Art of the Day: I Must Be Hungry

More Danish food obsession- these are a few things we picked up at Torvehallerne, the farm market in Copenhagen. The little carrots are wonderfully sweet, the garlic is very fresh, but the beautiful ruffled tomato is something of a mystery.

More Danish food obsession- here are a few things we picked up at Torvehallerne, the farm market in Copenhagen. The little carrots are wonderfully sweet, the garlic is very fresh, but the beautiful ruffled tomato is something of a mystery. It’s virtually hollow. Antman cut into one and was sorely disappointed by its lack of center. Perhaps it’s meant to be stuffed and cooked? The small cup is full of dried white beans. Antman is a very fine cook, and would turn these ingredients into a savory soup if I asked him very nicely. Pastel on sanded Artspectrum paper, 14″ x 16″.

Posted in Copenhagen, Culture, Denmark, Diversions, Food, Pastel, self-indulgence, Shopping!, Still Life | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Art of the Day: Still Life with Akvavit

Denmark, foodie heaven.

A light Danish snack, rendered in pastel. The bread should be thickly buttered and there should be smoked herring and sliced ham in the picture, but you get the concept. The beverage is Akvavit, the potent Scandinavian spirit flavored with caraway. It’s best served syrupy-thick straight from the freezer, preferably alongside smoked herring and buttered bread. The red currents are called “ribes” in Danish, purchased just yesterday from the foodie paradise Torvehallerne, which is a permanent farm market in the heart of Copenhagen and our favorite weekly shopping trip. Pardon me while I sip this akvavit. Pastel on sanded Artspectrum paper, 14″ x 16″.

Posted in Art, Copenhagen, Culture, Denmark, Diversions, Food, Pastel, self-indulgence, Shopping!, Still Life, travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sketch of the Day: A Slice of Noma, Well Chilled

A View of Noma, the world's best restaurant.

The World’s Best Restaurant, Noma, from the harbor quay by Nyhavn, Copenhagen. While I sat sketching this, a car pulled up next to me and the middle-aged driver leaned out the window and warned of the consequences of sitting on cold stone. “The cold will enter your body and rise through your organs, and your health will be forever damaged,” he said, “I should know. I’m a Viking.” I thanked him and said I would consider his advice (which he repeated twice more). After this chat he wished me luck (with my internal organs, I assume) and drove off in his Alfa Romeo, which surely had heated seats. So, back to Noma- it’s supposed to be great, highly innovative, hard to get into, and very very expensive. But I had sketched it from a cold stone on the Copenhagen wharf, and now I’m a wee bit anxious. Watercolor over pencil on 8 1/2″ x 11″ Robert Bateman sketchbook.


Posted in Adventure!, architecture, Art, Boats, Copenhagen, Culture, Denmark, Diversions, Drawing, Food, landscapes, random speculation, Sketching, travel, urban sketching, Watercolor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sketch of the Day: A Fox Hunt in the Deer Park

Only got a couple of sketches amid the action and the elbow-to-elbow spectators.

Although it was hard to draw during the race- the elbow-to-elbow spectator conditions and running from staging area to staging area kind of put a damper on the sketchbook-I found a few moments to sketch. The mounted officials watching from the sidelines made a nice subject, at least until the riders rounded the bend. The racers plunged into the water hazard and one horse came out empty-saddled while the unseated rider scrambled up the bank, dripping. She raised her  hands  in a victory salute as the crowd roared, and she had a camera strapped to her helmet, so check Youtube. Pencil on 8 1/2″ x 11″ Robert Bateman Sketchbook.

No foxes were hunted during today’s annual Hubertus Hunt in the great Deer Park forest at Klampenborg, just north of Copenhagen. In fact, the deer were laying low, too. But steeples were chased, if I’m getting that right, and the race was glorious. The grand horses, the elegant riders, the beautiful fall day all came together with throngs of lovely people and their dogs, too. Someone won, someone else fell off their horse into cold water and someone’s horse stalled at one jump and took courage at the next.

Pre-hunt warmup, a gathering and walk about under the trees near the starting line. Time for the crowd to admire the horses and the riders, too.

Pre-hunt warmup, where riders rode slowly under the trees near the starting line. It gave the crowd a chance to size up the field. Didn’t see anyone placing bets, per se, but there was some action over by the coffee wagon.

The spectators were almost as interesting as the spectacle.

Lots of doggies at the hunt. All well groomed, and very well behaved. No foxhounds, though.

Walking from one jump to the next with the crowd, headed for the next event by the Royal Hunting Castle, the Hermitage on the hill ahead.

Walking from one jump to the next, headed for the event at the Hermitage, the Royal Hunting Castle on the hill ahead.

At the finish line...

More sketches- just quick studies- a great oak tree by the water hazard pond, filling up rapidly with tree-climbing spectators. Lower right, a rider resting her horse, white-gloved hand on its withers. Pencil in 8 1/2" x 11" Robert Bateman Sketchbook.

More sketches- just quick studies- a great oak tree filling rapidly with spectators climbing up for a better look. At lower right, a rider gives her horse a breather, white-gloved hand stroking withers. Pencil in 8 1/2″ x 11″ Robert Bateman Sketchbook.

The view of the day; walking across fields and through forest to arrive at a destination out of time, but with sense of place

The view of the day; walking across fields and through forest to arrive at a destination out of time.

Posted in Adventure!, Animals, Culture, Denmark, Diversions, Drawing, fashion, field sketching, figure drawing, Horses, mammals, Sketching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Friday Sketchbook: Drawing, the New Hot Topic

A passageway between Gammel Torv, the old town square, and Kattesundet, a narrow cobbled street. It's framed by two beautiful arches.

Beautiful arches lead the eye (and feet) between narrow cobbled street Slutterigade (“Prison Street”) and the bustling square of Gammel Torv, backed by the old Copenhagen Courthouse. The imposing structure once housed the town prison. Hans Christian Andersen used it in “The Tinder Box”, a story in which a soldier awaits execution behind iron-grated windows, possibly the ones at ground-level just beyond the second arch. That arch is known as “The Bridge of Sighs” for the prisoners who crossed it on their way to trial next door. Today it’s a nice little shortcut for bicycles and pedestrians and drivers who know where to sneak through.  A painting by Martinus Rørbye depicts the same spot in 1831, when Andersen might’ve been in the crowd. Watercolor over pencil, Moleskine 5″ x 8″ sketchbook.

Urban and travel sketching was in the news yesterday, to my surprise and delight. Luis Simoes, a Portuguese artist, is on a 5 year mission to sketch his way around the world. He talks about his experiences and the purpose of of slow travel via sketchbook:

“What I’ve learned is I have time to see things, to see the culture passing by. I can be in one spot for three hours maybe, it gives me the time to feel more.

Which sums up the practice very nicely. He also talks about sketching as a cultural ice-breaker, which is tremendously useful at times (like the time someone sent a drink to my table in Florence where I was sketching. At least, I think that was the reason).

Frederick's Church, a.k.a. the Marble Church, Copenhagen. Green and gold confectionary dome sketched from the central courtyard of Ameliaborg Castle, where I was waiting for the noontime Changing of the Guard.

Frederik’s Church, a.k.a. the Marble Church, Copenhagen. A sweet rococo confection of green and gold, as sketched from the central courtyard of Amelienborg Castle while I (and a couple hundred other tourists) waited for the noontime Changing of the Royal Guard.

It made me very happy to see sketching, and a great sketcher, featured in mainstream news, and I hope it inspires people to pick up sketchbooks and go for it. You don’t have to travel around the world to make it work, either. You can try this at home.

Happy Friday.

Happy Halloween.

And Happy Anniversary, Antman!



Posted in architecture, Art, Artists, Copenhagen, Culture, Denmark, Drawing, Environment, Sketching, travel, urban sketching, Watercolor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sketch of the Day: Chimps Get Warm and Fuzzy

Lights out at the Chimp House. The troupe is furnished with leafy branches, which they chew on, and armloads of excelsior, which they gather around themselves and make into duvets and comforters and feather beds. All very hygge at the zoo, Copenhagen. Pencil in Robert Batement 8 1/2" x 11" sketchbook.

Lights out at the Chimpanzee House. The troupe is given leafy branches at sundown for fresh bedding and a nice bedtime snack, along with armloads of shredded excelsior. They arrange these soft materials around themselves, patting them into duvets and comforters and feather beds, then snuggle under for the night. Touchingly hygge out there at the Copenhagen Zoo. Pencil in Robert Batement 8 1/2″ x 11″ sketchbook.

Posted in Animals, Art, Copenhagen, Denmark, Drawing, figure drawing, mammals, natural history, Nature, Sketching, Zoo Sketching | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Friday Sketchbook: How to Draw a Museum

Drawing the paintings gets the structure into your head

The point of drawing these little thumbnails is to catch what might otherwise be missed, and to figure out a few basics, like composition and value. And steal ideas. In the Alfred Sisley work at bottom left, the viewer’s eye crosses roof spines and slowly floats down to the courtyard stones, where- surprise- people are hanging out. Sisley saves the trick until the end. Take a sketchbook to a museum and you, too, can take Sisley home for further study. Or Renoir, or Monet. Many museums, including the Musee d’Orsay, don’t permit photos, but no one’s ever stopped me from sketching.

Why did Camille Pissarro put a woman in the gutter? The couple in La route de Louveciennes stroll along a sidewalk which is partly blocked with fallen leaves and melting snow. The woman steps off the curb and slogs through muck and debris while the man walks high and dry. As I drew a little sketch of this unequal relationship, my imagination overheated, and I began to worry. Did he push her off the sidewalk ? Are her shoes okay? Should she find another boyfriend? Maybe none of these questions worried Pissarro when he painted the walking couple. Or maybe they did. Could La Route de Louveciennes be a sly little commentary on bad manners?

Drawing is a great way to get inside a work of art, and a great way to absorb and remember a museum. I wasn’t the only one in the Musee d’Orsay doing this. A boy who looked like he might have been ten years old was sketching a Van Gogh. No parent hovered nearby and he wasn’t part of a class. He was an independent young artist, drawing with confidence. He even ignored the rubberneckers peeking over his shoulder. I peeked. He was making a very fine sketch.

Two Degas masterpieces, dissected on the page.

Two Degas masterpieces, lightly deconstructed.

A gaggle of art students sat cross-legged on the polished floor and sketched Renoir’s Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette as their instructors lectured and critiqued. The regular museum visitors threaded their way around the students, admired the huge canvas a few moments, and moved on.

Color notes and technical surprises: the bubbles done with the mouth of a bottle, most likely, dipped into aqua paint and pressed to the canvas.

Color notes and technical surprises are revealed by the close scrutiny that comes with sketching. For instance, the soap bubbles on the bathtub rim were made by dipping something perfectly round into aqua paint and pressing it on the canvas- perhaps the mouth of a bottle recently drained by Degas?

Of the the two groups, one came away with a deeper understanding of Renoir’s cinematic canvas, and may even have had a few questions about the subplots, the casting, and at least three of the extras, while the other got sore feet and an espresso at the museum cafe. Care to guess which was which? I leave it up to your imagination.

Happy Friday.

Posted in Art, Art materials, Artists, Culture, Drawing, Exhibits, Museum Sketching, museums, oil painting, painting, Sketching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments