© Rita Draper Frazão

Inner Tour is a blog about People, Arts and Traveling by Rita Draper Frazão.
If you want to use my work, presented here, please send me a message.


Paulo Curado's images of freedom

Paulo Curado © Rita Draper Frazão 2014

The news of Paulo Curado's passing (1960-2024), yesterday, were a slap in the face. A big hug to his family, friends and the music community in Portugal, which got poorer.

What a great musician and a wonderful person he was!

The sensitivity, sense of observation and the enigma that distinguished him, turned special the music he's done and the human relationships he had. I had the feeling that Paulo lived in limbo between a fragile height and a strong depth. And now that I think about it, I believe that all the drawings I made of him convey, in a certain way, that tone.

He expressed himself musically through the saxophone, flute, composition, sound design and improvisation. Besides music itself, he's worked in the film, animation, television, theater, dance and visual art areas. In this scope, we both had long conversations about the relationship between image and sound.

There was a poetry in Paulo that made me dream and fly whenever I heard him play.

Luckily, I had the chance to draw him several times. Here's one of my portraits that Paulo really liked: it was his profile picture on his Facebook page for many years. Here, he was playing saxophone at the Mia Festival in 2014. You can see more about this here.

Another drawing from him available online, is the one I've made of him in 2015, at ZDB. You can see it and read more about that subject here.

Besides liking music and visual arts, we had other things in common. Regarding the fact that, way back, I studied flute, Paulo told me how starting to play this instrument, had been a lucky strike in his life, in a day he'd found a forgotten flute, picked it up and started to learn how to play it. 

At one point we were neighbors. It wasn't Paulo's style to brag himself, but one day, slipping through the cracks at my place, he told me about the times he played with his cousin, José Peixoto, with Janita Salomé, José Mário Branco or Carlos Paredes. Legends of Portuguese music from whom we have a lot to learn from. As we do from him too.

Eclipse for Paulo Curado © Rita Draper Frazão 2015

I liked Paulo so much that, at one point, I offered him this original drawing that I've especially made for him. The image was the cover of an article published at Jazz.pt and here on my blog Innertour. Yet only now I'm sharing with you the dedication I wrote on its back and its purpose: to thank him for everything he'd given me. Due to the respect I had towards him, I'm kind of embarrassed to say this, but Paulo told me he was a fan of mine. Which explains what I wrote in the dedication, on the back of the drawing:

Eclipse backwards for Paulo Curado © Rita Draper Frazão 2015

"26th of September, 2015

Dear Paulo,

This world is a more beautiful, colorful and certainly more inspiring place with musicians like you. Thank you very much for all the images of freedom and of rare beauty you have given me. I wish you all the colors in the world. It's not just you, I'm your fan too!

A kiss from your friend,

<3 Rita #"

How lucky was I to be his friend and to have been inspired by Paulo, so many times in my work and, above all, in life.

You can see some of the drawings and texts I wrote about him, here in my blog. One of the portraits was never published and is well stored to be published in other flights. Fortunately, I managed to show them all while he was still alive.

Being in Europe (in a country closer to me), yesterday a childhood friend of mine - who is Lebanese and lives in Beirut - wrote me because he remembered myself. Considering that this conversation took place on the day I received the sad news of Paulo's passing, this message was a symbolic reminder of how life goes by fast and how important it is to take care of each other and value friendship, sometimes with a simple message as this one. شكرا صلاح!

In today's world, where we're pulled in a thousand directions by social media, internet, apps, podcasts, publicity, press, artificial intelligence, etc, it remains in me the rare example of master Paulo: that in order to be heard, loved and remembered, one can also be, at the same time, reservedly remarkable.

And I'll never forget you, my dear friend. May you follow the light.


Gualdino Barros, the master of ceremonies


Gualdino Barros ® Rita Draper Frazão 2004

My latest article about the drummer Gualdino Barros, that recently passed away, has just been published in Jazz.pt magazine. 

For those who don't speak Portuguese, here is my English adaptation of it:

Gualdino Barros, the master of ceremonies

The drummer Gualdino Barros passed away on November the 21st. My heartfelt condolences to his family, all his friends and the many fans I know he had out there.

I have to confess that something broke inside of me when I heard about the news. NitoGualdin or Gualdinex as he was called by many, was 85 years old.

I don't know exactly when I met Gualdino, but I was a teenager and he was almost 50 years older than me. It might, even, sound strange to make friendships under such circumstances, but not is this case. Gualdino was a magnet for the younger generations. Regardless of his physical age, he must've been the most youthful spirit I have ever met. Those who liked music, learning and having fun, had an open door to his universe. Therefore, it was easy to like him.

In a context in which in Portugal, in his generation, there was still no official and organized education specifically aimed at jazz, Gualdino was a self-taught drummer. Through his curious and entrepreneurial spirit, restless soul and desire to learn, he listened and saw his musical idols play and, thus, learned to play. The drummer Luís Sangareau (who I still had the pleasure to meet) was one of those who, in Portugal, greatly inspired him.

The self-taught drummer, who was a Portugal's history of jazz milestone, had a very unique “sound of his own” (the cymbals and solos!) and a sense of style that never faded. Small in stature, anyone who might think he had ever gone unnoticed, would be mistaken. Chatty, Gualdino was the life of the party, loved eccentric clothes, wore rings and had a huge collection of hats, caps and berets, that became his iconic trade mark.

This musician was an old-school type of gentleman. He always treated me with the utmost deference and politeness. I also recognize a certain candidness in him. He had an enormous spontaneity, liked to take risks, was sharp as a tack and had an enviable ability to get away with things and improvise, both in life and in music.

Those characteristics made him feel touched and promote what was new and beautiful. He was proud to have launched a bunch of new Portuguese talents. Jorge Palma, Bernardo Sassetti, the Moreira brothers, Francisco Rebelo, Filipe Melo, Joana Espadinha, Rita Maria... all of them played with him at the beginning of their professional lives.

I can't help to mention the fascination he had with singers. Whenever we met Gualdino, his enthusiastic conversation, invariably, started with the new vocal talent he had just discovered with whom he was playing with. Regardless of the art we dedicated ourselves to (which contradicts the idea that he's only helped musicians and I am living proof of that), during a certain phase, when one was starting to enter the jazz scene in Lisbon, it was almost an initiatory ritual to the activity, to work with him. And what a master of ceremonies he was for us all.

I took and developed this photo of him in 2004, when we were on tour out there. By his invitation, I drew and photographed, he played the drums and managed it all. His degree of generosity went to the point he'd gave up his own cachet in favor of other artists, something I know he did to other people and that he also did to me. He had an unwavering faith in us and didn't abdicate our presence.

On this tour I took several photographs, one of which was published in the magazine “Grande Reportagem (see here)”. The photograph that goes along with this text, is another one and was special to him. According to what he told me, it would be the only portrait he had, in this position with the drums. His musical instrument of choice was a symbol of his complicity with music and the means by which he expressed the love of his life: jazz.

We are left with Gualdino's teachings, his sense of humor, his enormous generosity but... how not to  mention the gigantic repertoire of stories he had to tell? Besides being a drummer, he was Portuguese with roots in Angola where he lived, as well as in Germany, France and, of course, Portugal. He was a sacristan, played for Sporting de Braga Football Club, worked on construction sites, spoke several languages, was a good friend, brother (of percussionist Quim M'Jojo), uncle, engineer and so many other things...

His incredible life experiences deservedly inspired at least three cinematographic works: Inner Urge by Isabel Cardeira (2003) (in which I also participated), Um Mundo Catita by Filipe Melo (2007) and The ninth life of Gualdino by Filipe Araújo (2014). The last two movies were shown on Portuguese television, on RTP 2.

I was part of this huge class of friends of which Gualdino was the master. We stopped to listen to him, when he told us about his personal and artistic experiences with people like Nina Simone, Chet Baker, Max Roach, Bud Powell, Mickey Rooney, Amália Rodrigues, Jorge Palma, Fernando Girão or Duo Ouro Negro.

Here I remember one night, when the Hot Clube of Portugal (Jazz Club) had already closed its doors to the public and only a small group of regulars remained, who Fernando Mendes, affectionately, put up with behind closed doors, until late hours. We were all partying hard in jam session mode, when Gualdino jumped on stage, not straight to the drums, but to the microphone. 
Solemn moment. 
To everyone's surprise, he started singing “Autumn Leaves” in French. Who was also there and remembers this?

His life had great ups and downs. Between cold-blooded tonsil surgeries in Africa, sleeping under the bridge Neuf in Paris, severe burns on the hand, alligator attacks in the USA, overthrown addictions, strokes and countless challenges that he overcame from childhood until the end of his life, I believe that all these experiences made him the exceptional individual he was.

Powder and Shadow ® Rita Draper Frazão 2005

In his twilight years, when he was already very ill, his friends' mobilization to help him was massive and moving. Above is one of the drawings I made on tour with him that documents his great friendship with the pianist Rui Caetano. It was drawn with my left and right hands. I chose to do so, not only because of the ambidextrous nature of those who play piano and drums, but also due the complementarity of the two musicians. Like shadow to light and powders to magic. Therefore, it is titled “Powder and Shadow”.

After 2016 Euro's Portuguese football team's victory and the football player Eder having shared the importance that his mental coach had had in this process, a greater public awareness began to raise in Portugal, of the importance that such a tool could have in someone's life, in the evolution of a team or in the history of a country. But twenty or thirty years ago, nobody spoke about coaching in Portugal. Gualdino was an absolute visionary in this and was the best coach that an entire generation of artists here could've ever asked for. I think it's safe to say he left his mark in all of us.

In his own way, Gualdino was a philosophical and spiritual person. Without being something he talked much about, he confessed me that he was a Catholic and showed me the crucifix he wore under his clothes. Religions aside, I have no doubt that his faith in life was the biggest lesson he gave me. An example to never forget. A person from forever to forever.

Thank you for everything!


Fernando Alvim

Fernando Alvim © Rita Draper Frazão

Some time ago, I started a project called Radio Series. It's something I had in mind for years, and it's about portraying my favorite Radio Hosts. 
Today's the birthday of one of them, Fernando Alvim, whom I drew at Antena 3 Radio, during his Prova Oral program. 

Prova Oral is a talk radio show where he interviews a myriad of people. Alvim's been working in radio for 38 years and does this program, over 20! But creating and hosting this show is just one of the many things he did and does. 
Fernando wrote several books and articles, hosted many tv shows, created the festival Termómetro (Emergent music festival/contest), the magazine 365, or the Monstros do Ano (an event where the most uncanny situations of the year are awarded), just to name a few.

I started to listen this show, since its beginning, in 2002. Being broadcasted from Monday to Friday at 7 pm GMT, Prova oral was my perfect match, going home from the beach, when I was in vacation in a southern Portuguese location where, at the time, I had no tv and could access just a few national radios. Nowadays, with the new possibilities provided by the podcasts era, I listen to the show many times in different schedules. 

The portrait

First of all, I think never ending curiosity about the world could be Fernando Alvim's middle name. But other layers of his persona inspired me here, too.
I thought about the colorful part in the drawing as a mouth laughing, a heart or a window to another view (aiming his curiosity). Inside of it, a bright new day arises (yellow sun rays) over a sensitive liquid sea-tongue (light blue). Imagination and seemingly non sense ideas had to be here, too!
In my view, a portrait of Fernando had to consider his cheerful (hence the primary colors), romantic (red lips and heart) and funny character (laughter). 
The presence of the headphones and the colorful mouth are a referral to communication as well - listening (to music or in a conversation) and talking.* Basic traits of his craft. 
The quick graphite strokes in this portrait, allude to his mental agility and a kind of spontaneous and childish (primary colors) type of expression. 
I find there is also something very deep, intense and melancholic about Fernando. Something the black and white part of this work can relate to as well.

May life grant you as much happiness, as I am sure your work did with so many people over the years.  Happy Birthday Alvim! 

* Speaking about music, and as I footnote, would like to share with you that, while writing this, my soundtrack was PJ Harvey's We float, a song I also drew in the past and that you can see here.




According to the United Nations, today's the International day for the Right to the Truth day concerning gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims.

In what this matter is regarded, there is still a long way ahead of us, specially in what women are concerned. More clarity in this subject is required.

"Clara" is its title and it was named after a strong female friend of mine, in whom I got inspired while I did this work. In Portuguese, Clara, also means clearness, clarity. 

Done with many layers, colors and materials, the mixed media technique used in this portrait, mimics to the complexity of the emotional scars and courage required for the victims to speak up. 

May ethics and justice win. Let's allow the truth in. It's about time.


The gift of love


On this Valentine's day, I present you A Dádiva (The Gift).

A Dádiva (The Gift) was commissioned by a dear couple of mine, for their Catholic wedding. I was invited to create an object to carry their wedding rings to the altar. And also to carry A Dádiva and their wedding rings in the religious celebration. An absolute first for me. Follow me and get to know all about it!

How to subvert a briefing

The first briefing was to do a painted plate with their names and the date of the wedding. 
Realizing the importance that day may have in one's life, I listened but I also knew, right away, that I wanted to do more than that. I just didn't know yet how to turn that idea upside down without forgetting its function. 
My restless soul and my designer education surfaced and I was determined not to take my mind off it until I'd find a solution to this. 
For a couple of days I was thinking about it in the shower, cooking, eating, sleeping... 
And, literally, one day I woke up and I had a vision of this piece. I knew I was on to something.

I have never made a sculpture like this before. So I had to study and make several trials until I reached what you can see. I believe learning and evolving may come from stepping out of your comfort zone and taking risks. I was down for it and they trusted me. What else could I ask?

The great symbolism of hands

This piece is a sculpture I made from my hands, one of my main tools in my work and also the part of the body we use to gesture while communicating with each other.

Not just in art's history, but in other areas such as linguistics, advertising, theater, the military, religions, psychology, and sociology, the meaning of certain hand positions is vast. This subject alone could provide material for a PhD thesis!

Cupped hands can receive, be used to drink water, protect the eyes, and they can give. I wanted both hands to be present, respecting the number of love and marriage: two.

Shells and particularly Scallops, are the symbol of baptism in Christianity. 
Having in mind those traditional silver shells often used at Christian baptisms, and sometimes at weddings as well, the cupped shape of these hands is a reinterpretation of that and alludes also to the concept of protection.

Giving hands as the union of two souls

This piece also refers to the idea of the union of two hands, of two wedding rings in this piece, of two souls in life, as a gift.

 Perspective lies in the eyes of the beholder*

A Dádiva (The Gift) can be viewed and placed in various positions, completely changing the way it's read.

Top view of A Dádiva (The gift)

Right lateral view of A Dádiva (The gift)

Bottom view of A Dádiva (The gift)

 Whoever positions it, chooses. And this choice will change the result, making the chooser an active part of this sculpture.

(inspired by Kant's quote: Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder)

The color code

Initially I had thought of the piece all in white, symbolizing a blank page, the beginning and also one of the colors associated with Catholic marriage.

Number 3

But then something curious happened: when I finished this piece, I looked at its base (near the area of the wrists), and I saw the shape of the number 3 slightly suggested.

I thought it was a coincidence, and I thought that, yes, love can start with two, but then, regardless of having kids or not, a new life together emerges - a third element that takes me back to the perfection of the equilateral triangle and the holy trinity.

Therefore, I felt like highlighting this part of the piece, as if its interior were suddenly golden (the most divine color) and its outline were white (the purest color), ethereal, luminous and light reflective (hence the glossy coating which also provides a greater protection).

The shades of gold

Thinking of Pantones and inks, there are many shades of gold: old gold (more greenish), yellow gold, pink gold, etc. The shade of gold that I chose here is, on purpose, more orangey.

According to some experts in colors' history, in ancient Greece, Dionysus' clothes - who was, among other things, the God of fertility and the pleasures of life - were orange. This could explain why the orange tree has been associated with fertility since ancient times and also why many brides wear orange flowers in their wreath. 
In Asia it's the color of transformation and fertility. In Buddhism and Hinduism, orange is the most sacred color and symbolizes the purifying power of fire.
Being an energetic color, orange combines light and warmth.

Gold is one of the most valuable metals on planet earth and has always been linked to wealth. Real gold never oxidizes. In addition to its material value, this is also why wedding rings are traditionally made in this metal. It relates to eternity.

In Ancient Egypt, the color code was strict and artists were only allowed to use gold in the representation of the Pharaohs. Among Kings, Saints, high dignitaries or champions this is, until nowadays, the color that rewards excellence.

Therefore, the choice of not using a pure orange but a golden hue aims to bring greater distinction and a sense of importance to this work.

In color theory and in the spiritual world, the combination of all the shades I have chosen here symbolize plenitude and enlightenment. In this day to celebrate love, that's what I wish for this couple and for you!

Solid Fragile

A Dádiva (The Gift) has a solid weight (around 1.5 kgs / 3,307 lb) and at the same time, since it was made out of plaster it can, also, be fragile. Somehow a metaphor for marriage, with its need for daily maintenance and desirable consistency.

Bearing in mind the challenging contexts that a marriage and a love relationship may imply, another purpose of this piece was to remind the importance of a couple giving their best, to each other, without expecting anything in return.

My greatest gift

The wedding rings in the photos are my parent's: the persons that gave me life, my greatest gift.

The meaningful wedding bands.

I certainly tried to give the best of me is in this work. May the energy in A Dádiva (The gift) inspire you all. Ultimately, it all comes down to that special feeling we all crave for. 

As in the song, All you need is love

Happy Valentine's day!


My German friemily

In times of war I feel like family is more important than ever. 
There's the biological family and there's the family one can choose.
Today is the International Family Day, and I don't have drawings from my whole biological family to show you guys. But to celebrate the occasion, I will share with you the portraits of elements of a certain family very close to my heart - my German friemily
Here, you can also find out a little bit about my connection with Germany, how war is related to my family's history and, the positive things that rose from it.  
Happy family day, whatever it means to you!

The German seed

I feel like I need to share why my connection with Germany goes way back. 
My great grand father was a vice-consul of the United Kingdom and his brother, my great grand uncle, was a vice-consul of Belgium. During World War II, they helped hundreds of Jewish war refugees to escape. They offered their own houses as shelters, helped them to find work, a safe place to live and provided assistance with all the logistics required for the refugees to leave Europe. 
After the war ended, they were dubbed by King George the VI of England and by King Leopold III of Belgium. They are also featured in the museum dedicated to World War II's Jewish Refugees in Portugal, Vilar Formoso - Frontier of Peace. My family has provided information to the museum, photographs and many letters of some of those refugees thanking them for their help. The stamps help us to realize these people went all over the world. When the Museum formally opened, I was there with the President of the Portuguese Republic to represent my ancestors.
This vice-consul of England was the father of my maternal grandmother that, due to such, had contact with refugees from all around the world during her teenage years.
Also during the Second World War, my maternal grandfather was working in England as a surgeon, where he performed many surgeries in war-wounded people. That had a strong impact on him. 
When my grandparents got married and had kids, my grand father - with his Anglo-Saxon free spirit and medical experience - and my grand mother - with her background with refugees - decided to educate their kids having contact with Germans so that they had fewer chances of having preconceptions against them. Also, both of them learned and became fluent in German. 
No matter which side of the war one is, there are always innocent and good people in both sides. This may be a huge lesson nowadays, regarding the present war circumstances. 

The beginning of everything

Due to my grandparents' background and options, my Mum and her siblings were partially raised by several German ladies, but one stood out: Hannelore. She lived with my family only for a year but her impact was such, that our family is still in close contact with her and her family.

One of my mother's childhood German book, Max and Moritz.
She wrote her name on the cover.

More recently she bought in Germany
this new version of that classic.

Hannelore's education as a kinder garden teacher must've been a blast for my Mum and her siblings. 
She's taught them German, and did many artistic and ludic activities with them, like taking walks in the nature, doing theatre plays, German story telling, singing or doing the Christmas tree ornaments. 
When I was a kid, my Mum replicated the later with me. I loved it! 
According to my mother, when she was a kid she was bilingual, and thought in German.
Over the years, Hannelore and her daughter Sabine visited us several times. It was because of one of their visits to Portugal, when I was a child, that I was, since then, obsessed with learning German. I ended up learning a little bit. I love the sound of that language and I'm fascinated with its degree of accuracy.
When I was a teenager, Hannelore's daughter, Sabine, lived in Portugal for a year in our family place.
At the time, she already dated Christian, with whom she later got married. They have a beautiful family, with two kids, Felix and Clara. Clara was named after my Mum's name.
I know those kids since they were babies such as Hannelore and Sabine know me!
It's amazing how the connection is kept through generations. 
Every time they visit us or we visit them, it just feels like home.

A special birthday

My Mum an I went to Germany to visit them, apropos Hannelore's 80th birthday. It was a surprise for her and for the little Clara. They almost passed out when they saw us entering their living room!

Hannelore's brother, Onkel Uwe also joined us for the occasion.
It's been a while, since I wanted to draw this family. This time, I finally managed to do so. I even drew little Ajuga, the most recent element of the family: a super dog and my new friend too!

Hannelore © Rita Draper Frazão

After so many decades of living in Portugal, Hannelore can still say some words and understand a little bit of Portuguese! Oma means granny in German, and I started to call her OmaLore
Hannelore is a force of nature, and in this day, she was the life of the party! Regarding that, I felt like using in her portrait, some elements of the party decor. They also add shine, fun and color to the composition. Besides being a kinder garden teacher, I feel like Hannelore has a deep creative and artistic side. She's the type of person that knows what she wants and I admire her strength (translated into the contrasted black pen on white paper) and how she takes care of herself with great pride. 
I can see it in the way she talks, how she dresses, on her hairdo, or in her way of walking. She is also a very affective and joyful person, one that is just so easy to connect to. No wonder we love her so much!

Onkel Uwe © Rita Draper Frazão

Even though my Mum had met him decades ago, I have only met Uncle Uwe on this trip. I absolute adored him! Such a sweet, and thoughtful human being. I was moved with the siblings connection and how he traveled the country to join his sister on her special day. 

Sabine © Rita Draper Frazão

Sabine is the most devoted person to her family I have ever met! Every time I hang around her I am always so impressed with the efforts she does to provide happiness to her family. Generally a caring person, I see that trait of hers in small details too. The way she organized this whole surprise for her Mother, how she cooked, how she decorated the living room for the party and even the wrapping papers she used. I could feel and see how much love she's put into everything, including how she and her family welcomed us. I feel like, in her own way, she also has some arts & crafts skills, so the portrait I've made from her, has a collage made out of one of her wrapping papers. I then painted her silhouette on top of with in a light shade. Sabine might very well be the fairy that does white magic happen without anyone noticing how she pulled it off!

Christian © Rita Draper Frazão

When I was drawing Christian, I had the sensation it might've been a little off for Christian's to pose for me. I know, that often happens in people that are used to be the observer and not the observed. This includes me too! Christian is a great photographer, with a curious open mind about other people, cultures and places. This portrait relates to his broad vision of the world. 
I picked the color of his eyes to transmute them into circular particles in the air. I also thought of this as a way to convey other characteristics of his: lightness and sensibility, and love for nature (green).

Felix © Rita Draper Frazão

Felix has piercing blue eyes! I admire his strength, adventurous spirit and entrepreneur atitude. I feel like he has a lot of energy and his fast mind is straight to the point. I believe he is one of those persons that has the world and a life ahead to conquer! The gray is actually silver and I thought of metal, coins, money and medals. Also when drawing his profile, I thought of it as if it could be in a medal or coin too! 

Prinzessin Clara © Rita Draper Frazão

When Clara was a little kid, she reached out to me because I work as an artist. She likes to dance and she was my first drawing student (You guys can't imagine how hilarious was this art class where she didn't speak English and I spoke very little German! Fortunately drawing is a universal Language!) 
I feel like she is a very feminine girl, hence the bow and the title, little Princess Clara.

Ajuga © Rita Draper Frazão

My encounter with Ajuga was very special. There is a time in my life before and after I met Ajuga. Before I was afraid of dogs and, afterwards I met him, I no longer am. I did hypnosis to heal my fear and that worked, at least to be able to be indoors with a dog. But what I sure didn't expect was how this dog is. I am pretty sure I've never came across with such a polite pet in my life! Ajuga is the most loving dog I have ever met and sure deserved not only a proper portrait as a mountain of hearts.

I left Germany happy, and reassured that love in whatever form - within the family, in a love relationship, with friends, animals, nature or whatever - is what matters the most.


Mixed media Painting


May this inspire you to have a colorful day!

This painting of mine is in a private art collection.

For commissioned work & inquiries please send me a message.