The beach at Barceloneta
“I first visited Barcelona just under four years ago. It was an unplanned visit but one that would set me up to fall helplessly in love with the place. I was on a four-month sabbatical from my job in London to focus on my ‘other’ life as an artist. I had started off in a small village in France but it was there I realised it wasn’t the peace and quiet or nature that was inspiring me but the vibrancy and energy of a city. So I headed to Barcelona. I arrived in to BCN at Arc de Triomfand had a while to wait for a friend so I grabbed an ice cream and sat by the exit to the metro watching the city fall in to its afternoon routine. Coming from London, where everything runs at an acutely fast pace, I felt an extension of time in the way the people of BCN went about things.
The streets of Barceloneta
After I met my friend we grabbed a drink in the back streets of Barceloneta, an area which would soon become a real favourite of mine, and decided the only thing to do as a new visitor to the city was to head to the beach and jump in the sea. We quickly stripped down and threw ourselves into the water diving in and out of the waves. At one point I turned back to look at the city around us and felt a further sense of adoration for the place. Something about being in the water surrounded by the throngs of a city, but more than that, a sense of energy from the place that I couldn’t quite place yet. I felt it had welcomed me with open arms instantly. No judgement. Read the rest of this article…
I am very grateful to all the people who have written for this blog. They, more than I, have made it what it is. But I’m very proud to have the French illustrator, Lapin, take the time to write something. His wonderfully reprinted old accounting books full of illustrations are beautiful objects. I have the Barcelona one. If you appreciate his style, I urge you to get your hands on one via the link below – but first…
The view from Lapin’s apartment – © Lapin
I woke up around 7:30am, that’s the price of being a father ;). I still felt a little bit sleepy. I made myself a cortado and stepped out onto my terrace. There I had all of Poblenou lying beneath and fulfilling me with its energy. The weather was usual for Barcelona. That’s one of the crucial reasons I fell for this city.
One of my favourite buildings on C/ Pere IV, 63-67 – © Lapin
I had to go to Mercat dels Encants to look for some second-hand accounting books to use for drawing and it’s a perfect day to wander and do some doodling of course!
I took Bicing. Strangely I found one right away! Sometimes it really drives me nuts finding empty Bicing stations or not finding any proper working bicycles. Arrghh! Anyway I still like it and it was my lucky day! I passed all the graffiti of Poblenou and one of my favourite buildings on Carrer de Pere IV, 63-67. Read the rest of this article…
A fab article from illustrator, Kat Cameron, on the delights of sketching in Barcelona (including some of her even fabber illustrations).
Barcelona Landscape – © Kat Cameron
A mosaic of green, blue, and red emerges in my mind when I visualise Barcelona. A city of flat terracotta roofs, encircled with the olive-green forests of the Collserola rolling down to the aqua Mediterranean. From first touching down in the glass airport to a wander through the textured gothic alleyways or a glance at the modernista architecture, you know you have landed in a city of art. Miro, Gaudí, Dalí and Picasso all spent time here, and as you meet the locals you discover that Barcelona is filled with architects, designers, graphic artists and illustrators, so really it is the perfect city to go for a stroll with your sketch pad and pencils, find a spot and record your surroundings. Read the rest of this article…
Rainy streets in Barcelona’s old town
“Blessed with a generally bright and sunny disposition, Barcelona is cursed with an excess of fair-weather friends with no appreciation for precipitation. Read: the doom and gloom of backlit cumulonimbus are not welcome here. While no one enjoys a drought (heaven forbid someone can’t fill their swimming pool), grousing about even mildly inclement weather is par for the course, said inclement weather including an overcast sky, and even the lightest of rains. Guiris and Catalans alike seem to prefer ultraviolet heat and sand in uncomfortable places to a spot of rain. But after seven years here, I can claim my perfect day in Barcelona as “pasado por lluvias”. Read the rest of this article…
Or, ‘How Julie hopscotches the brief altogether and rambles off on a total tangent’
A panoramic view of Barcelona from Tibidabo
“First off, I have to make a confession. Rob invited me to write my version of a perfect Barcelona day many moons ago, and it’s taken me an oddly long time to get my finger out and actually produce it. Yet I love writing, and I love writing about Barcelona, so why the dilatory tactics?
Well, apart from the plangent bawl of “it’s such a perfect day…” (god I hate that song) resounding in my thalamus, I think it’s that I’m struggling with the whole concept of perfection. It’s a concept kindred with fluency. Mention its name out loud and you’ve broken something sacrosanct.
Or maybe I’m over-thinking this. Hmmm. Bear with me here.
I tend to see the best of Barcelona, I’ve noticed, when I’m with other people. When I look back over the last year, highlights always involve some kind of shared experience. It could be workmates down the pub on a Friday night, a party on the beach till 5am or just those fleeting instants that end up shifting all sorts of dubious paradigms. Then, I imagine myself standing up on Tibidabo looking down over the city, viewing the cityscape through a kaleidoscope. Read the rest of this article…