Illustration: Watercolor and gouache on 12″x 8.5″ watercolor paper, “Harbor of Konstanz”, by Black Elephant Blog author (2017)
They say that for the best views of Konstanz (in the south of Germany on the border with Switzerland), you need to be on the water. The views from Konstanz, however, seem equally remarkable to me, especially in the changing light at the end of the day. Recently I sat right down to make a sketch, fascinated with the lemony tinge of the treetops in the evening sunlight and the sailboats in the distance. Later I made a watercolor of the same scene, experimenting with some watercolor paper made in Germany. (A great deal of art material we’ve come to expect actually comes from Germany, home of many types of inks, watercolor brushes and the Lamy fountain pen.)
Konstanz is a great city for walking around, and almost everyone here seems to go to work by bike or bus. The city is nearly surrounded by water, the air is fresh and mild, with nice breezes coming off of Lake Constance, or the “Bodensee” in German. Three countries border on this vast lake: Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. You can see mountain peaks blending with clouds in the distance, and know you are looking at Austria or Switzerland. This is a great jumping off point for explorations by ferryboat to the many sights around the lake, including the island of Mainau (pronounced “my-now”) with its semi-tropical atmosphere, palm trees, and an ornate hilltop palace built by Swedish nobility that can be seen from far away. I’ll save all that for a future post though. The hordes of tourists reportedly over-running Venice this summer are absent here. There is no shortage of sight-seers on the ferries but the crowds are manageable. In short, it’s no wonder this area has long attracted writers, artists, travelers, sailing enthusiasts–and people seeking to relax in the many spas around Lake Constance.
Illustration: Pen-and-ink sketch of the Stadtgarten, as seen from the Harbor of Konstanz, Germany, July 2017 by Black Elephant Blog author