Saturday, 24 January 2015


Anuradhapura is an ancient town in central Sri Lanka, famous for its many places of worship and ruins of buddhist monasteries, many of them around 2000 years old. Mirisivatya Dagoba is on the outskirts of the sacred city, a white dagoba with little tourists and quiet atmosphere.

Abhayagiri is on the northern edge of the city, furthest from the center. It is my favourite part of the area, with the jungle overgrowing the ruins and a quiet, melancholy atmosphere. 1500 years ago, it was a huge monastery housing 5000 monks, though only the sheer size of the area suggests that now.

Further to the south, the mood changes to lively and vibrant place of pilgrimage, with hundreds of buddhists in white dress offering flowers before buddha statues and praying. The huge Ruvanvalisaya dagoba is particularly popular, as it is believed to hold remains of the Buddha. The white dome is wrapped in a 300 m long orange ribbon. Also dressed in white, a group of volunteers were washing the mildew off the stones, remaining surprisingly clean themselves.

 According to popular belief, this Bo Tree was grown from a cutting of the original indian Bo Tree, under which Buddha attained enlightenment. It is the oldest living human planted tree in the world, dating from 288 BC. Around the terrace on which it grows, many other saplings have been planted, so it feels more like garden than a temple.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Lübecker Bucht

The sea in winter. A couple of days spent walking the beach, drawing a thatched house in Sierksdorf and fisher boats in Timmendorfer Strand.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

end of the year

November sketches on a sunny weekend, the woods in suburb of Mainz and its most important landmark, the Dom as seen from its cloister.

In December, i met up with Birgit to sketch the christmas market, but that failed. Escaped the rain to a café. Then rummaged through Birgits pens and drew the early evening reflections on the cobbles.

After Christmas, Kurze Straße in Göttingen seen from a corner café.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Ambre de Birmanie

It´s too cold for watercolours already so until i fill my waterbrush with vodka, it´s a wash of ink before and after the drawing. This is Würzburg, where they sell mulled wine on the old Bridge over the river main. There are great views towards the Dom and the christmas market as well as the castle in the first sketch.

Sunday, 14 December 2014


Wilhelmshöhe is a baroque landscape monument in Kassel, Germany. It´s the only thing i ever visit when i´m in Kassel, a city which is not particularly known for being pretty. Is Wilhelmshöhe pretty? It is one of those monumental, slightly ridiculous, neverending projects that european rulers of the 18th century liked to develop in their freetime. In this case, Karl von Hessen- Kassel, and most of his succesors. It is huge, and one can easily spend the entire day walking about, finding cascades, fountains, hidden alcoves, chinese gazebos and artificial ruins.

Saturday, 13 December 2014


Arriving at Paraty´s Casa de Cultura, some participants were already queuing up for registration. I started drawing the receding tide in the streets, a subject that must have found its way into every sketchbook in Paraty by the end of the symposium.

My first class is by João Catarino on the theme of reflections- we hurry to the river and get started, anxiously glancing towards a darkening sky. The raindrops create an interesting pattern on my painting, but soon the rain drives us to a nearby pousada. It is a lovely, loose approach, and we end the workshop with a lunch of fried maniok by the beach, browsing through sketchbooks.

The next workshop is 180 degrees by Stephanie Bower, on architecture, which i guiltily take because i´m a lazy sketcher who spends little time on preliminary perspective scribbles, just expecting the drawing to work anyway. Sometimes it works, often it doesn´t. Cars are also great for practicing perspective and there are many little gems of old Volkswagen in the streets of Brasil. While i´m painting the beetle by the harbour, the tide comes in and i have to abandon the sketch.

Next is Nina Johansson, teaching us how to influence the mood and impression of a sketch created by simple adjustments to the colour palette and the line character. These exercises result in a gloomy church, and a way more cheerful street scene, though i still tend to ignore the people. Maybe an issue i´ll tackle next year.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Ilha Grande

These are some sketches of Ilha grande, situated between Rio and São Paulo. We enjoyed some days at the beach, dining out and listening to an impromptu jam of forró musicians. But there is more to this island than beautiful beaches, because the island´s history is very dark.
Ilha Grande went from being a main trade center for displaced slaves in the early 18th century to a quarantine sick bay for european immigrants for fear they would bring cholera to Brazil. Then it became a leper colony before being turned into a prison island.

A fascinating place on the island is Dois Rios, a nowadays mostly deserted village surrounding former prison Colônia Penal Cândido Mendes. Access to the village is not particularly easy, as the only way to get there is to hike 4 hours back and forth. There is a bus from Dois Rios to Vila do Abraão, the island´s main town, but its use is restricted. No toursits allowed. Visitors entering town have to be signed in and out of a list, as noone but local residents are allowed to remain overnight.

The ghost town holds many remains of prison life. Plants were overgrowing this old digger, while its water filled shovel was used as a bird bath. The building in the background was missing most of its roof, but it was still filled with big and small tools, to heavy to move and rusting away, suggesting that heavy labour was prisoner´s everyday life.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Rio de Janeiro

Some of the many stunning views of Rio, Corcovado seen from the Sugarloaf Mountain and vice versa.