© Copyright 2018 Brenda Swenson retains copyrights to all artwork. All images on this site are property of Brenda Swenson and may not be used in any way for commercial, financial or personal without prior written consent. All Rights Reserved for republication (printed and digital) and anything but personal viewing of artworks on this site.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Sketches and Memories of Barcelona and Costa Brava

I’ve been home from Spain/Catalonia almost two months. Where has the time gone! Before anymore time slips by I want to share my trip, thoughts and sketches with you. 

My trip was broken into 3 phases: playtime in Barcelona, Workshop #1 May 15-22, Workshop #2 May 22-29.

May 10th my journey began. After a long flight I arrived in Barcelona. Cris, a fellow sketcher and dear friend flew in from Portugal at the same time. We got our luggage (always relieved when it arrives) and headed to the hotel. Once checked in we took off walking around the city of Barcelona. I was beyond tired but the joy of being in this magnificent city kicked in (along with caffeine) and we explored the city for a few hours. One of the first shops I visited was a pen shop…no surprise here! 

Cris and I had 4 full days in Barcelona. We walked our little legs off visiting many of Antoni Gaudí’s beautiful buildings, Park Güell, museums, parks, shops…and sketching along the way.  One day we walked more than 8 miles. Our final day in Barcelona was Mother’s Day. Moments likes these remind me how far I am from home and those I love. Cris and I celebrated each other as women & mom’s by going out to dinner at a fun tapas restaurant. A couple calls and text from home warmed my heart.

Overview of the  two workshops:
I was joined by 10 woman and Jackie Grandchamps. Jackie is the owner French Escapade. This was my 5th workshop with her. She’s absolutely amazing! Everything runs smooth and seamless. From Barcelona the group was taken to Costa Brava. Within a couple hours everyone was checked into their rooms. Jackie took us on a walking tour of the small village, pointed out points of interest, restaurants, shops… welcome dinner in a beautiful restaurant with a view of the beautiful small village and the sea. I’ve never seen a prettier sea.

Each day we started with a tasty breakfast and by 9:15 we were headed out for a day of sketching and exploring. All the locations were varied and beyond beautiful. Everything was close…so no long rides in a van. Each day I did a demo. Afterwards I walked around and checked on the group to see how everyone was doing. By 4:00 we were back at the hotel. We had a couple hours to relax, shop, swim, sketch…before dinner. Oh my gosh…dinners were amazing!!!! Not only was the food varied, fresh and tasty it was sooooo pretty. 

Between sketching and painting we had opportunities to know each better through play, shopping, conversations, hikes, giggles…and being downright silly!  I have wonderful memories from the time spent in the company of these intelligent, witty, talent women.

After 19 days it was time for this gal to head on home. Trying to get everything back inside my suitcases (and a few treasures) is always a challenge. I arrived home just before midnight on May 29th. I was greeted by the man I love and a big hug. It’s always good to come home.

During the trip I did 28 sketches…some ink, watercolor and pencil. Here’s my “Sketchbook Tour of Spain/Catalonia” click on the video. If you have a problem getting it to play click on this link: Sketchbook Video

If you’d like to join me at one of my workshops in the U.S. or if you’d like to join me in Tuscany next year check out my Workshop Schedule here. 

Happy Sketching! 

I have 100's of photos but I'll leave you with a few of these smiling faces.


  1. Hi Brenda,

    Reading your blog and wathing your sketch book video leaves me amazed and inspiring at the same time. I loved the colour of the print of chameleon(or was it a lizard) on the cover page of one of your sketch book.

    Needless to mention that all the art pages were outstanding. I am sure you had a great time sketching those.

    I wish I could also sketch like you and experience the bliss.



    1. TC, Thank you for your kind and encouraging words!