26.9.16

Down in Town in Zermatt

Months ago, we had decided that we would visit Zermatt over the Jeune Genevois weekend.  Yay! Somehow, though, it was only about a week before the trip that I became fully aware of a salient detail: that the purpose of the trip was for my husband to climb Monte Rosa: 4,634 meters, second-highest peak in the Alps. Yes, I had been shown topographical maps periodically over the past few months, but that's a fairly regular thing at our house. And I knew vaguely of a reservation at a Monte Rosa Hütte and crampons and rope being packed, but it didn't really all gel in my mind until a week or so before departure. 


Not being the only one in the family to miss critical details, while reading news coverage about Monte Rosa in the days leading up to the trip and the climb, my husband learned that several people had recently died (!) on the climb (massive, tragic fall), and that he would probably need proper alpinist boots, and critically, a guide for the summit -- his original plan was to solo it in his day-hikers. Many calls to various mountaineering outfits later, a guide was booked, but for a day later than he had been hoping to summit. Fast forward to our arrival in Zermatt, and a casual conversation as to whether he should go up to the Hütte a day later, or to go as originally planned and spend the day reconnoitering and, as it turns out is useful in such situations, acclimatizing to the altitude.

This somewhat lengthy preface is all to explain how I ended up "down" in Zermatt for a few peaceful days, yes with the kids, but without my husband to engineer various mountain-related expeditions. Though lots of fun (I love you, hon!), they do tend to break up my drawing and painting sessions to a certain degree. 

With kids to herd, my prime painting and drawing times were early mornings, evenings, and various stolen chunks of time equivalent to the purchasing and eating of a delicious gelato. 

Maybe a bit misleading because of the complete absence of people-- even in the "off" season, Zermatt was teeming with tourists. But that's the beauty of getting up to draw in the early hours before the kids do. Here's one during the height of the tourist day. And yes, the rasta hat was for real.


During another gelato break:


Snuck out after lights-out for this one. The Julen family seems to be a particularly old and prominent one in Zermatt - saw their name all over the place: on gravestones, hotels, restaurants, physician directories...

Final day and we took the Gornegratbahn (far superior, in my opinion, to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise one that we took the day before) to meet Mik on his way back down - with a nice downhill hike as well :)


Off the mountain and back down in the valley, again, early morning and cold, squeezing in a few more sketches before the drive back to Geneva. Again, rotating on a single point in that lovely parking lot - one side a view of the Breithorn, the other, to "some peak" (as I called it, pre-coffee) in the Bernese Oberland.



Thanks for reading! Some Geneva sketches coming next week, meanwhile, I have cows on my mind - empimornart.com

26.9.16

Steinengraben

25.9.16

closing time at the beach...

noch ein paar letzte Spätsommertage in Italien...




21.9.16

Amsterdam Weekend

I realize I have yet to post a blog with sketches from Switzerland, but what can I say? Blame EasyJet. I had a free weekend before a 10-day stretch with my husband out of town and two kids to herd singlehandedly, so off I went to meet my cousin and her husband in Amsterdam.

What's Amsterdam without its museums? And my favorite, museum cafes. This one at the Stederlijk had a nice view of the Concertgebouw and a row of fancy shops, so I sat there for a bit pretty much every afternoon. Thanks to decades of KLM freebies, I will always think of them as "Bols Buildings," but those distinctive Dutch rowhouses are hard to resist. I sketched this stretch out in pen, intending to watercolor later, but I got to like the black and white look.


My first "real" stop was the Van Gogh museum, and afterwards I couldn't resist trying to approximate his style, but with watercolors, which was all I had with me. [PS - not strictly a USK work, but it's related to the topic at hand, and it was in my sketchbook - I'll make it a small image so no one complains too much.] 


The Museumkwartier and de Pijp area was exactly my speed - once the museums closed and the tour groups went back to their hotels, it was just a (very nice) residential neighborhood. And with the gorgeous weather and perfect temperatures, everyone was outside, enjoying drinks and meals with friends at the corner restaurants and cafes; or if they were cooking at home, with their doors and windows wide open, delicious smells and small children spilling out to the sidewalks. 

Speaking of doors, I have always loved doors, and wherever I go, interesting ones always catch my attention. This one grabbed me because of its awesome symmetry and no-nonsense geometric-ness, coupled with the reflection and shadows of the breezy tree beside it. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to "have" it. I could say that I went back the next morning to catch it in the right light, but the truth is, I got lost on my way to somewhere else the next day and decided that the door-drawing gods were sending me a sign, because there was THAT door again:


Later that afternoon, my travel buddies and I did an astounding (and hopefully never-repeated) stretch of eating - first, a number of mini-burgers and sandwiches (mini, yes, but many minis tend to add up). Then, we decided to walk through the Cuypmarket and over a quarter-mile stretch, managed to buy and consume a batch of poffertjes (mini-pancakes loaded with butter and powdered sugar), coconut macaroons, and stroopwafels. It's telling that I have no sketches of any of those things, because they disappeared far too quickly, but I had to sit and have a long recuperation period afterwards, nearby at the Sarphatipark. Hence, this watercolor sketch as a siesta alternative:


I actually had the next two sketches on the same page in my book, mainly just having fun with the colors. Get it? First, the Delft building, and a view across a canal from the red light district:

 

Another cafe-sitting session, this one after walking miles up and down the 9 Straatjes (v. cool shopping area) and watching a series of people sit down on the shady doorstep across the street for a smoke (not that kind, I don't think). Tourists, waitresses on break, punks - it was clearly a favorite spot. 


And to cap off the trip before my silly o'clock flight back to Geneva the following morning, I hit up the Concertgebouw for a couple Vivaldis and Pergolesi's Stabat Mater and was amazed at the following things: 1. the acoustics in that hall; 2. the fact that the chamber orchestra played while standing; 3. Countertenors; 4. free-flow wine before the concert and at intermission included with admission; and 5. that the house lights stayed on for the entire duration of the concert - I could've been sketching the action in there if I had known! Unfortunately, I had left all my gear at the hotel because it wouldn't fit in the pockets of my little black dress. 

Luckily, I at least had a sketch of the building exterior from earlier that day:


And with that, back to Geneva and to my babies. Thanks for reading!

18.9.16

Raincoats

18.9.16

Naturhistorisches Museum Bern

Some impressions of the sketch crawl last Saturday at the Naturhistorisches Museum Bern.








From left to right: Christian, Samuel, Yvonne, Irene, Maurice, Anna, Brigitte, Celestine and daughter, Heidi and Juliana.










From left to right: Maurice, Heidi, Celestine with daughter, Juliana, Brigitte, Yvonne and Samuel.

18.9.16

EIN GRUSS VON OBEN

Irgendwann muss man das ja als Schweizer auch mal gesehen haben: einen richtigen Gletscher.


16.9.16

Alp Flix, Graubünden

Eine Skizze, die ich im Alp Flix (Sur, GR) letzten Samstag gemacht habe. Ich liebe den Kontrast, den die rote Schweizer Fahne in der grünen Landschaft tut! :-)

A sketch I did last Saturday at the Alp Flix (Sur, GR). I love the contrast that the red Swiss flag does in the green landscape! :-)


16.9.16



Natürlich musste ich unweigerlich an Mani Matters Kuh am Waldrand denken - tatsächlich machte sich das Viech recht schnell vom Acker...



Warmer September: Die Kinder am Baden in der Emme, ich am pinseln.

Erst die Küche aufgeräumt und danach abgezeichnet. Dass die Küche aufgeräumt ist sieht man
dem Bild zwar irgendwie nicht recht an...

 Nochmals Spätsommerfreuden an der Emme.

Ein Service Wagen, bzw. die Arbeiter darin, reparieren im ungarischen Alsoörs eine Wasserrutsche.

15.9.16

Sketch crawl in Bern: Saturday 17th September

Hello everybody

Because of the rain on Saturday the sketch crawl will take place at the 
Naturhistorisches Museum Bern.

Saturday 17th September 11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
For more information:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1412090295474373/

Looking forward to see you all there! ;-)