100 Watercolors of Berlin – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

100 Watercolors of Berlin

As a Blocker Fellowship recipient, Abbey Frederick ’20 studied abroad in Berlin, Germany during the spring of 2019 and conducted a cultural studies project on urban space through watercolor paintings and narrative storytelling. She documented her experiences through a blog.

As an architectural studies major with English and writing colleagues minors, Frederick participated in the Metropolitan Studies Track through IES Abroad. Frederick’s blog “100 Pages in Berlin” allows the viewer see the city through her eyes. Frederick’s goal was to create one small painting a day, no matter the size or location.

Along with her paintings, Frederick conducted a reflective and academic analysis of the urban landscape of the city. The posts range in topic from the effectiveness of the BVG, the public transportation system, to more intimate moments of art gallery receptions with her host mother.


In her blog post, “Landmarks and the Human Scale,” Frederick writes about sitting on the Ring-Bahn: “The whole way around, I could see the TV Tower anchored at the center of my journey… like a sun pulling the trains into orbit.” Her accompanying painting shows the iconic TV Tower in the city center at sundown.

Frederick says the form of the project was inspired by “Watercolor” taught by Associate Professor of Architecture and Urbanism in American Studies Kirin Makker. In class with Makker, Frederick says she “…found a passion for onsite painting that inspired me to want to continue it abroad.”

Through IES abroad, Frederick enrolled in “Evolution of the Modern City: Urban Development and Architecture.” Her final project included a series of window paintings. The work shows “the vast diversity of architectural styles across Berlin,” Frederick says.

During the program, Frederick stayed with a host family, who she says “greatly improved my knowledge of the German language. … I feel that my knowledge of German, although basic, meant I had a more immersive and meaningful experience in Berlin.”

After graduation, Frederick intends to pursue a career in publishing in the production and book design sector. She also plans to continue her education by pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts program in creative nonfiction. On campus, Frederick is the co-editor and production editor of Thel, the Hobart and William Smith literary arts journal.