Even before I left the UK, the weather forecasters were saying that my first and main teaching day was going to be dreadful weather. They predicted heavy rain. I had one 3.5 hour workshop first thing and another all afternoon. My allocated spot was lovely - a grassy area by the harbour, with colourful boats...
...and of course, the lovely houses we found everywhere, with brightly coloured windows and doors. I guided my group there on Thursday morning and found a nice shady spot under a tree, where I briefed them in and did a very quick demo of simple colour-before-line sketch (you can read more about the specific exercises of the workshop in my post about the dry-run I did in Sheffield):
We were SO lucky. I was one of the few instructors whose workshop spot had a rain bolt-hole. There was a lot of flapping and squealing and scrabbling around, gathering up gear, but we all made it under the cover of the empty fish-market before any damage was done.
It was a bit grubby, but housed us all easily and we had views out, so that was fine.
All around us the rain came down and thunder boomed above our heads. It all added a certain drama and we had a great time. It was a lovely group. The 3 different colour exercises went well and everyone one worked really hard. I briefed in the last one with a slightly longer demo piece:
I had been concerned about having enough time, but my spot was so close to the Casa da Cultura that I even had a little time left over at the end of the workshop and so did a quick demo of how to use the watercolour pencils, by drawing Ievgen:
Then we took this lovely group shot. Big smiles all round. Excellent.
After lunch, I met group number 2 back at the Casa de Cultura. But as soon as we got outside, we realised we had a problem. Though my spot was just around the corner, there was no crossing the road - it was like Venice!
Now, we had already noticed that Paraty has an unusual relationship with the tides. The streets are all created from huge stones and dip in the middle, enabling the sea to flow in and out. This would originally have been a great way to clean the streets twice daily.
This is more how it usually looks at high tide, an easy paddle, with crossing places at high points:
But that day there was a freak, extra-high tide and things went a bit crazy. All the instructors were in the same boat, trailing crocodiles of sketchers down the narrow pavements, trying to find a way to get to where they needed to be:
It took my group about 15 minutes and in the end involved us walking along the top of a narrow harbour wall, an inch under-water in places, with sea either side! The sky was about to burst again, so we headed back to the fish market. I did my quickie demo again, then people got painting. A few worked out on the grass, but we suddenly realised: the water was still rising and they were now cut off from the rest of us!
They paddled through to join us before things got worse but, 5 minutes later, we saw it was STILL rising and was about to inundate the floor of the fish market. So the whole group had to paddle back out onto the grass again, where we finished the workshop on our own island. Some people were fretting about ever getting back to civilisation! It was all a bit distracting, but I soldiered on, knowing the tide would go back out eventually. Luckily it wasn't raining, but it was now really windy and we were all freezing (dressed for Brazil, not Sheffield!!).
We managed to do all the exercises, despite everything (although I completely forgot to take photos) but, as soon as we were able, we got ourselves into a cafe to warm up. It was a slightly ragged end to the workshop, but quite an experience all round.
Luckily my Saturday morning slot was normal - nice, sunny, Brazil weather, no floods.
It was so lovely to sit on the grass to do my demo:
I had some really lovely feedback from people about the workshop and the handouts I'd created so, despite a certain amount of interesting adversity, in the end I think it was all a big success. Phew.
Here I am with my 'sunshine' group:
Thanks to everyone who opted for my workshop (I always worry slightly that nobody will...). I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did and picked up at least something from my package of colour tips. I miss you all!