Meet the Correspondent: Luis Ruiz > Malaga, Spain$show=/search/label/Luis%20Ruiz

"Since I was a child, I have always loved drawing. As an architect, I was trained to sketch on site in my first year of my studies. I have always considered sketching a wonderful tool in my job to understand things, more in the field of spatial relations than in their material aspect. On the other hand, I have always brought a sketchbook with me in my travels as a much more effective way of keeping a memory than a photograph. But lately my travel sketches tended to be too few and too quick. I have recently found Urban Sketchers, and then discovered the immense joy of sketching outside with no particular task. Reading Usk’s manifesto, I feel especially sensitive with the point of keeping a record of time and place, and I’m changing from sketching just architecture to understand the city as a big scenario for human activity. I live in Málaga, a city in the south of Spain with more than half a million residents and 2,500 years of age; but also the center of a busy and lively metropolitan area, home of an active harbour and a big tourist destination. Now that I have two small children and I do not travel as much as before, I’m trying to show this mixture of old and new in my drawings. It is so rewarding to share my work with so many excellent artists and receive continuous feedback from other members! And, last but not least, to learn from other parts of the world. I'm delighted to join Urban Sketchers." • Luis' art on flickr.

As Happy as a Toy Donkey

by Róisín Curé in Galway

Today is International Winnie The Pooh day, which makes the following anecdote appropriate.

One day it's Eeyore's birthday, but neither Pooh nor Piglet have a present for him. "All I have is this jar of honey," says Pooh, "but I'd better have a taste, to make sure it's all right." "I'm giving him a balloon!" says Piglet, very excited. Off they set with their gifts, but by the time they get to Eeyore's house, the jar is empty and the balloon is burst, now just a damp scrap. Piglet and Pooh feel terrible. Eeyore, however, is delighted, and spends the whole day in bliss, taking the burst balloon out of the jar, putting it back in again, and on and on, all day long, as content as could be.

That's what I'm like with my paints at the moment. Rearranging, taking colours out, putting them back in, swapping them into different paintboxes. Staring at them a bit, then doing it all again. I thought I was all done, and in a half-hearted attempt to tidy my desk I threw an empty box of Boules Quies into the bin. If you are not familiar with those, Boules Quies are light pink balls of wax covered in cotton wool which are used as ear plugs, and they come in a little plastic box. Suddenly I saw the box in a new light: it was the perfect size to hold watercolour half-pans, and in my current state of mind this was a very exciting thought. I carefully chose the colours I thought would comprise the range that would suit me, and filled the little box.

Off I went to collect the children later this afternoon, deliberately setting out nearly an hour earlier than necessary, driving the three minutes or so to the bus stop, where I broke out the new paints.

I have painted this scene about seven times, at different times of the year. I didn't have a winter one and in many ways it's my favourite time of year, not, of course, for the weather, but for the muted colours that conjure up Heathcliff and Cathy and all kinds of stormy, romantic imagery.

The colours in my tiny new box are yellow ochre, cadmium red light, lemon yellow, sepia, Moonglow by Daniel Smith, phthalo green, Opera Pink by Daniel Smith and Prussian blue. Those were based on what I thought I would need and what was hanging around with my spares, and certainly today I didn't miss anything. Instead of indigo or Payne's grey I mixed Moonglow with Prussian blue and it was fine.

The box was perfectly satisfactory: the colours were fine and the lid made a perfect palette. The entire kit and caboodle, including a very small sketchbook, can fit in my back pocket.

No more taking out and putting back's time to paint. For now.


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As Happy as a Toy Donkey
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