A Week in Portugal - Travel Sketching Day One

4 Jun 2018

This was my second year of documenting some of our family holiday by watercolour sketching. I took the same kit as last year but changed the colours of the paints. As we were going to Portugal, I wanted warm and sunny mediterraean colours. I choose to take: medium yellow, yellow ochre, ultramarine, cobalt blue, burnt sienna, cadmium red and rose madder. Along with my Faber Castel small fine line pen, I was ready to go!

I had experimented with a technique of sketching, doing a line drawing first and then painting in the colour. I found that last year, the pencil drawings in my particular sketchbook weren't satifactory, and I couldn't do a sketch on each page.

The best flight we could get from Newcastle was via Paris, and we had quite a tight transfer time. The flight was delayed so we literally landed at Charles de Gaulle airport, walked through passport control and security and walked onto the flight as the last call for boarding was being announced. Unfortunately, our two cases didn't make it to Lisbon with us that evening. They were stuck in Paris.

So for the first day we hung around Blossom Terrace, the holiday home, waiting for our cases to be delivered. The larger one (with the much needed toiletries) came on a night time flight and was thankfully delivered to us at 10.30am on day one. We nipped out to the supermarket but then chilled on the terrace of the holiday home for the rest of the day as our second case was flying over at lunch time and we were hoping to get it that afternoon.

I spent the time relaxing, and doing my first sketch of the holiday. The terrace was surrounded by our one storey holiday home, which used to be stables, and the owners current two storey home. Their part of the building had a door with a juliette balcony above it and a gorgeous bougainvillea climbing up the wall, which was a warm, peachy-orange colour. I pulled up a chair and set about painting this sketch.


I'm not sure I did the wall colour justice as I didn't have a scrap piece of paper to test the colour (something to think about next time!), but I'm really pleased with how this first one turned out. It conveys the warm, sunny colours. I later asked the owner what the plants were on the left of the picture. She told me it was "papiro" the plant they make paper from - papyrus!

By the way, our second case didn't arrive until the following morning. It contained the swimming costumes and our son got in the pool straightaway!

Thanks for reading, and check back soon for the next day's sketching!

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