sketching them and I'm pretty sure I saw someone sketching me as well.

Being a correspondent also meant running around a lot to catch as many workshops as possible. Wes, Vincent and I had 36 worshops to document, which meant an average of one per hour for each of us. The challenging part was to get from one location to another, specially when instructors decided to change locations. However, it was always worth the effort, given that each one of them had something interesting to teach. I got to catch glimpses of more workshops that I would have otherwise, some of which I would probably not have chosen to attend in the first place.

I made this sketch during Asnee Tasna's workshop, which was about sketching the cityscape with flat pointed pencils. I didn't have any with me, so Asnee was kind enough to give me one of his, teasing me that I should be careful not to hurt myself with the sharp tip. Cheeky guy, I loved him!

Here's another sketch from one of the workshops, this time João Catarino's. I only arrived at the end of the session, so I didn't hear what it was about in detail, I only know it was about capturing reflections in windows. I loved João's enthusiasm during the show and tell. He had this huge smile on his face and kept gesturing with glee.

Being a correspondent also meant being on my own a lot. Nobody else had the same schedule and I was left pretty much to my own devices. Which also meant that I could take the time to capture some unexpected events, like this protest held by hot dog vendors on a double decker bus in front of ABC News TV station. I love the unexpected, specially when I get to see grown men dressed as mustard dispensers and hot dogs.

In the evenings I often had dinner with different people, usually the ones I had just been hanging out with. They were quiet moments around dinner or a few drinks, great after a whole day of running around. I like this sketch because it shows two people, Lapin and Josiah, who had been admiring each other's work online for years and finally got to meet in person. And how about the fact that they were both wearing flowery shirts? These guys were meant to be friends.

To finish this post, here are two of my very last symposium sketches. After the announcement of Porto as next year's symposium host, and the many goodbyes at the Hub, the Portuguese crowd and a bunch of other sketchers went to the 2Twenty2 bar to celebrate. We played Jenga and sketched (what else?) until the bar closed.

We laughed, made plans for next year which we are not sure we can keep, and said our last goodbyes, knowing we would meet again to sketch together somewhere else in the world.