Thursday, September 24, 2009

Armchair travel

12 R. das Quelnas, Lisbon, Portugal

I'm slow on catching up with the rest of the world sometimes so have only recently discovered Google Street View and an opportunity to combine art into technology.

The Virtual Paintout is hosted by Bill Guffey and consists of choosing a city a month and letting people explore it, choose a view, paint or draw it then have it posted on the VP blog.

Its easy to get lost (literally and figuratively) in these cities. As you explore narrow streets, view local sculpture and scenic spots, its difficult to decide on a particular place as they all have appeal.

September's city is Lisbon, Portugal. After much exploring I came across this stone outbuilding in the older part of town and couldn't resist a pen and ink drawing of it to capture the feel in black and white. I felt that colour would bring it too far into the present day somehow.

Anyone over 40 from St. John's will be quite familiar with the White Fleet. Until the early 70's the Portuguese fishing fleet would leave Portugal for a season's voyage, or a campanha, to fish off the Grand Banks. The fleet was known as the White Fleet because all the ships were painted white. Many of the sailors in the fleet were fine musicians who brought their instruments ashore or played on the boats tied up in the harbour.

Portugal and Newfoundland have had strong ties for more than 400 years through the fishery. In the 1960's and early 70', the waterfront was lined five deep with the Portugese White Fleet and downtown St. John's became cosmopolitan with Portugese fisherman speaking a language few knew, their olive colouring a stark contrast to the sun starved inhabitants of this island.

...The launching of the new ship also marked the quincentennial celebration of the Portuguese presence in the waters off Newfoundland. There were celebratory masses. The St. John's film council organized a special film festival for the fishermen, with showings of the films "Portuguese Grand Bankers" and "Portuguese Golden Beaches," with announcements printed in both the Portuguese and English language. The festivities ended when a parade of 4,000 Portuguese fishermen marching to the Basilica of St. John the Baptist bearing a three-and-a-half foot high statue of Our Lady of Fatima, a gift of gratitude and friendship intended as a holy link between the two peoples. A statue of Gaspar Corte-Real also stands looking out to sea, in remembrance of the Corte-Real brothers' 1501 and 1502 exploration of these coastal waters, to which they ultimately lost their lives...

White Fleet ship saved from scrapyard
Portuguese company now owns two historic fishing vessels

The St. John's Telegram article says:

Pascoal & Filhosa fish company - in an emotional dockside delivery - took possession weeks ago of the Argus - one of the final four surviving members of the Portuguese White Fleet.

The fish company has strong family ties to the White Fleet and now owns two White Fleet vessels. The other - called the Santa Maria Manuela - is undergoing complete restoration at a Spanish shipyard. The company plans to sail the Santa Maria Manuela to Newfoundland in 2010 to celebrate Portugal's ties to St. John's and the Newfoundland fishery.
So 12 R. das Quelnas now has a place in my heart and I will be back there to see more and draw more, even if only from the comfort of my chair for now.


"JeanneG" said...

I just found the site about a week ago and spent quite some time browsing. I wasn't too good at it tho. Kept hitting the same streets over and over again. I guess better to get lost online than in person.

Maree said...

Hi Jeanette, I've also been exploring it for a couple of months now, and also keep hitting the same streets or get views from above or below - confusing but very interesting! Have tried a couple, but nothing fantastic.

Maree said...

Meant to say your sketch is lovely - you had a good view to sketch from.

Jeanette said...

I'm not sure why you'd both keep getting the same streets over and over. If you move the little yellow peg man, he will go where you put him, provided there are blue lines showing that the area has been mapped.

If it isn't a mapped area you put the pegman on, he will go back to the previous spot. Perhaps that may be your problem.

You control your view by clicking on the arrows in the control just below where you find the pegman. That will allow you view view left, right, up and down. Use your mouse to move up or down the street on the white line as indicated.

The further outside the city you go, the less interesting it is - to me anyway. I like the narrow streets and old architecture.

DEB said...

VERY nice! I always get sucked into this challenge, and I spend hours with my little man wandering around the google map, with street views popping up. I swear this is one of the scenes I contemplated. I actually settled on some freeways criss-crossing that I'm working on now, but this is a very inviting scene, and you've rendered it beautifully!

Jeanette said...

Thanks Deb. It is easy to wander forever in these cities. I love exploring. There are so many interesting views to draw. I have to try something in paint now.

Gary said...

Nice rendering Jeanette - I like your decision of no color. I was already well hooked by Google Street View - so I was ready when Ann told me about these challenges!

Leslie Hawes said...

Thanks for telling us about this. I am a Street view junkie, yet I hadn't discovered it for anything outside the US. I now have my passport...

Anonymous said...

Jeannette, oooh, the White Fleet! I remember as a child, sitting in Bowrings restaurant in August with my mother and looking out on the harbourfront at the boats tied up four and five abreast---this was common in hurricane season, when the White Fleet would take refuge in port. The fisherman enjoyed their unexpected shore leave getting up impromptu games of football, aka soccer, along the harbour apron.

Good memories of a way of life now, alas, vanished.

Cate in Dundee