My travel sketchbook: Positano 1 – Balcony View
It was only around 5 weeks ago that I was lucky enough to spend a long weekend in the Croatian jewel of Dubrovnik, and there to open the pages of my brand new leather backed moleskin sketchbook and begin covering those pages with pen sketches. There is nothing quite so nice for me as making sketches on the spot, particularly of views from cafes and piazzas, on bustling beaches and of stunning views, because unlike the process of taking a quick photo, the duration and experience of making a sketch makes the process more memorable, and the resulting image far more rich and rewarding. I’ve already shared with you some of the sketches which came out of my Dubrovnik trip, and now I am delighted to be able to share some of the works which have come out of my visit to Italy’s Amalfi Coast.
Following in the tradition of my Norm Sketches, I tend to create my sketches using a fineliner pen rather than the more traditional pencil or charcoal. I find the permanence of pen sketches more attractive, and the depth of black that can be achieved more dramatic. It does however mean that there is no scope whatsoever for mistake, and so very often artistic license takes the place of reality when inevitable errors have to be “corrected” such as to salvage the whole work. This may mean that a few buildings come out a bit wonky, but I enjoy this aspect of the “hand made” about a sketch (and indeed a painting). After all, if you want photographic perfection then you may as well take a photo.
My first sketch is of our base on the Amalfi Coast, Positano, and more particularly one part of the stunning 180 degree panorama we enjoyed from our hotel room with a view. This sketch captures the view looking Westwards towards the tiny group of Sirenusas islands (otherwise known as the Li Galli) which can be seen on the horizon of the sketch. That little archipelago is named after the Sirens of Homer’s Odyssey, as they are reputed to be the location where the Sirens lived, and from whose deathly allure Odysseus had to be protected by being tied to a mast with wax blocking his ears from their tempting song. It is undoubtedly no coincidence that our room was named “Li Galli”, because our balcony probably afforded the best view of these islands of any other in the hotel. There was no way I was going to miss the opportunity to do the view justice therefore, and this first sketch of the holiday is my homage to it.
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