My Creative Retreat in Buenos Aires Through My Sketchpad

By: Laerta Premto

I’m Laerta Premto and founder of trav-elle.com, an illustration, design and education brand. My full time gig is a designer and I have a side hustle as an artist. I’m currently painting city maps because I want to encourage people to travel. Maps trigger us to take journeys and discover new perspectives that help us grow. 

I believe I was bitten by the travel bug ever since I was born – I carry it in my blood. Recently, I had gotten rid of my house and had been wanting to make a move into a city somewhere, but was unclear of where. Unsettled: Buenos Aires came at the perfect time. I needed to disconnect and feel more connected with like-minded individuals who love to travel and explore the world. I picked Buenos Aires because it’s a city and I was testing myself to see if I could live in such an environment for a longer period of time away from my family. The result was that I loved everything about this experience – the people, the city, the connections, the workshops, the tango classes, and so much more. It filled my heart and soul with so much love and inspiration. I felt a sense of belonging.

Before I started this journey, I had bought a sketch pad to do some rough watercolor sketches. The funny part was that I had forgotten to pack my watercolors and brush (out of all things to forget haha). 

I immediately found an art store when I arrived in Buenos Aires and got to painting my journey…

Palacio Barolo is a landmark office building at the heart of Buenos Aires and the tallest when it was built. At the top is a working lighthouse that we had access to. This was my favorite part because you are able to see beautiful panoramic views of the city, especially during sunset – it’s so magical. I was very much inspired by the journey we had to go through to get to the top. There are about nine levels where we took the elevators, climbed stairs, and got into very tight spaces where we reached the lighthouse, le piece de resistance. It was symbolic of reaching any goal in life, I thought. It may take some time, but you’ll get there with one step in front of the other.

Buenos Aires is great at marrying history and culture together, or inventing new ones. I found that to be very inspiring especially when they turned an old theatre into a bookstore. As an artist and designer, I appreciated this. You could really spend hours there exploring – major eye candy!

We took a day trip to Tigre after living in Buenos Aires for about a week. The majority of the journey was by boat and we arrived at such a remote, but tranquil and beautiful resort. What a wonderful shift of perspective from the bustling city life to wonderful nature. I could hear everything from the wind brushing against the leaves to birds chirping. Also, the pool was the icing on the cake – the reflection had me begging to start taking out my paint brush.

I felt so stimulated by everything in Argentina, especially walking. Coming from a place where I drive everywhere to get from point A to point B, it was so refreshing to WALK. I love it. Because of my walks, I saw views like the one I sketched. Everyday was something new that I saw, every day was an adventure down a new path waiting to be discovered. I would have a smile on my face because I was feeling everything by just simply walking. 

El Rosedal de Palermo is one of the many parks I visited. During my stay in Buenos Aires, I realized how much I love flowers, parks, and nature. I thought that Buenos Aires had so many parks for such a big city. Such a silly thought but I really fell in love with parks! Seeing families, couples, and friends interact in parks was also very beautiful to watch. What a calming environment that brings people together.

This day meant so much to me because I spent it with myself, just taking my time. It was the last full day before I left and I took the bus from Palermo to the center. My plan was to go find another park and just sit still and enjoy the sunny weather. I found Recoleta Park which is a very modern, almost industrial, looking park. It had these grass covered domes where you can sit on top. There was not a single soul around and I just sat there and sketched my view. I felt at home.

Want to soak in the creativity and beauty of Buenos Aires for yourself? 

We are living Unsettled in Buenos Aires for one month this February and November-December. Vamos!

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