I have now been in Germany one month. I am drawing and painting on the street as a way to connect with the German people and their culture. I am meeting so many cool people this way. A lot of people sneak a peek as they walk by. Because I am usually sitting either on my fold up travel stool or right on the paving stones I'm eye level with the small children and it's often the children who tug their mothers in for a closer look. Sometimes a conversation ensues this way but more often it's usually just a soft "Schön" (nice) after a brief pause to look and they are on their way.
photo by Lisa Marie Wimmer
Today I had a young Turk named GökAy ( pronounced "Gek A") who kept me company for something like two or three hours while I drew the giant tower of St Martin's Church (said to be the largest brick tower in the world). At one point he excused himself only to come back a little later with two warm and creamy lattes for us to share. Off and on GökAy explained some of his personal spiritual beliefs which included reading a poem off his phone that he had written that morning. From time to time he would shift to speaking in low soft tones in a not Deutsch foreign language. I'm not sure if he was praying or making comments under his breath about the German girls passing us by. It was really cool to have his company while I was on the street today and also helpful because he took on the role of my interpreter when people stopped to talk (including two Muslim women with a child in a stroller). One of the women was asking if I would be will to do her portrait. I with out the help of my new friend I would have never known what this woman was trying to say.
Drawing what I see helps me to see because it causes me to pause. When I am paused to draw I begin to see what is really there (on a much deeper level) then would otherwise be possible had I just captured the image on my phone. Sometimes while I am drawing a particular view, I see a tourist pull out there phone and take a few pictures and then quickly move on. It only takes them an instant to capture the image that may take me three to four hours to draw. For me the drawing is the doorway into making a painting. The drawings and the paintings become a way for me to begin to build a relationship with a place which intern makes my life richer as well as it gives me something valuable to share, as well.