Cinque Terre, Italy

If you ever feel the need for a relaxing break then this is the place. Spent 5 nights here in July 2012 and while it was hot the coastal location and plenty of shade made it bearable.

As always drawing and sketching formed an important part of the trip.

We stayed in Riomaggiore which is the southern most of the five villages or 'Lands'. Stopped off at a small bar on the first evening with this view down the coast. It takes a while to loosen up on these trips so a pencil and a beer help to get things going.

This view was looking down from our apartment onto the small harbour. I had trouble depicting the water. Not being used to seeing water from directly above I instinctively drew it using my standard 'water' marks and had to mask these with further marks when I noticed they were clearly inappropriate. I was fortunate that the girl came an sat in the scene for me while drawing.

This view was looking up to the cemetery from the waterfront of village 2, Manarola. This was quite difficult to depict. I tried to make an overall shape that would be pleasing.

A short train trip took us a couple of miles up the coast to Corniglia, Village no 3. This is in the main square of the old town. The parasols give great shade from the sun but block out so many views. Still, a few strategic moves with my cafe chair and this view opened up. The line thickness's give depth.

Next a train trip up the coast to village no 5, Monterosso al Mare. Here I was attracted to the geometry of the forms. Had to leave in the TV aerials, bar flotsam etc.

And before leaving Monterosso on the boat back down to Riomaggiore just a moment to catch this lintol at the main church.

Back in Riomaggiore this is the view to the town from the coast. The buildings stack their way up the steep valley. I drew this as a quick sketch not focussing on detail and making quick marks to represent windows.

This picture captured these two men sitting in a doorway in deep conversation. Had to take care not to be caught! They moved on and a small dog lay down in front of me (or did it pose?) for a couple of minutes.

Ag an bhomaite seo bhí mé ag amhairc trasna chuig arasán s'againne nuair a chuala mé rud in aice liom. An raibh sin gaeilge? Buiochas do Domhnall agus Aine Mhaire as an craic nuair a bhuail muid don cead uair i nGaeltacht Riomaggiore!

I abstracted this elevation out from the frontage. I find the varying fenestration interesting. There's something about washing on lines that makes an image like this real and confirms the presence of people.

Vernazza is village no 4. Sadly this was badly damaged in flooding last year. Kind of a standard drawing of mine. I kept the hills lighter in a 2b pencil and tried to get a few heavy marks into the foreground.

This is the typical back street.

At this moment I thought there was nothing to draw. I then realized the problem was there was nothing I was comfortable drawing. mmm... Time to tackle seawater from above. Here I picked up on the two shadows from the boat. First shadow on the water surface and second shadow on the sea bed.

Carrying on with seawater from above it seemed that the water in general was mid tones while rocks outside the water have much more contrast and definition. In the water the challenge is to represent both the surface of the water and the rocks on the sea bed all in the same pencil mark.

Man sunbathing on the right.

Another quick sketch this one in village no 2, Manarola. Mostly in 4B.

And a final sketch of Riomaggiore looking down the main street. This street was the river until the post war period when it was covered over. The windows are all simple vertical marks. They work in the sketch by complying at their heads and sills with vanishing point persepctive.

Hope you enjoyed the sketches. Headed to Rome next.