The contrasting landscape heading to Seville was amazing: cypress trees dark against earthen buildings, scruffy pine-nut trees, tiny old huts, and fields; where grapes replaced orange trees, then olives, as the train sped past. Undulating hills, the soil darkening to a burnt sienna and white houses with orange tiled roofs. A change back to orange groves as we neared Seville, sun-touched and golden. What a warm welcome.
I’ve mentioned before how much I like Flamenco, and we certainly would be seeing some, as we were here for the start of the Seville April Fair, a week-long celebration of the national dance.
However, we were also here to sketch, and that we did, just a short time after our arrival at the Guadalquivir River, looking over to La Torre del Oro (the gold tower). I’ve included a sketch I did there, but excluded the tower, as I thought it a weak sketch, although I liked the church I roughed in on its right.
Next morning we sketched balconies as we walked through town. There were some beauties sketched by our group. Mine was bi-colour and simple, while others splashed colour around. I borrowed a lovely example from our tutor (right). Thanks for your sketch Tony.
However, the focus for the day was on El Alcázar, the Moorish Caliphas palaces and gardens. This is a stunning place, quite glorious; from the art adorning its walls, to the tiles on its floors. It is the perfect environment for a romantic art-loving person like me! And the rest of the group of course. I loved the hand-painted tiles and pottery. I sketched an image from a vase – right.
We sat inside the gates and learned of the history of the palace, which is the oldest royal place in Europe. Its upper levels are still used by the Spanish royal family as their official residence in Seville.
We settled in to sketch our favourite things, after strolling through the gardens. The exterior of the building interested Kerry, my photographer husband.
I focussed on a perfect statue, and sketched it entirely in graphite pencil, using a mixture of 2B, HB and B. It turned out to be one off my favourite sketches on the trip, but that comes as no surprise to me, having long preferred pencil or charcoal over paint. Though, I have enjoyed using ink pen and watercolour for most of my sketches through this trip.
Come evening, it was time for our visit to the music school and Flamenco concert. We had hoped to sketch from our seats, but it was impossible to do so. I was content to watch the two terrific female dancers, swirl, seduce, scowl, and dance around the sole male dancer, their feet stamping urgently on the wooden floor. The deep husky tones of the singer’s voice, as she clapped, urged the dancers on. It was mesmerising.
Tony however, managed to find a spot where he was able to sketch the guitarist. I sketched my flamenco dancers (above) once I was back home.
The following day, more gardens, horses and carriages, at Parque de Maria Luisa. Again, a magnificent display of tiled walls on the palaces and benches, a small ‘river’ running through the grounds, where visitors punted flat bottomed boats. This park was vast, full of exotic plants and trees, donated to the city (1893) by the Infanta Luisa Fernando. In 1914 it was redeveloped in preparation for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. It remains a park for the people today.
It was hot, very hot. I plonked myself on a tiled bench in the shade and sketched one tile. This was my sketch offering that afternoon. I needed to conserve my energy, for that evening we were celebrating two things: one, the end of our Sketch Spain tour, and, for a smaller group of us, a squashed walk amongst thousands of locals to witness the start of Feria de Abril, the Flamenco festival. Olé.
Midnight in Seville with some fabulous sketchers. Next post will feature work from a number of them. But, a great big thanks here to our fabulous guides Amelia and Ellen, who along with Tony made this Sketch Spain trip such a memorable experience. XXX