06. Madrid’s Shopfronts


February 7, 2021 “Escaparates de Madrid/Madrid’s Shopfronts”

Ulysses Jackson from Golden/QoR paints & Lydia Puertas, Joaquin Dorao and Angela Morales from USK Madrid

Episode six was two shows in one, featuring Golden/QoR paints and USk Madrid’s reportage project. It was also in two languages – Spanish and English!

Golden and QoR

First, Ulysses Jackson joined us from Upstate New York (US) to tell us all about QoR, Golden’s watercolor paint. He gave a brief chemistry lesson about their watercolor binder, Aquazol, and how it differs from the traditional watercolor binder gum arabic, with more controllable properties that enable you to use watercolor in different ways.

We learned about some special colors, such as their titanium white; it stays white because it does not contain gum arabic, which can give white paint a brownish tint. Ulysses suggests mixing QoR titanium white with any color to achieve a gouache-like effect.

Learn more about QoR watercolors and their properties, as well as other Golden products, at their newsletter site, justpaint.org.

USk Reportage Grant

USk Education Director Rita Sabler joined us to help translate for our USk Madrid guests, but first told us about an exciting new opportunity, the Urban Sketchers Reportage Grant. USk is offering a small monetary award to develop your idea for a project that tells a story and inspires our community. Visit this link for more information and send your proposals by 1 May, 2021.

USk Madrid – Historic Storefronts

Lydia Puertas, Joaquin Dorao, and Angela Morales, members of USk Madrid, joined us to talk about their reportage project documenting the disappearing historic storefronts of Madrid. It’s an important project that captures the local culture of Madrid and shows what an Urban Sketcher community can do when we work together.

Since November 2019 the group, consisting of about 40 to 50 people, sketched at least 50 locations around the city. They wanted to show how these historic businesses contribute to the look and feel of the city.

They showed their sketches of unique storefronts of some businesses that have been passed from generation to generation, some painted a characteristic red that originally showed where red wine was sold, and most of the stores that they captured were at least 100 years old. Each of their sketches tells a unique story, like a sketch of chocolateria San Ginés, in operation since 1894 and open 24 hours (in non-pandemic times), and the historic popularity of hot chocolate. Visit USk Madrid’s Instagram account, @USkMadrid, for many more sketches and stories.

Interviewing Shop Owners

As part of this project, Angela interviewed shop owners to learn more about the businesses and their history, such as a 101-year-old art supply store, Bellas Artes, one of the few remaining artisanal paint stores. Angela talked about how visiting these shops and talking to shop owners her whole life contributed to her understanding of the local culture and helped shape who she is.
You can see these interviews on YouTube.

USk Madrid’s project – looking at and documenting historic places and making others aware of them – is an important part in preservation. Since the pandemic started, three of the bookstores they sketched have closed. They documented the memory of these places in their sketches, and they are working with others to preserve the historic shopfronts that remain.

Challenge: Hunting for Historical Shop Fronts

For their challenge, they want you to find the oldest shopfront that you can in your community, a place that is part of the cultural history that you can sketch safely and weather permitting.

When you share your USk Talks Challenge sketches on Instagram, use the hashtags #usktalks and #usktalkschallenge and tag @USkMadrid.

Go to Instagram to follow the #usktalks and #usktalkschallenge hashtags, and all of our guests:

Ulysses Jackson @Goldenpaints
Lydia Puertas @PuertasLydia
Joaquin Dorao @JoaquinGonzalezDorao

Angela Morales @GarciaAngelaMorales

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