Plein air painting in cities is a challenge. European cities full of tourists are no exception! During my travels, I was often staying in city centers where the most culture was present, and consequently, the most people. While sightseeing, I would keep an eye out for passageways with alcoves where I could prop up my easel without too much trouble and not have to worry about being in the way of a horse drawn carriage full of Asian tourists.
Another challenge is that cities are full of an incredible amount of detail pretty much everywhere you look. Most interesting churches and old public buildings that make for compelling subjects are covered in an incredible amount of baroque and art nouveau filigree. It’s beautiful, but how am I supposed to capture that in a painting in just 2.5 hours?
The above scene was painted near the old town in Krakow, Poland. Krakow was the old capital before it moved to present day Warsaw, so the city is full of royal history from the days when the Polish royal family used to reside there. Below is a photo I took of Wawel Castle, where the king and queen liked to hang out back in those days. Check out those rotundas! Wow.
Speaking of Warsaw, I also traveled there and visited a friend of mine from my college days, Alek Morawski. It was great to see him again and see what he’s been up to. If you’re a fan of cartoons, hip-hop, and psychedelia (I mean, who isn’t??) then you’re probably a fan of Alek. – check out his website here!
While visiting, I stayed with Alek in his apartment which also was situated right on the edge of the Old Town district in Warsaw. It was yet again another part of town that was typically covered in streams of tourists. I happened to find this great spot right near the old city wall that in medieval times was the outer fortification of the city to defend it against invaders.
While I was painting, several people came by to ask me about it in Polish. Needless to say, I couldn’t offer much. One lady said something to me, and then proceeded to dump a bucket of food scraps about five feet away from where I was painting. I think she said, “Sorry! Have to get rid of this. Right here.”
What a beautiful country. I can’t wait to return!