In Brugge? Yes, it’s a fairytale thing

The unbearable heatwave in Amsterdam ended almost as soon as the ¬†Urban Sketchers Symposium’s closing ceremony, and I was thrilled to jump on a train and head to Belgium, with a stop in Antwerp, bound for Brugge. I’ll be honest I first learned about Brugge about ten years ago when the movie “In Brugge” came out, and knew immediately it was a town I wanted to see and explore, even though it was the butt of many jokes throughout the dark-ish yet hilarious-ish movie.

I was NOT disappointed! It was cloudy and cool when I arrived, and lucky me chose and Airbnb room equipped with a bike, which was the perfect method to travel about the area. I totally fell for medieval Brugge, enjoyed its history museum, the main plaza, the locally produced beer, and I will never, ever forget the incredible Belgium chocolate sold in about every third shoppe. Belgium has never really ranked on a “must-see” list, but now I’m scheming to find ways to return. It was lovely, delightful, gorgeous, so long as you stayed a step ahead of the throngs of tourists who arrive by the busload beginning about 10am, but by that time I was well on my way to see windmills and the beach-loving dachunds on the Netherland coast. Sunset in Brugge, which much like Amsterdam lasted about four hours, was a delightful time to watch the twinkling lights come alive in Brugge, as the horses clopped by, and the action turned local.

On my way to the airport, I stopped for an afternoon in Brussels, and as a good student of Rick Steves, I marched right into the Tourist Office to ask what should I see right here, right now. They told me the Royal Belgium Palace is only open to the public four weeks each each, and today was the first day, so they recommended I march right over — and oo-la-la I did march right over! I saw the Royal Belgium Palace in all its glory! After that, a quick handstand in the Grand Marketplace, followed by some mussels from Brussels and a gorgeous local beer, and then away I went.

Three days, that’s all I had, and I can’t wait to return. I see there’s an illustration workshop there early next year…. hey what a great idea, a sketch workshop IN BRUGGE … <3

Urban Sketchers Symposium 2019 Amsterdam

July, 2019 I finally attended my first Urban Sketchers Symposium, this year held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands –and it was amazing! The only downside was that there was a historic heatwave throughout all of Europe, and made it quite challenging to endure the long days spent sketching out in the streets. I stayed in an adorable attic apartment, but it was sweltering as well, so it was a crazy-hot and bright week. Would I do it again? IN A HEARTBEAT. Next year’s event will be held in Hong Kong, and it’s my intention to get my heiney and my sketchbook in HKG next April!

My photos and sketches from my time in sweltering Amsterdam, where I took the following workshops:

Memories of a City, Reportage with Veronica Lawlor
Amsterdam Rooftops with Hugo Costa
Urban Portraits with Marina Grechanik

A Portal Named San Diego

 

For some time now, I’ve been searching for a way to get back to the Mother Country, back into the fold, to expand my business, my network, my craft and career. Yet I kept coming up against a big fat stupid wall, and could see no clear path before me. The work I’ve done in Mexico has been like no other work; I’ve had monumental experiences with cattle ranching, butchering, and ethical meat like I never would in America, yet it has all whet my whistle to want to experience more — and become a stronger advocate. I’m extremely grateful to the people and places that have presented and provided opportunities in the past few years, ay Chihuahua what an education!

Somehow along the way while in Mexico, I lost contact with the family I once knew, and it’s been quite odd to no longer have a home nor place in America — anywhere in America. I’ve never been okay with this lack of status. Thankfully, I’ve come to know a vital and strong local community, and continue to meet new friends and allies within my sketching and ethical meat communities.

I’ve had a desire to get back to America for some time now, even as the country marinates in a strange orange hue. My schemes and dreams have often awakened me in the wee hours of the night, because I’m not ready to live full time in a retirement town. There’s still much more to sort out, yet I found a portal opportunity in San Diego, California — and I couldn’t be more delighted to cast the net in that direction.

I’ve been approved to teach “Sketch Balboa Park” as an Airbnb Experience, and I begin in May, as I will be there for an extended Memorial Day holiday. I’m excited to stay at a friend’s house and dog sit her brilliantly bouncy dog, Belle. I’m bringing Art Leap Adventures with me, as it’s time to make it a legit business and expand my efforts into America and market to a larger audience. I’ll to continue to organize sketch tours to Mexico, partner with more top-notch instructors, and explore the fascinating and diverse country that is Mexico.


It’s good to learn how to sketch, and I’ll continue to encourage people to do so. We all need a break from our screaming phones, no?

I am not abandoning my ethical meat and cattle welfare efforts; in fact I feel as though I’ve gone as far as I could in Mexico, and now it’s time to take it home. I continue to stay current with the Regenerative Agriculture communities of America, yet it’s certain more will be revealed when I’m on the ground. Meat is so mysterious in America, mostly fast and cheap, as is much of the food these days. Now it’s my turn to follow my own advice to find a local farmer and hold him or her tight — because I’ll need a local source for good clean meat and bones.


Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee I’m so excited to get back to America!