Hey there! Welcome to my blog. I'm a free dog living in Portugal and I write about my life as an artist and street dog. This blog is a way for me to have more of a connection with other dogs (and people), to share ideas, experiences and some of my art. I love to hear what others have to say so feel free to comment on any of the posts or to contact me via e-mail. If it's your first time here, you might want to check out my first post and read on from there. You can also have a look at my profile in the column to the right.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

more sneaking around in Lisbon

more Lisbon graffiti

Well, Crème and I have been having a great time in Lisbon. There’s a whole street that’s almost nothing but restaurantes and they all have outdoor seating so it’s easy for us to pick up tasty morsels here and there. Sometimes we’ll do a little melodrama to get some extra nibbles from gullible tourists. Crème has a bit of a bum back leg and she really knows how and when to play it up to her advantage. I do a good impersonation of dog-tired and since I’m pretty skinny they think I must really be starving. Little do they know that I just have good genes.  I’m a lean, mean snuzzle machine!

One woman from Holland actually invited me to sit at the table with her which was fine until the restaurante man shooed me away - but not before I got a good mouthful of perceves.

steaming hot perceves

I think these are called goose barnacles in English. They’re a very tasty shellfish, but a little awkward for me to handle with my paws. I have to trap the sharp end between my paws and nibble and chew the meaty end to get all the good bits. It’s a bit of work but it’s worth it!

As I mentioned yesterday, Crème and I continued our stealth activity by joining the Urban Sketchers at Praça do Comerçio. I did a sketch on the way there first though.
a street leading to Praca do Comercio, ink and watercolour

Once there it was easy to stay in”dog”nito while the people sketched. I might as well have been invisible! It was much like yesterday with two men (different ones than yesterday) doing a lot of talking and pointing, and about 20 people absorbing everything they had to say. The men spent some time walking around looking at the sketchbooks and making comments. It was such a fun atmosphere with everyone sharing in the whole sketching experience. I was so tempted to do something to attract the attention of one of the men. I wonder what insights they might have had for me and my sketching.

There were lots of people milling about in Praca do Comercio. Ink and watercolour.

I happily sketched away while Crème did a little scouting for a place to get a good café com leite. I must say that’s been the only disappointment with Lisbon. The coffee is not nearly as good as it is in Burgau. Hmmm. Must be the water.

So it’s back to Burgau for us tomorrow. I’ll have to catch up with Rita in Lagos and tell her about our adventures.

Friday, July 22, 2011

making marks in Lisbon

I’m back in Lisbon again. I came up with a person from Burgau who travels here for work quite often. She lives another person and a lovely dog named Crème whom they took back to the village from Lisbon a few months ago.  
Creme and her peeps

She still takes Crème to see a vet in Lisbon though, and that’s how I got to tag along. Crème has to check in with the vet but while her person does some work things I’m keeping Crème company.

Lots of cool marks are being made all around this city.
It seems that any blank surface is a good place to make a mark here in Lisbon. Walls, columns, windows, doors, telephone boxes, bus stops, all are targets for creativity of all sorts. Some of it has a message, some seems purely for fun. Either way, there's lots to see.
These laughing top-hatted characters seem to be everywhere!

Yesterday Crème and I were wandering around the busy streets and praças when I saw a group of people all carrying sketch pads. Of course I followed them. They made their way to a praça where there is a beautiful building with two big curved entrances. The group seemed to be lead by two men. There were about 20 people listening very attentively to what they were saying. Occasionally one would point toward a building and twenty necks would swivel around to focus 20 pairs of eyes on the object of interest. People were busily scratching away in their sketchbooks. I was eager to see what they were recording, so I managed to slip in among the group unnoticed and peek over the shoulders of a few sketchers who were sitting on some steps. They were so absorbed in their work that they paid no attention to me.

They were drawing the buildings all around them. Some people had sketches of the two men as well. And many people had pages of notes but I couldn’t really read the handwriting from where I was.

Watching all the industrious drawing going on gave me the urge to draw as well. Here’s a quick sketch of the beautiful building I mentioned above. It’s called Estação do Rossio and it’s a train station that was built in 1887.
Estacao do Rossio, pen and watercolour

There's another really impressive building across from it. It has huge columns along the front. It’s the National Theatre. I might try to do a sketch of it later today. But right now Crème and I are off to Praça do Comerçio because I overheard some of the sketchers yesterday talking about going there this afternoon. It turns out that it's an organized event going on with all these sketchers and workshop leaders from all over the world. That’s what I had stumbled onto yesterday. You can read more about it at at the event site or www.urbansketchers.org.

It’s funny, I’ve been on their site looking at the sketches but somehow I’d missed the talk about this big event. I wonder if they would have allowed a dog to attend. Oh well, I’m here now so I’ll just eavesdrop a bit and enjoy the company of other sketchers, even though I’m probably canis non grata.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Lisbon or bust


sketch of busts on buildings in Lisbon
Derwent Coloursoft pencils

I’ve been trying out some Derwent  Coloursoft Pencils. The sketches above are of buildings in Lisbon. I had the chance to sneak a ride up with my friend Charlie's people a while ago. So, I did the sketches first very lightly then I went over them with a different colour for each bust. I used Mid Brown and Brown Earth for the regal lady, Indigo for the bearded man and Yellow Green for the ferocious lion. I was looking at them today and decided to add some watercolour wash on them to see if I could perk them up. The brown behaved as I expected but when I got to putting blue wash on the man, the Indigo pencil lines started to bleed.

same sketch as above but with added watercolour washes

Hmmm. I thought these were wax pencils and assumed they would resist the watercolour.  Looks like I need to do some experimenting.

Derwent Coloursoft pencils on pale yellowish paper

The first two columns are just the pencils. The third and fourth column have clean water wash over the swatches. So there you have it. Some of the colours definitely bleed, others bleed just a bit and a few don't really at all. What does this mean? I don't know. I'm just a dog. I do something and it pleases me, I wag my tail. Is my tail wagging now? Sure, why not? Messing around with art supplies sure beats barking for a living!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

nose to the ground

I’ve noticed over at Artist’s Journal Workshop Facebook group that I'm not the only one who likes to draw bugs. People seem to as well. Here’s a page from my journal.

You might not be able to read the text because I try to keep the size of images here fairly small so that the page loads faster. Here’s what I wrote on the page:

“I can’t get over how much more I appreciate things now that I take the time to draw or document them. I look at things more often and more closely. I mean really look. Slowly. It has to be slowly, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to draw. I’m still working on my eye-paw coordination. When my paws get tired I use my mouth to hold the pen, but I find that even harder because I can’t focus on the paper very well when it’s so close to my eyes.

I love the way the sunlight hits this yellow wall. I feel warm and sleepy just looking at it.

I’d never really looked at bugs so closely before. What strange creatures they are. What are they thinking as they scurry along in the dirt, climbing over enormous (at least enormous to them) twigs and leaves? Do they fear massive wind storms when I put my nose close to them to smell their iridescent colours?”

Here's what I see when I put my nose close to the ground.
Are you bug-eyed?
Do these bug you?

How close do you get to the things you draw?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Two dogs. One bone.

I've been up to my dewclaws in paint lately but I took a bit of  a break to hang out with Rita at her person's  bookstore yesterday. When I got there she was in front of the computer howling with laughter. She was watching a video on YouTube so she replayed it for me. It was pretty funny and it reminded me of a sequence of drawings I'd done in my journal a while back so I thought I'd share them with you.

But sometimes even one dog, one bone can be confrontational. Here's the video. Have a look.

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