the art of ruddell

When I travel I always make a point of walking around an area and soaking up the atmosphere, no matter how little time I have.

We arrived late one night in Berlin, had a meeting in the morning and a flight back to UK in the afternoon . . I still took a walk before breakfast and drank in the historic atmosphere. I was knackered, but those memories and photos remain . . I caught up on my sleep a long time ago!

South America . . and ten hours into the journey to Brasilia we have left the coastal mountain ranges behind as the sun is rising on the central plateau some 1860 feet above sea level. .

the Itapemirim sleeper coaches pull into a rest stop and we tuck in to some scrumptous misto quente sandwiches!!

we have stopped by the Três Marias lake in the state of Minas Gerais; a sharp contrast to the forests and mountains at the start of our journey

a family I meet on the journey invite me to dinner in Brasilia, and then taxi me round all the architectural wonders that are on my six hour visit bucket list!!

the Brazilian National Congress, just part of the city's amazing architecture by Oscar Niemeyer

The beautiful Palácio da Alvorada, the president's palace and personal chapel . . . wondrous flat bottomed Cumulus humilis drifting silently overhead!!

"Meteoro", a sculpture by Bruno Giorgi, seems to float above the lake outside the Itamaraty Palace in Brasilia.

the simple elegance of Niemeyer's touch . . the cathedral in Brasilia, that sits in a lake and is accessed by a dramatic subway. He just didn't care . .

the end of a great day . . the sun going down behind the National Congress . .

leaving the South of Brasil on a Tuesday morning to fly up to the Amazon basin: it was a great morning, drinking cafezino in the departure lounge watching the sun rise on the mountains while my ex-colleagues slaved away at their drawing boards in rainy Coventry . . .

after some hours of travelling it's "everybody out, the aircraft has broken down!!" My travelling companion, a Brasilian entrepreneur, comes back from the desk "Good news" he says, "we won't be delayed long . . . just a day"

we are in Cuiabá, in the Mato Grosso, one of the hottest places in all of Brasil . . so time to do a spot of industrial espionage with my companion, at a French owned rubber processing factory, where he makes use of my engineering skills to size up some machinery dimensions . . by eye!

The Amazon Basin is an immense flatness, as far as the eye can see . . .

The replacement 737 makes it up into Amazonia without further problems . . .

about to land on the road beyond Boca do Acre " what - there's no airstrip?" the pilot asked

circling round at a few hundred feet before landing . . . every tree is different, this is no forest, this is jungle

heading across the River Purus in our leaky canoe, being careful to avoid the local whirlpool, while I do my David Attenborough impression . .

just a normal day on the Transamazonica after the afternoon rains . . .

this is a great picture . . it shows a cross-section of the local people as they wait for an anniverasry parade

"The recent rain is the cause of many of the luxuriant fresh smells among the hanging vines, dead bamboo; hidden flowers and dense green tradução.

It is two hours since we left the treacherously slippy estrada and parked the truck among the bushes, before heading straight into the forest:

Antonio is in front, crouching as he goes, rifle in hand, Jack next, checking the path, buffer next carrying the bins and me last with camera and tape recorder."

" My eyes have grown accustomed to the many shades of green, the variety of trees and bushes; all picked out, in varying intensity by the sun, depending on how dense the tree canopy is high overhead.

Crickets squeak continuously but a multitude of other noises can be heard . . shrieking birds, hooting sounds that echo through the trees, trills, things that vibrate like tiny motors, all set against the backdrop of a thousand bird-songs!" . . written in my journal at the time

the rain hammers down after lunch and brings a welcome chance to cool off a bit . . .

after the afternoon's tropical downpour the wet streets steam like a movie special effect . . . then the sun breaks out below the clouds - awesome

doing some sketching for the local children to while away a long hot afternoon . . .

the local guesthouse, which later collapsed in the middle of the night . . painted in gouache on a piece of locally sourced card

last view of Sena Madureira as we leave the small Amazonian town and start the long journey back to England in December . . which sounds unappealingly cold . . so

from South America to South Africa . . my first view of Table Mountain and the Lion's Head as the 727 banks round to land in Capetown

southernmost beach in Africa - Dias beach at the Cape of Good Hope - all is calm . . .

it was a slightly overcast morning when we meandered our way down the Cape Peninsula, from Fish Hoek to the Cape of Good Hope, relishing each secluded little cove on the way, including Miller's Point . .

across the bay from Table Mountain and Capetown . . . this photo follows my custom of looking in the glossy traval books of famous cities to see good places to photograph from. This location was hard to find . . it was behind a slightly run down industrial estate!!

a perfect autumn evening behind Table Mountain - the Constantia area . . .

taking a short cut on the way back from the famous Cango Caves - I thought the road disappeared on the map because it was of a small scale; wrong, it just stopped and became a dirt track, that got gradually narrower . . . yikes!!

it did eventually come back out on the coastal Garden Route, so all is well . .

one of the most memorable aspects of the Western Cape is the mountains . . when the sky is clear they appear to be a really intense blue colour! Tranquil Franschhoek is on the famous wine route

and I take some moments in the shadow of the Huguenot memorial to savour the peace, and consider what the monument signifies . . religious freedom.

my first experience of driving in the USA, in a friend's station wagon, with a manual gear shift, in the rain, in downtown Philadelphia. . .

later that same day in Pennsylvania . . it's still raining. Designers gouache and fibre tipped marker pen to capture the wondrous gazebo at Longwood Gardens

typical San Franscisco weather on the Golden Gate bridge . . coastal mist

Sunday morning at the Grand Canyon's North Rim Lodge, where a small interdemoninational worship service took place overlooking the spectacular view.

later that morning: contemplating the meaning of life on the North Rim's Widforss Trail . . .

joining a small group of people at Cape Royal, watching in awed silence at sunset!

done on location in gouache on artboard. Time was a factor as the sun washed the canyon walls with continually changing colours!!

gouache on artboard. Painted in the shade of the trees at Indian Gardens, half way down the Bright Angel Trail, before tackling the exhausting climb back up to the South Rim . .

which is 4.8 miles back to the trail head . . but with a vertical ascent of 3000ft!! The trail head is just visible to the right on this picture. Indian Gardens are the trees near the bottom, just right of centre.

The famous Half Dome is just visable in the morning light as the morning sun picks out the ephemeral Bridal Veil falls in Yosemite Valley. Watercolour, then pastel to create the morning light beams.

Vernal Falls, on the Merced River: where thousands of gallons of water plunge 317 feet to the pool below

after heading out the back of Yosemite Valley, over the Tioga Pass - a small one horse town in the Sierra Nevada on the way to Lake Tahoe

autumn in Minnesota: a quiet backwater in Little Falls

September sunset over The Mississippi in the Lindbergh State Park just north of Little Falls

moving across to Michigan, Sand Creek bridge, one of my favourite spots on the Aman Indian Trail near Grand Rapids . . .

on Michigan Avenue, heading out of Grand Rapids towards the lake. . . my standard evening or week-end practice when working in this mid-west town.

Lake Michigan in March - sand and snow, and a beach to yourself . . . just the faint whiff of woodsmoke from the cliff top condos

same beach at Grand Haven in September, and still nobody about . . . .

Hallowed Ground . . the CDI offices on East Beltline where the DesignConcept3D software was written in the early 90s . . . .

the first time I visited CDI HQ I arrived late in the evening, picked up the company Pontiac from the hotel, swung by Meijer 24 hours to stock up with food, then drove up here . . around midnight. There was frost sparkling in the moonlight, and a lone deer standing in the parking lot! I thought "I already love this place!"

snow and morning sun at the Residence Inn on East Beltline in Grand Rapids as I head out for a normal day at the office . .

deep snow in Grand Rapids, but this is the US of A and life goes on without any hold ups or dramas . .

driving into Detroit from Ann Arbor for the Silicon Graphics launch of the Indigo2 Extreme. Classified as the person who had travelled the farthest for the launch ( from England ) I won a T-Shirt . .

Having driven down to Long Beach from LA I stopped and asked someone where the Hotel Queen Mary was . . they pointed to the ocean liner "That's it!" . . oh

The hotel occupies the front half of the Queen Mary, and the exhibition halls occupy the rear parts of the ship. Well that's different!

a short walk round the hotel before breakfast . . . along the deserted decks . .

All set up and ready to demo some virtual prototyping!! "Buy our software or else . . . "

poking round the lunar landing module at the Kennedy Space Centre . . "drifting to the right a little . . "

the Internation Space Station production line at the Kennedy Space Centre . .

the first time to leave the shores of the UK . . in 1975. Not by ferry or by aeroplane though . . by Hoverlloyd hovercraft, from Ramsgate to Dunkirk!!

although the snow was slightly thin on the ground it served it's purpose. This was my introduction to the amazing alpine air . .

air so clean and dry that it even tasted different . . the UK is so damp

cuckoo clock factory that we visited in Shonach . . I spent some money and bought a clock

the clock, with it's beautiful carving, is still on the wall of my studio, reminding me of that first exciting European adventure many years ago

I love this picture . . the M1 . . No traffic and or central reservation . .

early morning in the Black Forest getting ready for another day on the slopes

old school ski-ing: a coach, which pulled a trailer full of skis, and a local guesthouse to eat in at night

there's nothing quite like swiss chalets, deep snow and bright sunshine to lift the spirits!!

I always liked this picture . . descending carefully through the Schwarzwald at the end of a week's ski-ing - the tint of the coach windscreen gives the colour to the top half of the picture

Seoul's National Palace. .

looking relaxed at the National Palace . . but looks are deceiving . .

my visits to South Korea seemed to be dogged with bad weather and re-occuring computer problems

many hours were spent in hotel rooms, using the original tri-band mobile phones to call the USA to get fixes for the hardware and software glitches . .

the sun rises but time waits for no man, nor for computer experts . . in a couple of hours I will face a roomful of people and they will expect evertything to work perfectly . . no pressure then

not to mention afterwards having to sit on the floor . . . and negotiate another dinner of kimchi . .

well into serious discussions with the customers . . . it was a killer on my European legs . .

gazing out of a Seoul hotel window - I was actually watching the agent until he went round the corner. I had just spent an hour haggling over the terms of a maintenance contract while the bar musicians were trying to distract me by playing South American jazz . . .

back in UK . . a quiet autumn day at Westonbirt Arboretum

damp and misty - the light comes from the colour of the leaves . .

using a tripod to get a long low light exposure . .

the old days at Birmingham airport when you could stand outside a few metres away from arriving aircraft . . and sniff the aviation fuel . .

It is always a great feeling arriving at Dover Port . . knowing that the M25 is behind us and . . .

the hectic busy roads of France await . .

the gentle mountains of Provence emerge through the morning mist near Castellane

summer's morning in the Dordogne, the mist usually heralds another scorching day

I've done that much driving in France there's even a rest stop named after me . .

getting well down the A61 past Toulouse . . you really feel that you are putting some miles on the clock when you get this far towards the Mediterranean . . It's particularly nice to see the signs for "Barcelone" not many hours since sitting in M25 traffic jams!!

running alongside the Mediterranean, the mountains and the mesmerising charm of Spain beckon

located amongst the Botanical forest, Castell Beach is reached by a small country road that's not on the map

struggling on through the long afternoon . . . on the coastal path near Castell

a more detailed study of the far end of the platja Castell - the hill which includes an archeological dig

the platja Castell - contains some interesting ruins

old Catalan buildings, scorching weather and lazy days

Llafranc: heading down for a swim across the bay before breakfast with Hannah

my last morning in Spain this summer is mellow after overnight rain: unknown couple walk past as I drink coffee at the Llevant

you walk up 129 steps out of Llafranc to get onto the coastal path, and pass this wonderful house at the top. Been planning to paint this for 5 years!! Watercolour and fine point marker.

the Centre Fraternal is a cultural centre, casino and coffee house in existence since 1887, located on the main square in Palafrugell

on a dull day you can spend many hours here partaking of the excellent tapas, wine and spanish cuisine . . the only thing is there are no dull days . .

the Costa Brava: the forgotten coast. Don't tell anyone . . its nice . .