Matera is just outside the province of Puglia in the South of Italy and was our first main stay on the trip. It's an amazing town, thousands of years old, which initially developed on a ridge between two 'sassi' -mini gorge/valleys, that fed into the adjacent main river gorge. The rock is all limestone and soft which means for thousands of years natural caves have been used and adapted for human occupation right up until the 1950's. The fusion of the human interventions and natural landscape make for an amazing drawing experience.
This is the view along some of the old streets and abandoned caves on a slope leading down to the main gorge. The limestone rock is light in comparison to the green vegetation. Cave entrances are dark. So the tone works to distinguish these main elements in the drawing. All in pencil, mostly a 2B, on hand held A4 sketchpad.
This was one of the streets leading down to the sasso we stayed in. One of my first drawings on the trip and happy to be up and running quickly. Again A4 with a 2B pencil hand held while I sat on my stool in the shade.
This was the main street on the bottom of our sasso. The whole area is being very sensitively adapted for cafes and tourist shops. So much so that from on high looking down you wouldn't realise little cafes and shops were available. This view looks towards the ridge that separates the two sassi.
I brought my A3 sketchbook with smooth paper with me this time. I use this for working with graphic pens. This is about A4 on the page. Initially sketched out using the 0.1 pen and then some heavier areas worked up with a 0.3 and 0.5. No rubbing out possible so you just have to go with the flow. The later heavier pen marks supersede any earlier errors which are still visible.
A big lunchtime shower came along so I had to take shelter in a nearby cafe before coming back to finish this.
This little vignette in graphic pen was what occupied me sitting outside waiting for a shower to pass. Mostly abandoned buildings on the side slope of the sasso.
This little church on the main street in the main sasso caught my eye. I had to use the pencils for this as the character of the building and the drawing is very much about the tones and values of the wall and surfaces. A4 in 2B pencil.
Had a cup of tea and a sandwich back in our sasso. This was opposite. Graphic pens again.
I noticed these arches on the way down from the main public square. Washing hanging out so had to go for it. 2B pencil on A4.
Graphics pens out again. I was drawn here to the different scales of the openings.
And carrying on with the graphic pens I came across this building and had to record it. The bottom up to and including the balcony supports goes back a long time but then some smart architect, maybe in the 1930s, came along and added a modern first floor.
Full A3 here in graphic pen. I went for it here in the initial drawing process keeping the pen moving and trying to do as little measurement as possible. The amorphous shape and varied openings are what sucked me in.
A trip to Matera had to finish with a cave drawing. This was on the main street of our sasso. This is A3 in graphic pen. I kept the pen moving, eyeballing instead of measuring. Then I went over and put in hatching and some dark areas to bring out the form.
As can be seen the front of the cave is walled up and openings formed. Looking around the drawing you can see the metal chimney at the location that may originally have been an open vent. Town street lighting has been bolted to the rock face.
From here we went on to the town of Ostuni where the drawing continued.