Category: Germany

Germany – Saxony

I spent two weeks in Germany with family and had a wonderful time. The sun shone throughout the holiday (with the exception of one sudden downpour) We rented accommodation on campsites. The first was just outside Dresden so we travelled around the area. Highlights included Moritzburg with it’s beautiful fairytale castle. It was once a hunting lodge and there are many references. So many stags heads on the walls.  I did a number of drawings changing view points and perspective. Initially I sketched in my small moleskin and then got bigger. I was using pastels and watercolour and marker pens.

2 km down the road is the stunning Pheasant House. When I arrived it was late afternoon and it was closed (hence the closed shutters). Still a very pretty pink castle and I really liked the sculptures in the gardens.  The castle was named after the surrounding Little Pheasant Garden.

Nearby is Saxony’s only lighthouse. It’s tiny!

Spent some time relaxing on the campsite. I don’t think I’d ever drawn a caravan til now. So many different trees: Pines, spruces, beech and oak.

On another occasion we visited Domburg. In the blazing heat I sketched the gardens and pretty castles. Very picturesque and lots of amazing roses.

Also had a day trip to Prague which was a two hour drive from where we were staying. Always wanted to visit since I saw INXS’s Never Tear Us Apart video. Loved Michael Hutchence! Twenty years later I made it there. Clearly so much has changed since then. Spent most of the time walking around the city to get a feel for the city. So beautiful.  Once we had a break and a beer I took the opportunity to do a couple of small sketches of Charles Bridge (Karelsbrug) which was heaving with tourists when we crossed it.


Spent a relaxing week in Germany and some time in the Rhineland. Weather was variable – snow, sleet, rain and a little sunshine! Not ideal for drawing outside but grabbed a few moments. Here are a couple of drawings from Saarburg. Loved the hilly landscape and St Laurentius church standing tall. Interesting to see all the surrounding Mosselle vineyards. Very picturesque (even in the rain!)

We spent a sunny day in Bonn and took a break in the Bonn University botanical gardens. Very distinctive pollarded trees lined a path towards the main building and lots of students and young families relaxed on the lawns. This time I had some help from my assistant.

On our last day, we visited Cologne. I could have spent alot more time here. Museum Ludwig is very close to the stunning Cathedral. Amazed at how quiet it was. A fantastic selection of work by Picasso and German Expressionist painters. The view from the second floor was also very good so I got my pens out and drew the view towards the Rhine river and Hohenzollern bridge.

I often do a couple of drawings. A small one and then a larger drawing if I have time. It was nearing closing time and I had a warden standing over me so I had to be quick!

Aachen, Germany

Visited the historical town of Aachen in west Germany at the weekend. Wanted to get in the Christmas spirit and headed to the Christmas market there. Thousands had the same idea! Very crowded but enjoyed seeing the impressive cathedral and city hall. Squeezed in a sketch before looking at the arts and crafts and sampling food from the different stalls. Couldn’t leave without eating wurst and mulled wine.

Cologne, Germany

Saturday was spent in Cologne, Germany. Parked centrally and walked to the Cathedral, unmissable with it’s distinctive twin towers. We joined the large number of visitors to view the impressive interior with it’s large, colourful stain glass windows, particularly beautiful on such a sunny day.

Walked along the path leading to the zoo and took a cable car to get a good view of the city. The cable cars seat 2 (4 at a squeeze) and the ascent was bumpy. My heart was in my mouth when we swung over the river Rhine and motorway! Fortunately, the view made up for my acrophobia. I managed to do a quick sketch above the Rheinpark towards the Hohenzollern bridge.

On return to terra ferma, we walked through the sculpture park and I did a quick sketch of the view towards the centre of town.

I noticed a banner for the Kathe Kollwitz museum. Its slightly hidden away on the top floor of a small shopping centre. I wasn’t expecting to be the only visitor and enjoyed having the freedom to look and ponder. Much of Kollwitz’s work dating from 1901 til 1941 is preoccupied with the theme of death, war and social justice. Her drawings are incredibly moving. Often they show people in dispair and the strength of her drawing, espcially hands and faces, makes them so powerful.  I really like her wood cuts and etchings particularly her self portraits and mother and child pictures.

After stopping off at a cafe next to the St Aposteln church and walking in the shopping area, we sat in Fischmarkt square with a beer.  I sketched the Medieval townhouses and the 13th century Great St Martins Benedictine church. It’s a fun place to hang out. Great atmosphere!


Last weekend I had a great time in Hamburg. We hopped on the U-Bahn and headed into the centre of town. It was raining so first stop KunstHalle. There’s currently an exhibition of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938). I’m not going to mince my words- it was fantastic! Definitely in my top 5 exhibitions.  The retrospective includes paintings and many prints. Wonderful lithographs, wood cuts and etchings. His work is so spontaneous and expressive capturing Berlin street scenes and even snowy moutain views.

There is also an extensive permanent art collection including a modern art gallery with work by Max Beckmann and Picasso.

Kirchner lithograph 1913

Afterwards, we stopped for coffee and a quick sketch.

There’s amazing architecture past and present in Hamburg. The Chile house designed by architect Fritz Hoger is really eye catching. Built in 1922, it looks like an ocean liner.


After arriving in Berlin, we hopped on the 100 bus. Beware of low ceiling on top deck. Berlin buses aren’t as big as london buses! Jumping off at the Bauhaus museum we enjoyed some of the design work on display (produced at the Bauhaus from 1919 until 1932). With tutors such as Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky and Josef Albers, it must have been an amazing place to study. Much of the work is recognised as design classics today. The Miles Van der Rohe chair a personal favourite. It’s easy to spend as much time in the shop as the exhibition. There are some lovely objects but they don’t come cheap!

Another favourite tourist hot spot is what’s left of the Berlin Wall . The most interesting part now has murals painted by international artists. The trabant cars that line the road are also eye catching. I crouched down to do a quick sketch. As soon as I started drawing, a bus load of tourists pulled up behind me and flocked around the car. I think they must have thought it was special. I hastily finished my drawing and moved on . . .

Here’s a sketch I did whilst waiting for the train back to Potsdam.