Last month, I was in Portugal on invitation from Portugal Tourism and VisitPortugal.
Sketch Tour Portugal consists of 22 sketchers from around the world, capturing different aspects of Portugal through their sketches over the period of a year. The Tour pairs an international sketcher with a local sketcher: a fabulous way to get the best of both worlds- the expertise and understanding that a local brings and the fresh eyes of the international sketcher.
João Catarino and I did a really intense 6-day tour of the coast of Portugal. Our focus was the surfing culture and surfing beaches of Portugal. We covered atleast 15 beaches up and down the coast, and also stopped to capture some of the fishing culture and beautiful towns, chapels and monuments linked to these beaches. Exhausting? Yes. Rewarding? You bet!
I could go on and on about how wonderful Portugal, the food, the hospitality and the tour were, but let’s just get down to the sketches…
First drawing of Day 1. We start our day at Praia de Carcavelos sketching Forte Sao Juliao da Barra. It seems right to start here: João Catarino is a surfer and knows every little hidden gem of a beach up and down the coast, but this is his home beach, where he surfed as a kid. Purple skies today with a possibility of rain.
Just as I start to pack up, this little ship appears on this horizon… how could I not do a quick sketch?
We hurry up the coast to Praia do Sul. This is my view as I eat lunch.
And below is a sketch of my lunch. Polvo à lagareiro. Oven-roasted octopus and baby potatoes. If you’re not a fan of octopus, you haven’t had it Portuguese-style.
Later that afternoon at the beach in Coxos. This fisherman walked back from the beach with a rod and a net slung over his shoulder.
Coxos is not a beach for beginners. The big, emerald colored waves are gorgeous, but challenging to surf. This surfer waxes his board before heading out to the waves. Watching surfers is fascinating. They have such a reverence for the sea. They watch it intently, and those moments spent slipping on a wetsuit and waxing a board are focussed, meditative moments.
This is from up on the cliffs above Ericeira. The surfers are little ants on the beach below.
And this is João drawing the surf.
We ended our day drawing this statue called The Guardian. Ericeira is part of the World Surfing Reserve. This statue stands up on the cliffs looking out for surfers and all people of the sea. People come here to take photographs with the guardian or of the breathtaking view before them.
And that was Day 1. More from Sketch Tour Portugal, Surf Edition coming soon.