Winter Europe Trip: Madrid Museums

We visited a whole bunch of museums and historical sites on this trip, however museums of Madrid were the ones I spent the most time preparing for and where I drew the most. 
In Prado, I was excited to find a Museum guide and map in Ukrainian and marked my plan for everyone in our group so that they would know where to find me (follow along!). Goya is always a hit and this time I went not from earlier works to the late years but in the opposite direction and it created even a bigger contrast and wonder. In the Naval Museum, I drew some figureheads and spent my time finding the best depiction of the sea (there were quite a few spectacular ones!). We also went to the home and museum of my art hero Joaquin Sorolla, found his works in two more museums, and visited a little but fantastic exhibit "Sorolla's Summers" on its last day in Madrid. I ended up painting a "bunch of Sorollas" in my sketchbook as I could not stop thinking about all the light that he saw! 

Plant Eviction

I bought this little garden-in-a-pot (a concept I enjoy) and sketched it a couple of days into its stay on our kitchen table. But very quickly my allergies informed me that the hyacinth is not my friend and in fact is a serious enemy. It filled the whole house with fragrance and despite some effort put into denial, I had to evict the whole little garden outside. Where there was a lot of wind and rain and... well, I did not draw it after eviction. But it is getting a lot of watering!

Winter Europe Trip: Toledo, Spain

One of the destinations out of our Madrid hub was Toledo. This was my second visit to this glorious city (the first one was with my Mom in 2011 - here is my blog post from that one: The time we spent in Toledo did not disappoint despite quite a bit of rain and too-big-a lunch! Another city I would like to see through different seasons and visit again :)

Sketching with Friends: San Francisco

This weekend I finally met one of my online friends in real life! Wonderful Marie-Hélène Brohan Delhaye and I connected through Instagram, then through Urban Sketching and Uma Kelkar, and then Ukraine, and then just through the sheer joy of sharing a journey of documenting our lives, experimenting, working with direct watercolor painting and the glory of using color.

Marie-Hélène traveled through California and we met on a glorious sunny day on the top of the hill in San Francisco. The four of us - Suhita Shirodkar, Uma Kelkar, Marie-Hélène, and myself were sketching, chatting about art supplies, catching up on world and family events, exchanging plans and hopes for the year, petting dogs, and swapping greetings with passers-by. The best thing? It felt like we do it all the time - this sketch and chat together - even though this was the first time we did it in real life with Marie-Hélène :) I enjoy having friends at all distances and making them in any way imaginable - but to see them in real life, hug them, and tell them in person that they make my world better is not always possible. When it is - I celebrate!

Photo of all of us - by Marie-Hélène.

Winter Europe Trip: Madrid, Spain

The second part of our trip was centered in Madrid. 
We arrived on the very first day of the year and experienced a super quiet and empty center of the city. This presented some problems (food?!) and a lot of opportunities to be the only people on the streets. We enjoyed the ghost town while hunting down some basic supplies - and after about 22 000 steps we had bread, eggs, salt, and oil :) 
The weather was grayer and colder during this part of the trip, with some rains and glorious fog but a good guide through the city gave us enough stories to keep moving from one historical site to another, and I found more gardens and fountains to fall in love with :)