Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bay Roberts

I went with a friend to Bay Roberts, NL. Newfoundland keeps surprising me with its landscape. I am urbansketcher! I don't do landscape! but the colors, the colors are fantastics; rock and water everywhere and the vegetation that seems to run free everywhere.
Bay Roberts
We stop to eat at a restaurant called Mad Rocks, it is on the way to the so called mad rocks. As always in Newfoundland the people in the restaurant were very nice.
Mad Rock Cafe

Friday, April 29, 2011

Fred's Records

In the days of internet and wild downloading you don't find a record store very easily. I mean this old places where you can get lost and find great music because people are there and advice you to hear this or that. Fred's Records is one of this places. Very vintage, a huge space, something that you probably find only in St. John's. I have to go back and do and sketch from the interior, but enjoy this one from the outside for the moment!
Fred's records

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Downtown Music Crawl in St. John's

St. John's is a beautiful city with an interesting artistic scene. Last Friday there was a music event called "Lawnya Vawnya" (gaelic?) A craw of people move from one store to another to hear artists playing music. For me was a great opportunity to get to know some "cool" places in the city and enjoy music at the same time, and of course to sketch too. You already know my fascination by musicians...
Lawnya Vawnya 01
It started on the store ModelCitizens. the space was really small and I couldn't see Jesse Stewart playing so I went outside and sketched the store instead.
Lawnya Vawnya02
Next stop was Fred's Records, a fantastic place. I have to come back and sketch it. Rae Spoon was playing there. From all the artists I guess he was the one that I enjoyed most. Next day I surprised myself singing a song he played there. So I went back to Fred's Records and bought his CD (it is great!). If you want to hear the song I liked : check this link the song name is "You can dance" Lawnya Vawnya03
Next stop was the bookstore Afterwords. Construction and Destruction played there.
Lawnya Vawnya04
Katie Baggs playing in the children's store Gingersnap
Lawnya Vawnya05
This is my favorite sketch: Kindness Killers playing at Rocket (a cool cafe!). It is always like that. The first sketches I elinsecure, I using pencil or pen to draw, adding color later. At the end the last sketches are just brush and color. I get carry away by the music and the energy of the people; painting becomes something natural.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The last days of a Barber Shop in St. John's

Barber Saint John's
In my desperate search for a barber, I found the Family Barber Shop on 204 Duckward street . A sign on the window announced that it will be closing its doors fowever. It is a pity, after 30 years this place full of old furniture will be gone for ever.
However I felt lucky I could do an sketch from it, it will be preserved in my sketchbooks. Oft I like to think of my art as some kind of graphic documentation.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Khalifa Street, Al Ain

I am still late with my post. I got a lot of drawings from Al Ain and the UAE that I guess would remain in my sketchbooks foreever since I am sketching a lot here in Newfoundland. However I wanted to share this little sketch of the main street of Al Ain: Khalifa Street. It is very lively with restaurants and shops and places to seat under the shadow. I did the sketch just with pen, and I didn't like it at first. Some time later I added color and now is one of my favorites.
Khalifa St

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Newfoundland, Canada

So I am already two weeks in Newfoundland in an adventure that will take me 3 months and I can only say WOW!!!
The Island of Newfoundland is in the atlantic coast of Canada. It has the most amazing nature: Stone, ice and water in a wild combination. The coast is magnificent, full of places to paint. The architecture also is beautiful, wood houses in pastel colors that shine with the sun (ok, the weather could be bad arround here, but in good weather everything glows!)
And the people are so nice and gentle. There is also a very lively art community, surprising by the small population, but you have to see the place to understand that if you don't get inspired by these what else can. So I guess I will be busy sketching this months.
Here is the Quidi Vidi Cove, there is even a local bier made here in this place.
Quidi Vidi NF

Friday, April 22, 2011

Road Abu Dhabi- Al Ain

This sketch is dedicated to my good friend Wasel Safwan. He is an emirati and a fellow artist. He always was extremly kind to me making me feel confortable in the UAE. When he knew that I liked to explore and sketch his country, he tried always to show me new places and most important he helped me to understand his country. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and I will never see things like an emirati, but he helped me to appreciate so many things that I would have otherwise overlooked.

However he sometimes got surprised that I already knew some places. For esample this little snack bar in the Road Abu Dhabi - Al Ain. Usually the buses stop here for the passengers to take some tee. It is not a fancy place, on the contrary but it have the beauty to be authentic. I found the sketch the other day in a sketchbook that I mostly use for writting. So my friend here is the proof that I was there :-) (check the date)

Thank you, thank you very much.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Trains, planes and airports

On my way to Canada I traveled in one week from Hannover to Kassel (where I stop for 3 days), from Kassel to Frankfurt, from Frankfurt to Ottawa and from Ottawa to Saint John's. I miss Germany. The train travel was something I really enjoyed. The German trains are really confortable. I got the opportunity to sketch. The first one is from the restaurant car. I had a tea and sketched between Hannover and Kassel. The second one is from Kassel to the Frankfurt airport. I sat in the cabin with 3 guys that were travelling from Hannover to Munich. In the Frankfurt Airport after checking in for my flight to North America I sat in front of the Star Alliance gate. There were some people from Lufthansa doing the boarding for the flight to Edinburgh as I sat there sketching. Then came my flight to Ottawa. It was a long flight and I managed to sketch something. My last sketch in Ottawa airport was while waiting for my connection flight to St. John's, a little kid was watching the planes landing. I was dead tired, but it was such lovely picture that I had to sketch it.
Star Alliance
Air Canada

Saturday, April 16, 2011

More dancers

I'm getting very late with my post. I still have many drawings from the UAE and Germany that I still have to post.
Here more from the Hannover Stattsoper Ballet. the first one is a viw from th cvafe in fornt of the Opera house.
Staatstheater Hannover
On the back

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sharjah, UAE

I had heard a lot of good things about Sharjah, but it was not untill the Sharjah Art Bienale started that I decided to paid a visit to the city. Not many people know that Sharjah is the Emirate with the most museums. The culture was always in the interest of the rulers from Sharjah.

I was delighted by the collection of arabistic painters in the art museum. It is a great collection, with beautiful watercolors showing scenes from the past in the middle east. I spent a long time watching carefully these watercolors. They woke in me the desire to go to all those places, to see how are they like today and to paint them again.

Before entering the museum I got distracted by this scene of the boys playing cricket. The indian and pakistani population is very high in the UAE and along with their culture they have also contribute with their love for the cricket. You find people playing cricket in the parks everywhere in the UAE.

The old buildings in the background host the art works for Art Sharjah Bienale exhibition. (You can see that I included the red and blue banners that announces the Bienale) All the elements together: Old buildings, heritage, new modern culture and popular culture are what I always look to portrait in my drawings.

PS: The drawing was done in March before leaving the UAE. I still have many unposted sketches and it is a pity to leave them on the sketchbooks. Some times I open my sketchbooks and feel a little nostalgic watching them.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


I try to do sketches that tell stories, with a minimal use of line. Dancers are wonderful subjects for sketching. They have a way to move that shows beauty, even when they are relaxing. The dancer's uses his body as a canvas, drawing in every movement.

Sketching in Hannover

Well, Here is me in a bar in Hannover, writing some text about a drawing. I try to write more in my sketch books, cause at the end they are journals, but I'm so lazy and I don't do very often.
As you see I still have my beard. Keeping it have become a difficult task since I have to find a barber in every new place. Of course I could do it myself , but i have to buy a maschine to trim the hair and I have already an overweight luggage. On the other hand I love barbershops, they are great places to sketch; and the seek and find game becomes very interesting. In the UAE a barber was very cheap and a great relaxing Germany it cost more money and I wanted to find a middle east barber, so I start asking people where can I find a turk barber and finally I landed in the red light district of Hannover. The area is interesting for sketching, quite deserted during the day, except for the barber shop that was full with rough guys. I got my doubts about going in but the owner saw me watching through the window and came out and said there is a place free.
The cut was ok, but not even close to the ones in the UAE. It was done as in a please.. without much interaction with the barber.. when he finished he told me to wash my face....I did it....but he couldn't close the water from the lavatory... he keep trying till it broke the piece and suddenly we had a fountain in the barbershop... with everybody trying to close it without success....I paid quickly and left.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sketching in Hanover Staatstheater

I am spending a few days in Hanover and sketching the ballet company form the Staatstheater. There is great beauty in the dance and I'm confronted with the limits of sketching being unable to catch the movement. I get frozen moments, fragments of bigger picture. However funny is you see all the sketches together you start feeling what is going on there. I'm experimenting a lot, trying to understand the best way (or ways) to portrait a ballet. Degas of course is a great reference. Here a few of the sketches I did yesterday.


airmalta cat-muc

airmalta cat-muc, originally uploaded by omar.paint.

flying to Munich

Friday, April 1, 2011

Good Bye UAE

This my last post written in the UAE. I still have some stories to tell and some drawings from the UAE to post but I will do it from other countries. I'm going home or I'm leaving home? It seems that I carry my home in my sketchbook.

I have been 10 months in the UAE and I have learnt a lot about this wonderful place. It was not the first time that I moved to another country. From Ecuador to Germany, from Germany to Italy, from Italy to the UAE. And every time everything that is important in my life have to find space in one bag. And since space is precious I prefer in many cases to keep the most important things just in my head and in my heart. So I try to learn everything I can from the places I visit. Sketching is my way to discover things, to transform what it is at the beginning strange and different into something wonderful and special. You see, when you draw something it requires you to contemplate and examine it for a long time. When you finish the drawing you own it in your memory and you will never forget it. And little by little you start calling that place home.

I got a great experience in the UAE. In no other place my work has atracted so much attention. People gathered arround me respectfully when I was drawing. I could see in their faces that they were happy. I appeared 2 times in The National Newspaper, and one in the Gulf News. Sketching also had allowed me to meet wonderful people and make new friends. People I am going to miss. It is sad to leave when you know that there are still many places to draw in this country. My dream will be to come back some day and do a journey through the 7 Emirates and portrait them all.

So where I'm going now? I'm going to a place I have never go before. I'm going to visit my mother in Canada for 3 months. She moved there 2 years ago. I'm going to sketch new places and make beautiful books. So I guess I am going home.

PS: if you want to support my work and my travels, you can buy prints of my drawings in