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June 22, 2009
Urban meets nature in Catalina Somolinos sketches
Oviedo, Spain: Birds fly around San Isidoro church, which dates from the 16th century.
Interview by Isabel Fiadeiro
USk Nouakchott, Mauritania [blog]
Catalina Somolinos graduated in architecture and has been working in architects studios and as a freelance ilustrator since then. She's torn between becoming a full time illustrator or going back to college to study landscape design. She lives in Asturias, Spain. Her sketches are very experimental, using different papers and tools. And her attention goes from huge views of cities to tiny insects on a field.
I've been following your work and I realise that most of your sketches are from rural environments, there will be animals, birds, insects, flowers, lots of mushrooms as well as landscapes. You even told me that you rather draw the countryside than the city. What makes you turn to the urban scape?
This is difficult to answer. I think it is just a matter of “instinct”. As you say, I am much more of a countryside sketcher. When I turn to urban it is always because I find a piece of wilderness, whether some nature caught in the city, or loud voices of memories and history talking somewhere. I like to draw lively things. And I find that new towns or recent urban sites have nothing to say, they're kind of “still lives.” Maybe that is also the reason why I don’t feel too comfortable working as a regular architect.
Catalina likes to take on similar subjects with different media to keep trying new techniques.
You use different papers and techniques. What do you always carry in your bag?
I always carry a little homemade sketchbook with different papers I like, a pencil, ball pen or ink pen, and maybe two or three color pencils. And then, when I am certain that I will go to a place where I'll have more time and a special theme to draw, I take my tiny watercolor box, brush, and a little pot for water. I pick up a sketchbook of thicker paper, and sometimes I also bring the oil pastels, which I really like because of their soft texture. I like to try every technique so that I'm learning all the time. I love watercolor because it's easy to transport and a fast way of catch atmospheres and lights. And because it's always a challenge and I never master it, which keeps me very excited each time I use it!
Who do you look at for inspiration?
I admire all the great painters from the beginning of landscape painting: French, Netherlanders, etc. Also the Golden Age of Spanish painters, from the 16 to the 17th centuries. Every good art is inspiring. But when I am drawing, I always have in mind a book I am reading, a melody I am listening to... Music is actually a big inspiration. It can move your hand and your heart as it moves your body.
• Catalina's blog.
• Catalina's art on Flickr.