Tuesday, May 31, 2011

St. John's Fire Station

Why kids like fire cars? Because they are red!
Red is a wonderful color in a painting, it attracts immediately the attention, even little small spots, I usually put tiny red spots in eyes, ears, nose and mouth when I do portraits, the viewer eyes will connect these tiny dots and wander around all the face, making the painting more interesting. This trick I learned from the wonderful artist Anne Watkins .
The last time I was in the Fire Station they told me that Saturday mornings they take out the cars to clean the station. I couldn't resist such an opportunity so I went there very early, no matter the weather was very bad. At a certain point it started raining and drops start falling on my Moleskine. The pen stopped working (maybe because is water-resistant?) So I ran to find shelter at the bus stop. There, while waiting for my bus, I finished the painting with red watercolor.
St. John's Fire Dept

Open 7 Am

15 open
Painting outdoors could be quite complicate. I carry a huge bag with a lot of materials. The biggest problem is to find a place to seat. Then spreading the colors and water around me and start to paint. I have already lost any inhibition when painting, but I still prefer streets with less people. In most of the cases I just sit on the pavement. I always forget a basic rule: Let the colors dry, get up and stretch. I am learning a lot with every new watercolor here. In this picture I got fascinated by the negative space around the tree.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Genticorum & Andrew O'Brien in Rocket Cafe

Andrew James O'Brien opened the Genticorum concert in the Rocket Room in Saint John's
17 concert
Genticorum is a group from Quebec. The music was great. The songs were all about funny stories, but I didn't understand much because they were in french.
16 concert

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Yellow Belly

One of the thing that I find fascinating in this city are the advertising signs on wall. Specially the ones with a vintage typography.
Rainy days are also very interesting for watercolors : you can paint all the reflections on the wet floor. (I did this base in a photo I took) I still want to do some sketches of the interior.

Friday, May 27, 2011

In the fire station

Every day I try to explore and try to sketch places that represent the city in some way. St. John's buildings are made in wood. Fires happens very often in the city. Therefore the fire department is a very important institution here. I have never had draw fire fighters before, I didn't know what to expect when I first approach the fire station and ask if I can draw them. I got a very interesting tour were most of my questions were answer. I had to confess I used to have many stereotypes about firefighters, I though that their uniforms were red for example (here they are dark blue). I also asked one of the fire fighters if they got calls to fetch cats from threes, he said: " yes, but we don't go there, we tell the people that the cat will come down by himself when becomes hungry." " And what if the people insist?" I asked. The guy answered: "Well, I then ask them if they've ever seen a cat's skeleton on a three"
01 Fire Station
The fire fighters in St . John's have many duties and traditions. On Saturdays they have always pea soup and one of the fire fighters is in charge of cooking it. I have never seen somebody to cook in such a martial way. I had never tasted pea soup before, so they invited to eat with them. The soup was great. (While he was cooking the alarm rang, he turned off the heat and went to his car. He came back 20 minutes later , it was a false alarm)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Duke of Duckworth

There is a TV show, called the Republic of Doyle. St. John's looks wonderful in it. The characters usually meet in this traditional pub in St. John's.
12 Duke

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rocket Cafe

One of my favorite places in St. John's is the Rocket Cafe in Water Street. It have a great atmosphere, good food and coffee.
05 Rocket

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Victoria Day

Yesterday was holiday in Canada. It was Victoria day. It is the day when Canadians celebrate the birthday of the Queen. Although the Queen now is Elisabeth II and yesterday was not her birthday. It is a moving holiday, that means that not matter what, Canadians get always a long weekend. In Newfoundland* people usually go 3 days camping not matter how bad the weather could be.
It was a cold Monday but sunny and I went out to paint. At the end I didn't paint any architecture, it was too cold to stay a long time sitting outdoors but I got fascinated by the light falling over people faces. I walked up and down Water street exploring the city looking for things to paint and from time to time taking refuge in Cafes where I could upload myself with warm drinks.
10 Acordeon
In front of Hava Cafe, Water Street
11 Bike
In front of Coffee & Company, Water Street
13 Sunlight
I was waiting for my bus to go home and I sat in the steps of a veranda in Gower street. I started talking to George who was enjoying the sun on his face, I could no help it, I have to paint him. I am very proud of this last one cause I just had 10 minutes to catch it before the bus arrived.

*I wrote Newfoundland, because Canada is a big country and I don't know much what other Canadians do. On the other hand Newfoundland was not part of Canada until 1949, something that people mention to me quite often as trying to underlined that they are different.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Painting outdoors

Is there are reason why all the houses in St. John's are so colorful? Probably the bad weather induced the people to choose colors that make them happy. The spring weather in St. John's is quite disappointing, with many gray days. However when the sun shines the city show its beauty in a glow of color. with such an intensity that it is a delight to paint it. The Gower street is the most important heritage street in St. John's. An emsamble of old wood houses.
For this watercolor I started to paint the shadows in order to catch the moment in case I have to move or the weather conditions changes, but that have the consequence that from the beginning I obtain a strong contrast in the painting.
09 Cochrane Street

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Santa Maria Manuela was in St. John's

Two days ago a schooner arrived in the port of St. John's. The last time the Santa Maria Manuela from Portugal visited Saint John's was many years ago. Then after some conflicts about fish quotas around Newfoundland all Portuguese Ships were banned from Newfoundland. (Now when there is no cod anymore, due to overfishing they are welcome again)
This is the first time I draw a schooner, it is a beautiful experience to understand how something is made, seeing something for the first time, appreciating the craftsmanship in such an elegant boat.
02 Schooner
03 Schooner
A painting for the deck of the schooner offers an unusual view from the port
04 Schooner

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Battery Road

I did this watercolor based on a photo. The weather was too bad to go outside. In rainy days I stay home and experiment with colors. For me these three months in Newfoundland is a great time where I can dedicate myself 100% to paint. Before most of the time painting was something I did in my free time. When I was in UAE I didn't have much free time from my work but I use every free minute to do sketches. I guess I felt a little restricted painting just in my small sketchbook so right now I guess I am exploding in colors.
the battery road, St. John
I posted some outdoors sketches from the Battery here

A nice day outside

09 St Johns
It was a beautiful sunny day. In day like these I love to paint outside. I was sitting in a small park where the Gower Street begins.
By the way I found a nice window to paint in rainy days. I was painting in Gower Street and a guy came out from his house and said that he had a very nice view from the bow window in the second floor. People in Saint John's are really friendly. I visited him yesterday to check the view and he invite me for a warm tea and we had a nice chat. Painting a city is not only about buildings but also about its people and how they feel there.
Ah! He was right: The view is wonderful!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The sweetest place in Water Street

I look likes a fine bakery with all these delicious cupcakes around you but actually is a Soap Skin Care shop.They have the lab in the back of the shop so you can see what are they cooking, excuse me, preparing. The lab looks like the perfect kitchen. On the right of the sketch you can see the soap cupcakes in the trays as they have been just out of the oven. This is one of the fantastic places in Saint John's. I know that it is difficult to believe but you can check them in the following link: www.tvalskincare.com

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New press page

Hi people,

I just added a new pages in my blog, a contact page and also a page with a recollection of articles and interviews about me. I still have to add some publications, but I have to scan the images first.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Radio interview by CBC.ca | Weekend Arts Magazine

Last Saturday I was interviewed in the Weekends Arts Magazine from CBC Radio. Sounds quite good! Check the following link and please left a comment if you like it.

CBC.ca | Weekend Arts Magazine | Omar Jaramillo - Urban Sketchers

Inside Fred's Records

After doing the outside of this record store (here post in my blog), I wrote that I also wanted to do a sketch of the inside. This is a fascinating place full of music and in certain way represents the spirit of Saint John's, with a very dinamic music scene. Where else in the world would you find such a big music store? In other places where I have been, music stores are already extint. This is a great place where you can spend a lot of time discovering new sounds.
I love the interior! Most of the furniture is in wood with a patina that reminds the old records days and all the signs are handwritten. I got carried away by the atmosphere and keep drawing all the small details that makes this place magic...(click on the image to see it bigger)
They also have their own top 20 chart. The number one this week is Andrew James O'Brien who to my surprise was also the guy that I sketched working behind the counter.
Fred's records
Here is link if you want to hear O'Brien's music.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

187 Gower St.

It was a nice day to paint outdours. The sun was shinning and I have to take the jacket off to be able to paint.
187 Gower St

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Work in Progress

10 St Johns
I did that sketch as a reference for a bigger drawing. I like that from this point of the city you can see Signal hill and the see. I will post other images how this painting develops.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Bay Roberts

Around the coast in Bay Roberts you would find many of this small sheds. I did the watercolor on site. I always start with the shadows in case the weather changes or the sun moves.
08 BayRoberts

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A room with a view

Somewhere in St. John's
Well although it is suppose to be spring in St. John's, there are still many chilly days and warm days are the exception.
When I started this watercolor, it was sunny but windy, and the wind here is cold. After an hour sitting there in the cold I decided it was to much and went home. I left the watercolor on the shelf for 2 weeks until I could come back and finish it.
I prefer to paint live rather than from a photo, and I prefer to do it in warm place.
So dear St. John's blog reader if you a have a nice room with a view that you can lend me for an hour or two (or 20 minutes if I just do a fast sketch) I would be very grateful!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Going Downtown

In Rocket Cafe
I found Joy sketching in the Rocket Cafe. this is a great place to be creative with the old tables and the good coffee.
After that I take the number 10 Metro bus to go Home. This was my first time in the bus, so I did a sketch.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Hungry Heart Cafe

Hungry Heart Cafe
Rawling Cross, St. John's
The first traffic light in Saint John's was here and was manually operated by a policeman that standed in the corner switching it on and off.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Wonderbolt Circus

One of the Newfoundland institutions is the Wonderboldt Circus.
I went to see a presentation in the Majestic Theater.
01 circus
Here at the beginning. People looking for their seats.
02 circus
Mark Critch, Master of Ceremonies talking to the public
03 circus
On the right Greg Malone, telling a few funny stories about his brother.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Meet Omar Jaramillo Traverso | TheIndependent.ca

I got interviewed by Martin Connelly from TheIndependent. I really love it! Check the link and make a comment!
Meet Omar Jaramillo Traverso | TheIndependent.ca

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Duckworth street, Saint John's

Duckworth street
Saint John's is full of colorful houses. The sun was shinning on Eartern Monday so I went downtown to paint. I always like to do some big watercolors on site. But it requires some planning and good weather and the strenght to carry a ton of materials in my bag.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Me sketching on The Telegram Newspaper

Telegram Newfoundland
I was sketching Fred's Records (check previous Post) when somebody from The Telegram took a picture and chat a few minutes with me.
Here is what they wrote:
On "the Telegram", Page A7, Wednesday, April 27,2011
"Omar Jaramillo Traverso, who travels the world sketching and writing about the places he sees, sketches his take of Duckworth Street during his first visit to St.John's Monday afternoon.
Photo by Karla Kenny/Special to The Telegram

The Battery, St. John's

St John's Battery
the battery road detail
A cold april day in St. John's. I went to the Battery to do some sketches. I am still exploring the territory, finding nice spots to paint. I always prefer to do my big watercolors on site. But the weather changes very fast here. If in Sicily and Abu Dhabi I had to fight with the heat, here I have to deal with the cold and the wind. I did this pencil sketch of the Battery, a colorful neighbourhood in St. John's, in the back you can see the city. I am using this pencil sketch as a reference for a bigger watercolor.