Doodles during Europe trip

Thursday 15 September 2011

Right after I came back from Sao Paulo, where I was with Julien for exhibiting our installation "Aquatypes", I took a flight to join my buddy David who was in a middle of an train trip across Europe. For those who are not familiar with it, the principle is to subscribe to a Interrail ticket first, then you can travel anywhere in Europe for free ( mostly ).
Our planned itinerary was tight: Venice, Roma, Wien and Berlin, in just ten days, travel included. Thus it was meant to be quite superficial a trip, but I tried to sit here and then and scribble a bit. If it was just me, I would spend hours polishing my drawings, but you can't impose your accompanying pal such moments of wasted time. However, I managed to make a few rough doodles in every town.

It was great to find David again! Venice, at night, wandering in the calm streets, emptied of all crowds.. that was magical. Every square meter of this city shows layers of history and art.
Daytime was less great, because of the said crowd, and because a surprise public transports strike in Italy. When you're on an island, it's a bit embarrassing, to find no boat. ( fair enough, we french infamous complainers )
The drawing above was sketched at a small restaurant terrace, above a tiny canal and its parked gondolas.

The drawing above was in Roma, while doing a pause in the shade of the Villa Borghese garden. It is nothing famous or typical, only that is was a fresher place with a welcoming bench. I have sketched it in a painterly way, using various shades of grey of my Tombow markers that have a brush-shaped tip, without construction lines. The result is rather blurry, but I like how it manages to define an ambiance quite well. It's also a quicker and more spontaneous approach than the naturalistic way of drawing outlines.

We had a really awesome time in Vienna. The weather was excellent, we met numerous people and partied indecently :)
Above is a excerpt from my sketchbook that shows my strokes in tipsy mode ( left). It was at a bar which was brewing its own beer. Not to mention that the said house beer was good :)
On the right side it is a sculpture of a ram that adorns the columns of the Musikverein concert hall. ( Not really faithful to the original I must admit. The music wasn't too good actually, hence the boring sketch ).

Above is a sketch of a monument in Schönbrunn park. What is weird that I've read about it is that it was built during the 18th century to mimic an ancient roman site in ruins. So this architect originally designed it to look like the collapsed remains of a temple from 1 century AD. Ironically, after the romantic fashion had passed, the construction was left aside, and time did his job, deteriorating the monument badly. It is only in recent years that it as been repaired roughly with modern material that are clearly visible on it. All in all, it made me think of Frankenstein more than of romantic history.

The train trip from Vienna to Berlin has been a tough one. Originally, we were supposed to have a sleeper car, but David messed up with the dates so we lost the reservation and had to buy a new one; we chose normal seats because they were cheaper.
This night train was doing Prague, Berlin, then Warsaw and Moscow, among various stops. And it was really, really crowded. I tried to sleep, but after a while I just gave up because it was impossible. At least I had a seat... those kids entered the wagon somewhere in Czech republic. They had those medals around their neck, and those cups for I don't know what sports, and they were bearing this glorious exhaustion that champions deserve. The boys were like 14 year-old at most. They were all lying on the ground in the corridor, which became a impressive, intricate pile of sleepy limbs entwined. Out of boredom I tried to sketch them in my half sleep. It was not easy because they were all upside down, and they had this uneasy rest making them change position every 2 minutes. What a long and tiring trip it was... we have been stuck in a small, unknown train station of Czech Republic for more than one hour, in between naps, with the neck aching..

This was David sleeping during the trip back to France. Berlin-Bordeaux by train takes a whole day, it was long. I didn't find time, or energy to do a drawing in Berlin, that's a shame _ although we stayed there only for one day and a half.
Those quick sketches were about all I drew during the trip. It went so fast! I made a number of photos though. All in all, a predictably superficial experience, but really good and fun. Now it is time to work, and paint, isn't it ?

Sep. 11
15/9/2011 Doodles during Europe trip