Monday, March 25, 2013

The Early Bird Catches Barcelona

3/25/13 Platinum Sepia ink, watercolor, Stillman & Birn sketchbook
Fully tanked with coffee and my finger twitching on the mouse button, I impatiently waited for my laptop clock to read 6:00 a.m. PDT, when registration for the Fourth International Urban Sketchers Symposium in Barcelona would open worldwide. I knew that at previous symposia, registration filled within hours of opening, and hundreds of disappointed sketchers weren’t able to nab the 150 available seats, so I was ready.
After an initial “browser cookie issue” nearly caused panic at the virtual door, I shoved my way in. A few mouse clicks later, I was one of 150 happy symposium registrants who made it in – I’m going to Barcelona! I even got all my first-choice workshops! (Sure enough, about two hours later, the symposium was full.)
3/25/13 Diamine Chocolate Brown ink, Stillman & Birn sketchbook
As if that weren’t enough to make my day, the sun came out, and this time it wasn’t preceded by snow flurries. With afternoon temperatures in the 60s, it actually felt like spring! With so many things to celebrate, MiataGrrl took the top down and headed for the zoo.
I wasn’t the only one eager to get out in the sunshine. The African Savannah was crowded with zebras, water fowl and two giraffes grazing at a large tree. Wanting to stay in the sun, I almost bypassed the Komodo dragon, but the big guy is hard to resist – he hardly moves. In fact, it had been nearly a year since I last sketched him, so he was worth a quick pen sketch. He was in particularly fine form today, drooling profusely, which caused no end of delight among the kids watching him.
3/25/13 Private Reserve Velvet Black ink, Zig markers
Taking a break outside the Rain Forest Food Pavilion, I sketched a family and yet another Chinese windmill palm tree – my third in two months. My last sketch at the zoo was of a man who was happy to catch a few Z’s while waiting for his grandkids to find him.
3/25/13 Pilot Iroshizuku Take-Sumi ink
Today my sister would have turned 67 years old if she had survived the heart failure that took her life a few weeks after her 65th birthday. All day, I thought of her and everything I’m grateful for, every day, with every sketch I make. I don’t take any of them for granted.


  1. Good sketches. It was a MARVELOUS day to be out sketching! I wonder if the Komodo dragon was drooling because all the visitors looked so tasty? ;) Those guys kinda freak me out.

    Sorry about your sister. It is both sad and comforting to remember.

    1. Thank you, Kate... I appreciate your thoughts.

  2. Que Guay! I will see you in Barcelona!

    1. Sue, I'll look forward to meeting you in Barcelona!

  3. Oh, forgot to add: Congratulations on getting into USK Barcelona!!

  4. Congrats on getting into the symposium!!! A friend from Thailand had asked me if I was interested in going, but since I am going to Ireland next month funds are tight. We probably wouldn't have gotten in, Love the zoo sketches. I like the play of light in the one of the giraffes. I haven't been to the zoo in eons...I need to remedy that. I laughed at the kimodo do love drool. lol


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