(Please click on images to see them in full.)
The days after our return from Bavaria and Austria raced by. I felt breathless trying to get everything ready for the holidays. But part of me is still there, in lively and friendly Munich, elegant Salzburg, and imposing, glittery Vienna. The sketches I made this time were idiosyncratic and totally self-directed. It was cold out and we were traveling with friends, so I didn't have, or didn't arrange for, many urban-type sketching opportunities.
I took a limited mix of art tools: big Pitt artist pens, a smattering of Inktense pencils, a couple of micro pens and a Pentel pocket brush pen. I wanted to add color on site, get it done! I often take gray or brown toned paper sketchbooks when I travel to cold climates in the winter time and I did this again this time. The toned paper gives an atmospheric quality to what I draw that is just right for those cold places.
My first sketch of the trip was in Munich, at a little café in the Viktualienmarkt. We were on a glühwein quest and we found a fun, spartan place to sit and celebrate the first night of our trip.
Another successful glühwein stop! This was the second night of our Munich adventure.
The wild boar mounted on the wall at Goerreshof restaurant in Munich took me back instantly to memories of our first trip to Sweden, to Gothenburg to see our daughter Cecelia, where I sketched another pig's head in the food market there:
Here's my Swedish pig from 2005:
And here's my Munich pig from 2016:
In tiny Frielassing, where we had to drop off our rental car, we had dinner at a family-run, cozy restaurant. I made this sketch in the darkish interior, using dry Inktense pencils.
At the Naturhistoriches Museum in Vienna, I was compelled to sit and draw skeletons from the long- ago past.
Leaving Vienna for Munich again and our flight home, I drew this lovely woman at the Hauptbahnhof very early in the morning.
I admit that I have had mixed feelings about starting to write this post. My cheerful words and images seemed inappropriate at best. A few days after we returned home, 12 people were murdered in Berlin and 56 were injured at a Christmas market very like the ones we went to in Munich, Salzburg, and Vienna. I had, in fact, at first hesitated to return to Munich this year, after last year's terrorist events in Munich and other parts of Germany ...and elsewhere. In the end, I decided not to let fear guide our plans and so we went. We were lucky this time. Others, tragically, were not.
That we live in highly dangerous times is obvious to everyone. Hatred and violence manifest daily around the world. It is easy to feel hopeless and I often do. It is not a state of mind I can sustain and yet what is there to replace it with?
For my own comfort and with that stubborn human hope that, against all evidence and against all odds, there's a better world coming, I repeat to myself these words from the Buddhist Metta prayer, the prayer for lovingkindness:
May all beings everywhere be happy, be safe, and be free from suffering.
May all beings everywhere be at peace.
Love and peace to you.