[by Swasky in Barcelona, Catalonia] Now it is a few years ago that I go to the Sketchcrawl and my experience has been changing. We started being 3 or 5 people and we have ended up being normally about 60 or 70 people. The most that we have met was about 500 people on the Sketchcrawl which coincided with the symposium in Barcelona, three years ago, but it is not the standard amount of people, fortunately. For me many people are too much, few people are good, although 60 or 70 people who came latter Sketchcrawl was fine. In the end, always, everything is a matter of organization, and people was around, coming and leaving, all day long.
Santi Sallés proposed to do this in Plaza Catalunya to draw a landmark. We know this could be the worst place for a "Barceloner", all full of tourists, pigeons and balloon sellers. But in the end it was not that bad. At first we got started and we were about 30 people and increasing till lunch.
For me Plaça Catalunya is a place linked to my childhood, when I was a little kid my parents brought me and took a picture of me feeding the pigeons, I think all "Barceloners" has got a picture like this one. It is a good memory, and even today is still done. Now I see pigeons otherwise, like little beggars. Now people take pictures with "selfie" sticks and the Plaza has become a place where street vendors sell goods, usually CD's or fake luxury bags. The vendors are known as "top manta" because they display their goods on top of a rug ("manta" in Spanish.) Many of them are from Pakistan. Everything has changed, but nothing has changed. Same context, different characters.
Balloons are a children trap, do not miss those of TV characters as "Pocoyo" (only known in Spain, but you can imagine that he is like Dora "the explorer") or Disney princesses, of course "SpongeBob" and other essential animals like lions or elephants. Again pigeons going around, everywhere, begging for food.
On the left, parish of Santa Anna from Sta. Anna's Street. Right, sculpture in Barcelona Frederic Mares.
Once we drew along the early hours in Plaza Catalunya we headed to the parish of Sta. Ana, hidden but not anymore. About 3 years ago they began to charge admission to visit the Romanesque cloister. Since then I have not re-entered. I do not want to enter into the eternal and sterile debate if Barcelona is for tourists or for locals, it is clear that long ago Barcelona doesn't belong anymore to its inhabitants, as all major European cities, Barcelona, London or Paris, they have fallen into the tour operators hands.
Parish of Sta. Anna. Detail of the facade partially illuminated. Some clueless tourists overlook.
After lunch an entire group, with new people and people who have long participated into the Sketchcrawl, returned to the Plaza de Catalunya to continue drawing. I wanted to draw some of the sculptures that are around the square. The one which captures my attention is one done by Frederic Marès. Life is strange, days before I learned that the sculptor was born in the town of Portbou, where I will run a workshop with Santi.
The sculpture represents a young woman, Barcelona, on a horse with her arms raised and holding a ship, representing the past and present of maritime trade of the city. This commercial aspect is reinforced with the figure of Mercury "god of Roman mythology, who was the messenger of the gods,  protector of trade, son of Jupiter and Maia Maiestas. He was a god important business, profits and trade. Its name is related to Merx-rcis, merchandise, article, gender. " (Source Wikipedia).