Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The JKPP meetup in Barcelona

Some JKPP members and friends had a great time in Barcelona on the first weekend of July. It was at the third European meet of Julia Kay's Portrait Party group, after the one that took place in London in November 2010 and the second one in Oxford, in March 2011.

This time the gathering was at La Central, a bookshop located in the center of the city, with a beautiful café and a peaceful terrace.

"lasagna" is cooling off.
The group at the bookshop terrace, photo by Joan Ramon Farré Barzuri

The portrait party was held on Saturday the 2nd July, but as some of the visitors were already in Barcelona, on Friday evening there was a dinner by the sea.

On the big day, we were a nice bunch. From Barcelona: Magí Batet, Arturo Espinosa, Joan Ramon Farré Burzuri, Arsaytoma (Zoraida de Torres), Swasky (Víctor Martínez Escámez), and some of Swasky's students at a local art school: Míriam, Pedro, Trini (Tinitru), Isaac and Daniel. From other Spanish cities: Miguel RGL and Félix Tamayo, and from other countries: Kai, who came from Germany, Barbara Luel from Belgium, Erica Smith and Susanne du Toit from UK, and Judy Repke who arrived from the US after having attended a watercolor workshop in Costa Brava. At the party we had a few visitors who had learnt about it on USk-Spain blog, and they did some portraits too. At least one of them has recently became a new member of JKPP (Javier Luengo).

It was a happy and busy day. We spent all the morning making portraits from life, some of us discovering that it is much more difficult than from photos. Swasky, who was there as a teacher, knew how to organize the posing sessions in a way that everyone could be portraited and attempt fast and less fast portraits. It was really interesting to see that some people preferred to draw from 5 minute poses, others felt more confortable with 10 minute poses, and others asked for more time to finish their work. Each one was using their preferred media: watercolors, pastels, pen and ink, graphite, digital painting... and the results make an amazingly diverse and lively collection. We were inside a classroom, a slideshow of JKPP portraits and photos was projected on a wall, and everybody was focused and silent, so there was a special atmosphere that surprised the people who came to see us.

JKKP Barcelona - the painted wall
The painted wall, photo by Arsaytoma

Also, one of the bookshop owners offered us to paint whatever we wanted on one of the classroom walls. As Judy had big brushes and plenty of watercolor, a few began to paint and now there is a nice mural inside La Central, with the portraits of some of the attendees, plus Julia Kay who was there in spirit and image (with the balloon hat), and Franz Kafka who was there in image (among the posters decorating the classroom) and maybe in spirit too.

Most of us didn't leave the bookshop on the entire day. We had lunch there, and on the afternoon we had coffee at the terrace and made more portraits of each other.

It was planned to add an urban sketching session on Sunday. There was an USk Spain event in Teruel the same weekend, so not much people could come, but we managed to have a good morning anyway with Swasky, Kai, Erica, Barbara, Arsaytoma, Joan Ramon, his brother and his nephew. We went to the port, and once more it was shown that just a few people watching the same thing can produce interestingly diverse works - and have the same fun!

Some of the foreign visitors left Barcelona on Sunday, others stayed a couple of days more... for all of them, and for the people from Barcelona too, the JKPP gathering was a nice short vacation and a good opportunity to practice portraiting from life and make lots of drawings, and of course, to meet each other and talk in a real way, not only through the Internet.

Hope there can be more JKPP meets soon. Maybe in Brussels, as Barbara suggested?

There is a Flickr group about the Barcelona JKPP meetup. You can find here photos, videos, the portraits and sketches made during the wekend, and also the artworks made by other JKPP members who did not attend the meetup.


  1. My congratulations for a magnificient explanation and description about two intense and unforgettable days, between magnificent artists and friends.

  2. Wonderful description of events that made me feel part of what happened in Barcelona and determined to get to Brussels!

  3. Great description of what was the meeting in Barcelona. The work environment and friendship was wonderful. Realize that behind every virtuality character there is a real person, it was fascinating.