So I started my self-appointed Stadtkünstler (city artist) odyssey: painting ‘en plein air’ in the Bern Altstadt, because no one else would want the job.

I must admit up front that I cheat. My ex-colleagues from Ontinue bought me a portable beamer (German slang for a video projector) as a retirement gift because I mentioned I was laying a piece of paper over my monitor to trace photographs - because I’m shit at perspective and freehand drawing. With the beamer, I project a photograph onto a piece of paper and easily outline the image into a passable pencil sketch from which to start. Then I either paint directly on the pencil sketch or apply waterproof ink with a fine-tipped old school nib pen.

For this painting, it’s the latter. There’s quite a lot of detail, and I try to retain the fidelity, but there are obvious mistakes in execution. If the intent is to make a visual for someone who has never been there, watercolor has obviously been replaced by photography. But, if the intent is to give someone a feel for the place based on the artists perception, then … still not. It would take me a while to add the skills necessary to pull that off. And that’s the challenge.

Data Description
Title Hotelgasse
Artist Derrick Oswald
Medium Watercolour and ink on acid-free, cellulose, fine-grained, natural-white paper
Dimensions (w × h cm) 42 × 27.7
Date 2023

watercolour of Hotelgasse in Bern Switzerland looking north

original photograph of Hotelgasse



A Canadian electrical engineer living in Switzerland, developing software for over 40 years, e.g. big data for electric distribution utilities and the cloud security space, but now retired.

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