Windmills in Moledo

The mid-western region of Portugal has a lot to be discovered, and Oeste Sketchers are doing a hell of a job with it! Moledo is a small hamlet upon a windy hill, on the road down to coastal Lourinhã. The weather is harsh, but that’s exactly why those beautiful windmills ended up here. One of them sports a mural of urban artist Pantonio, known for his fibrous, textured wall paintings.

A região centro do país tem muito para descobrir, e os Oeste Sketchers têm feito um trabalho dos diabos a consegui-lo! Moledo é uma pequena aldeia sobre um monte ventoso, na estrada para a costeira Lourinhã. O clima é severo, mas é precisamente por isso que os belos moinhos de vento estão cá. Um deles ostenta um mural do artista urbano Pantonio, conhecido pelas suas pinturas fibrosas e texturadas.

The municipality is working to revive the village and put it in the map, as a regional tourist destination. For four years, a band of students of the Lisboa’s Fine Arts School peppered the streets and squares with public sculptures related to the Pedro and Inês mythology. The Rota das Esculturas is well worth the visit, if the sights of a quaint and peaceful village isn’t enough to get you to drive around the countryside of the Oeste.

O município trabalha para dar nova vida à aldeia e colocá-la no mapa, como um destino turístico regional. Durante quatro anos, um grupo de estudantes da Faculdade de Belas-Artes de Lisboa salpicou as ruas e largos com esculturas relacionadas com o mito de Pedro e Inês. A Rota das Esculturas vale bem a visita, se as vistas de uma aldeia sossegada e pitoresca não são suficientes para passear pelos campos do Oeste.

In the low part of the village, close to the canal, sits the local church. A cozy and peaceful mash up of a holy temple and a secular arched yard, which probably served as a gathering point for the villagers, after tilling the fields and before attending mass. The stony banks of the canal set the border between the hamlet and its productive landscape. A few recently built wooden bridges connect the fields with the streets, under the wandering rotor blades of the modern-day windmills.

Na parte mais baixa da aldeia, perto do canal, fica a igreja local. Um cruzamento pacato entre um templo sagrado e um pátio profano, que provavelmente servia como ponto de reunião para os aldeões, entre o trabalho no campo e a missa. As margens empedradas do canal marcam a fronteira entre a aldeia e a paisagem produtiva. Algumas pontes de madeira ligam os campos às ruas, sob o zumbir das pás dos moinhos modernos.

Poets in stone

Parque, Poetas, Parque dos Poetas, Oeiras, statues, poets, park

In Oeiras, a township next to Lisboa, there is a public park peppered with statues from Portuguese poets ranging from all epochs. It was the setting for an Urban Sketchers Portugal sketch meeting, last weekend. I decided to bring along Maria, my 8-year-old niece, given that she had shown great interest in sketching during the summer holidays.

David Mourão Ferreira, statue, poet, park

At first she goofed around quite a bit, being that some of the statues portrayed naked poets and she was in awe of their buttocks. But soon enough, while sketching David Mourão Ferreira’s odd looking statue, she had her moment of absolute focus. Here’s my own, for comparison:

David Mourão Ferreira, statue, poet, park

But her focus period didn’t come to an end. She found Florbela Espanca up the hill and proceeded to sketch her more shapely stony female body. Both sketches were loudly praised by all the sketching community gathered there.

Florbela Espanca, statue, poet, park

Right after sketching Fernando Pessoa’s statue, she had a brief moment of touching sadness, as the pictures of the final gathering were being taken. She realized the sketch meeting was over and she didn’t know when the next one would be.

Fernando Pessoa, statue, poet, park

So I decided that I want to take her to the most meetings possible in the near future. I’m curious to see what lies ahead and how will she progress in her art. In the end of the day we did a collaborative sketch, where I did the linework and she the coloring. I hope she kept good memories of the afternoon and of all the sketchers.

cakes, coffee

Louisiana

Train to Humblebæk

After a few hours spent in the holiday-deserted streets of Helsingør, we caught the train southward to Humblebæk, an otherwise unremarkable small town on the western shore of the Øresund – using the Danish spelling here. What really puts this town on the map is Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, an outstanding building, landscape and institution in the outskirts of Copenhagen. It’s been around since the late 50s, harbouring works from all kinds of well-known artists from all around the world. The exhibitions that were there weren’t exactly my cup of tea, but I rejoiced seeing the tiny permanent Niels Wessel Bagge collection of pre-columbian art. Such objects were there to remind me of the wonders of simplicity in patterns, shapes and colours and also that humour belongs in art! Like three-dimensional caricatures The more we stared at some of the objects, the funnier they got! I love to find that in art.

Louisiana

Outside lies the true richness of Louisiana: it’s carefully designed gardens, with (litterally) tons of sculptures and peaceful viewpoints over the sea. The sun was already low so we took advantage of whatever picnic leftovers we had and called it a day on top of the natural grassy amphitheatre. But our wonderful hostess – whom we hadn’t met yet – still had something in store for us.