A few weeks ago I decided that I would do a special rendering for my parents as a Christmas present.  I wanted to create a design that was not only beautiful and intricate, but one that also tied in something meaningful from our past.  Thinking of a favorite place wasn’t hard; we’ve spent many summers in Portugal, and one of our most favorite places to go is the little mountain town of Sintra, just about 25 miles outside of the city of Lisbon.    In addition to having a micro-climate of its own due to its higher altitude and proximity to the sea, this quaint, cobblestone-street town boasts no fewer than 3 national palaces, has some of the best pastries known to Portugal, and, not surprisingly has been designated with UNESCO World Heritage status.

In the center of the village is the Palácio Nacional, which functioned as a royal palace until the early 1900s.  The palace’s distinctive two white chimneys (located over the heart of the palace kitchen) provided me with the inspiration to create a jeweled box design:

National Palace - Sintra, Portugal

I settled on this pencil sketch:

Quick Pencil Sketch for Jeweled "Sintra" Box by Joana Miranda

From here, I decided to use CAD to create the box.  I did this because I wanted the box to contain a surprise when opened, and using CAD made working with the  perspective easier:

CAD of "Sintra" Jeweled Box by Joana Miranda

Then I drew over the CAD rendering in pencil to flesh out my design idea:

Pencil Drawing Over CAD Printout for Jeweled "Sintra" Box by Joana Miranda

The next step was to trace over this design with vellum paper so that I could then transfer my design to black paper and begin painting.  Tomorrow I’ll post the finished closed box rendering…come back Tuesday if you want to see the surprise contained in the box!


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