Markets and Coffee Shops are among my favorite Subjects!

When Tom and travel we often plan our days and weeks around when the local markets are open. We have favorites. The Ballaro Market in Palermo, Sicily is in our top 5. The painting of Ballaro is actually a studio work, not plein air.  I took lots of photos and painted it upon our return.  The fellow in the painting was priceless.  I wish we had recorded this market.  The cry was, from almost every stall, “Broccoli Broccoli Broccoli” which was really cauliflower!!!

Balarro Market.Palermo

In Rome we visited three different kinds of markets, the famous, and tourist-full Campo dei Fiori, and the less travelled Print Market in Piazza Borghese was fascinating. We found a Piranese-like lithograph to take home….Piranese’s work was really expensive!

Campo dei Fiori. Rome   Print Market. Piazza Borghese.RomePorta Portese Flea Market






The third type of market was the Flea. Staying in   Trastevere, we couldn’t leave without  visiting the famous Porte Portese Flea and everything Market. Packed and worth the trip though I wasn’t tempted to buy.

Markets in smaller cities and towns in Italy are fascinating, but different.  On Lake Como, the market day is different for each town. We liked Lenno’s because it had everything. This is a detail, looking up over coffee on a market break.

Lenno Market. LakeComo

Markets in smaller cities and towns in Italy are fascinating, but different. On Lake Como, the market day is different for each town. We liked Lenno’s because it had everything. This is a detail, looking up over coffee on a market break.

Via degli Orefici Bologna

Perhaps the best Italian city markets, that we saw, at least, are in Bologna. What a wonderful surprise Bologna was to us. We stayed there to satisfy our search for the perfect Bolognese dishes, and we found so much more. Seemingly empty streets around the city center opened and filled with people shopping on their way home.  This painting on rice paper is a studio piece painted from photographs we took on Via Pescherie Vecchia. What a wondrous display of food and flowers!

We loved our visit to Argentina, and Turkey, and took in as many markets as we could find.  Buenos Aires is famous for it’s weekend markets.  We loved the street markets in Palermo Soho and Palermo Viejo.

Sunday Market Palermo Viejo BSAS

San Telmo.BSASSan Telmo was a crazy weekend market in Buenos Aires, full of everything including tango, and tourists! We enjoyed the music, the variety, people watching and of course tasting the local faire.

Luncheon umbrellas.Salta



We travelled to the the Northwest corner of Argentina to Salta, a much smaller and very welcoming city, full of more spanish and indigenous influences. This sketch is of the umbrellas at lunchtime. Lunch was relaxed and warm!


I was surprised that I didn’t do any sketches of markets in Turkey, especially in Istanbul. We stayed in Istanbul for a week. I think it was just so much! Here are some photos of the Grand Bazaar, the Spice Market and an area on the Galata side of the Golden Horn which was an area selling fish and household hardware. It was amazing!

IMG_4676 IMG_4682

The Spice Market was fascinating inside, and even more interesting in the small alleys which surrounded it.


The Grand Bazaar was too much! We spent a few hours there, but could have spent several days and not seen everything!IMG_4686The markets in the shadow of the bridge to Galata were a total surprise.  No tourists there. The buckets are full of pigment for custom-making paint. We had fresh fish cooked on the grills and ate at tables with the fishermen and market workers.


Siegburg Cadessi.Selcuk.Turkey We left Istanbul and flew to Ismer and drove to Selcuk, a small city/town that served as our center of activity for visiting the archaeological sites. I loved the town; loved coming home to the quiet streets each night to sample the local faire.

I sketch wherever we go as much as I can, markets and coffee houses, and food carts. The sketch below is of the wonderful Queen Anne Thursday Market in Seattle, WA.

Queen Anne Thursday Market, Seattle copy 

Garbo's Food Wagon.KeyWestThis is the Garbo’s Food Cart in Key West. Great food! It was the last stop in one of our southern trips, some by plane, some by car. We stopped in Virginia on the road in Stoney Creek to sample fried chicken at the Tastee Hut.Stoney Creek Tastee Hut, VA

Washington DC is a favorite.  The sketch below is from a Starbuck’s coffee break near the Eisenhower Building at 14th and New York Ave. NW.

Starbuck's at 14th & NY NW

My resolve for 2015 is to sketch more at home. These three are from favorite local places, some still here, some moved and changed. Favorites are Sweetness 7, Bistro Europa in its older more intimate setting and location and, for those of you who are Buffalonians, the inimitable Spot, this one is on Elmwood.  Love it.

Bistro Europaspot Sweetness 7

We certainly have plenty to sketch and paint in Buffalo.  Look at these shots from our Elmwood Village, Bidwell Park Farmers Market.

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IMG_8415So, time to finish this blog post and think about sketching and painting!

Figure Studies – a perfect way to perfect your skills of observation and hand-eye coordination

I love to attend figure study classes, afternoons with other artists as we work on our skills. There is no better way to perfect your skills, to rekindle your enthusiasm than by studying and drawing the human figure.

These drawings are from three different periods in my life. First from 1974 when my then husband and I moved from Ithaca, NY to Fredonia with our three year old daughter Cynnie. I hadn’t found a job yet; finding a job as an unlicensed architect, really a designer/draftsperson, was not easy in a small town south of Buffalo. Instead I found a figure drawing class at Fredonia College with professor David Small. He was willing to let me audit, and I loved it. These next few drawings are from that class, 3 hours two afternoons a week. Heaven for a person who had not drawn, except with architect’s tools, since 1964!

1074 Female 2 1974 Male 5 1974 Male 4 1974 pen and ink 1974 Female 1 1974 Male 3  1974 Male 2 1974 Male 1

I found a job in early 1975, and didn’t draw for fun again until I moved to Buffalo in 2001. My daughter Cynnie convinced me to sign up for a Figure Drawing Class at the Buffalo Arts Studios. I could only find two drawings from that class, these 5 minute gesture drawings.

2001 BSA Woman IMG_6484

I got very busy at Cannon Design, and could not continue with the figure drawing class. (I substituted my Monday nights with Sally Treanor, also at the BAS, learning about watercolor painting).

It wasn’t until this past year, in the fall, that I started with the figure again. At Sally’s suggestion, I joined a group of artists on Friday afternoons at the BAS. We rent a room, hire a model and draw and paint together. These next drawings, and paintings are from those afternoon sessions.

AShley 1B 2014 Ashley 3 2014 - 3 minutes sketches 2014 body study Jordan2.28.14 2014 Ashley 2 Nov. 2014 female 12014 (all about the throw)

We also did some work with clothed figures in Sally Treanor’s Watercolor Classes this past session. Working in watercolor with a figure is a real challenge!

2014 Sally's Watercolor Class 12.08.14 - Watercolor movement sketches

I will return to Figure Drawing next week! It’s worth it.