Monday, 22 November 2021

a love affair with old buildings

 

Sketching Colegiata de San Pere de Ponts, Pyrenees, Catalunya

When I first started travel sketching in Europe back in 2007, I filled a book full of snippets, memories, stories and pasted in notes that documented all sorts of things from our 3 month trip through France and Spain. I painted landscapes, olive trees and flowers. There were sketches of the bikini I bought and the cup of green tea I had in a cafe in Barcelona. I included detailed illustrated maps and receipts and ticket stubs from places we visited. But even then, what fascinated me most were the old buildings.

South African born and now a New Zealander, old buildings are not part of my history. In both those countries the human history is so short. To see and touch stonework made my masons hundreds of years ago is still a novelty to me and doesn't lose it's charm no matter how many I sketch. 

When we returned to Europe in 2008, my sketchbook included all those varied subjects that tell the story of a trip, but there were two big changes. The glued in tickets and receipts were gone. And there were definitely more buildings. And each subsequent year even more buildings. In fact for a few years I got asked often by friends - "Why do you paint buildings so much when you love the mountains? Where are your mountains?" Where indeed were my mountains? Well, they came out from my pen and brush in force a few years later (that's a whole other story!), but the love affair with old buildings in still going strong.

Here are a few of my favourite buildings from the last couple of months. 


The old (almost) abandoned town of Escuain, Pyrenees, Spain


Capturing the last bit of autumn, near Lleida, Catalunya


Trees and ivy taking over a ruined house near Lleida, Catalunya


Castell d'Alos de Balaguer, Catalunya getting some TLC from some workers


Precariously perched! Mare de Deu de Pedra, Ager.


High on the top of the Montsant range, Catalunya


Colegiata de San Pere de Ponts, Catalunya


Old ruin, Siurana, Catalunya


Real artistry in progress! Our friend Paul is restoring this beautiful old house in Cantabria, Spain


Back in New Zealand now and those buildings are million miles away. It's time to change gear to gorgeous, untouched landscapes. Or is it? I'm sure I can find a tumbled old barn somewhere ;-)