Before I got to Lebanon, I connected with the local urban sketchers group. The motto of the urban sketchers (www.urbansketchers.org, or https://www.facebook.com/groups/urbansketchers/) is “see the world, one sketch at a time,” and I’ve been meeting up with them in lots of places for the past few years. (There’s a group in Newfoundland, too – leave me a message here if you’d like to join us.) So whenever I could get away from work I started sketching Beirut, sometimes with other folks and sometimes on my own. I’ve posted a few examples here.
This was my first sketch, the day after I arrived – from the Minister’s (of environment) conference room, waiting for a meeting to start. The el-Amin Mosque, the Mediterranean, the mountains north of the city.
This was from the balcony of my apartment, looking towards the port. The original is in color, but I accidentally photoshopped it into black and white, and I actually like it better that way.
This one is near my apartment, in a neighborhood called Mar Mikhael. I’ve been trying to change my style, and do less scratchy line work – I think this one succeeded at that.
I want to a talk in a gallery in my neighborhood, and sketched the other people listening.
I’d been wanting to do night scenes for a while. It’s really hard with watercolor, but once I bought some gouache it was much easier! This is out the window of my office, after everyone else had gone home.
This is a view of eastern Beirut – an area called Achrafieh – from Bourj Hammoud, an Armenian area east of the city.
This is the Mediterranean from my balcony. The weather wasn’t really quite this dramatic, but I was watching the rain on the water and the storm blowing in. Somewhere in there it started raining on my balcony, too, and I had to dash inside to finish the sketch.
I left work early enough one evening to sketch at dusk. This is the port and the hills as the sun was setting.
This one was trickier – I was standing in a quite dark spot, and realized that it’s rather hard to sketch in the dark, you can’t see what you’re doing and you definitely can’t see what colors you’re using! I put down the sky, the mountains, and the water and then went home. When I got there, I realized the colors were pretty good, so I finished off the sketch with my ever-so-handy gouache.