Sketches of Offenbach

Making sketches can be a useful way to understand buildings. One tends to notice more because concentration is granted to the subject. One slowly improves and gets to the end with more or less the correct number of doors and windows, no floors missing and the roof and the walls joining together.

Being in the street, drawing, is also a guarantee to get into conversations with all sorts of people (including helpful comments such as ‘you should get a ruler mate’ and ‘why don’t you just take a photograph?’).

The sketch at the bottom was done in the Marktplatz a week or so ago. A lovely early autumn evening. I had a long conversation with a woman who stopped her bike to see what I was doing. It was really the first proper conversation I have had in German. She told me some funny stories about the differences between Offenbach and Frankfurt (she is from the former, her husband from the latter).

The sketch above that is of the Klingspor Museum of Typography. I stood leaning on some railings on a Sunday morning. A man came towards me with what can be described as a ‘well-lived in face’. I must have given him a look of, ‘do you want money?’ and he made it clear that this was not his intention.

He described how he is an iron worker and pointed out intricate gates and railings he had worked on for the ‘Burgermeister’, working with ‘ein Pole und zwei Österreicher’. There was one word that I could not understand and he could not explain even when he had done an elaborate charade which had us both of us holding our sides with laughing. It looked to me like digging a trench, or burying something, or going underground.

He walked off but before he went round the corner he turned with a wide grin, waved his hand and said, ‘Peace, mein Herren’.

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