Thursday, April 25, 2019

Guatemala Sketchbook Workshop 2019 - Part 2

A sketchbook workshop in Antigua would not be complete without visiting the Antigua Brewing Company's rooftop terrace.  While drinking a cool beverage you can enjoy incredible views of the volcanoes plus the gorgeous tile roofs and cupolas of Antigua.  During the course, Amy demonstrated how to draw both clouds and rooftop tiles and I thought this image would be good practice at both.  I also decided to experiment with not using any micron pen in this illustration.  I usually draw a pencil sketch, ink it with a micron pen, and then add color.  I ended up liking the softness of the drawing without pen although it then presented me with another quandry. . . what medium should I use for the type?  I ended up using an Arteza watercolor pencil my friend Jodi gave me.  I think it worked as a softer alternative to ink but I did have to be super careful because blotting it smeared the type.

One of my favorite things about Antigua are the women and how they dress.  I have visited Latin America often but have never been to a place where the women actually wear traditional clothing.  I love the colorful huipil shirts, the embroidered belts, and the corte skirts.  I am also always amazed to see how they balance items on their heads.  Plus I adore their colorful ribboned "trenzas." Below you can see several examples of the beautiful clothing and my reference photo. 

Another wonderful thing about Antigua are the ruins everywhere.  The ruins below were right next to our posada and some day I am going to draw its ornately textured columns.


One of our sketching destinations was "El Tanque."  This is a covered portal where there is a large pool of water for people to do their laundry the old-fashioned way. 

On the way to "El Tanque" my Dad and I stopped to get a photo in front of "Iglesia San Hermano Pedro."  I love the detail on this church and it was one of my favorite sketches from last year.  If this church were made of icing I would want the corner piece!


A new sketching destination this year was a church called "San Francisco El Gigante."  True to its name the church was HUGE and the property contained extensive ruins within its walls.

Below you can see Monica and my Dad sketching among the ruins.

I found a shady spot to sketch near the entrance that had a view of the large dome of the church plus a very large palm.  I ended up being surrounded by groups of children having tours a couple times and had to fight off mosquitoes.  But all in all I quite enjoyed sitting among the giant columns and angel-adorned domed ruins.

The photo below shows the same view but from the second story.  I had wanted to draw there but it was too sunny.

I also really liked the enormous spiral columns on the facade of the building.


One of our most fancy sketching destinations was Casa Santo Domingo.  It is a gorgeous hotel that contains ruins and a museum on the grounds.  Below you can see one of the "alfombras" or carpets.  During the Lenten season designs made of food, fruit and vegetables are common around the city.  I had never seen one before just made of beans. (You can see last year's alfombra was made of vegetables here.)

At the end of this short video you can see the black Madonna that I sketched below.

This sketch was also an experiment using watercolor pencil.  I think it worked for the wood but maybe not as well on the Madonna.  Or maybe she was just a little wonky from the beginning.


The posada where we stayed is a lovely inn chock full of interesting vintage finds.  Below is a case of baby Jesus figurines.

I also loved the collection of old irons with chickens on the front.

During the course Amy did a color demonstration of the blue patio wall of the posada.  She encouraged all of us to try and capture the interesting color of the walls and to notice how the color changed in the shadows.  I spent a very relaxing couple hours staring at and painting the blue-green walls of the sketch below.  I looked and looked for a quote I liked to go with this image but couldn't find the perfect thing.  So I ended up writing a little blurb which I think sounds way cooler in Spanish than English. 

When she looked at the wall

all was still

The wind stopped blowing

her mind white as a sheet in the sun

the aging color enveloped her

turquoise, cream, grey, and rose

One could only describe it as love

Cuando ella miró la pared

todo estaba quieto

El viento dejó de soplar

su mente blanca como una sábana al sol

el color antiguo la envolvió

turquesa, crema, gris y rosa

Sólo se podría describir como el amor

I am fascinated by the door ornaments in Antigua and couldn't help but photograph them every time I walked by a new door.  Below is but a small sampling of cool door bling.

On our last day in Antigua we were walking back through the central park and the light was so pretty coming through the trees and fountain.  Poppy posed for this photo wearing his new guayabera recently purchased in one of the markets.

If I had to choose one word to describe Antigua it would be "enchanting."  Both times I have visited I am charmed by the friendly people, the vibrant colors, the abundant markets, the crumbling ruins and the cobblestone streets.  It is a land where you cannot deny the presence of living giants poofing in the background and where the sun may appear another "pelota" to be gathered by a determined woman to sell at market (see sketch here).  Every time I visit this amazing country I feel its magic soak deeper into my bones and I hope I am lucky enough to return again someday soon.

A thousand stones
Each one place by hand
To bear the weight of the world
    A rubber tire, a horse's hoof, the soft clad feet of man.
To feel from above
   the sun, the rain, and the moon
And from below
   the heat of coursing lava
Even "Antigua" cannot tell their ancient stories.
But if you kneel upon their worn bodies
Touch your hand to the aged surface
Cheek to stone
And listen
You may hear the ancient tales of fire and ice
Of the birth of the mother
and her beautiful, rounded children.

The video below shows the entire sketchbook spanning two years of visiting Antigua on Amy Bogard's sketchbook workshop.

(Music courtesy of Fonogramas América Afroindígena: Free Music Archive)

If you are interested in taking Amy's workshop, visit her website here:

To see the first post from this trip click here: Guatemala Sketchbook Workshop 2019 - Part 1

To see last year's trip click here: Guatemala Sketchbook Workshop 2018 - Part 1


Unknown said...

These images are amazing, Vanessa! I love seeing your work change and respond to your changing environments. --Kara

Nessy said...

Thanks for checking out the blog and for your comments Kara!