Language lessons

It’s pretty obvious when you cross a border that the language might change and you will have to brush up on your new vocabulary. It may be obvious, but I didn’t think that it would apply to my sketching.

One of the staircases inside Sagrada Famila, watercolour and graphite

We have moved on from Paris and it’s neo-classical buildings, where under those twidly bits, was a regular and reliable structure you could ‘lean on’ to support your drawing. Way further south and east, in the city of Barcelona, there are no such certainties.

The Art Nouveau roofline of 582 Gran Via, Barcelona, which I can see from our hotel.

Moderniste, Art Nouveau and Gaudi, who speaks an architectural dialect all his own, have my sketches grasping for the new vocabulary. I am stumbling along not quite ‘getting’ the local lingo just yet.

From the street, sketching the facade of La Pedrera, also known as Casa Mila.

Finally getting somewhere, sketching the ‘guardians’ on the roof of La Pedrera, Barcelona. Water-soluble graphite, watercolour.


    1. Gaudi’s mind blowing in reality. It is also a testament to the craft skills of all the workers who built them. It was interesting to hear from a local that 10 years ago you could visit Park Güell and there would be no one there. Now that Barcelona is a ‘destination’, you can’t move for people taking selfies at all these places. Clearly and very annoyingly the goal is only to take the picture, not to actually look at what you are standing in front of. There are also some beautiful gardens, both in this part of the park and in the wider surrounds. So it was a blessing to have the scent of vegetation and flowers around us and to hear the local parrots screeching around overhead.



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