Every day I will be proud of my creative choices

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Spain - Madrid and Granada following Sorolla October 2014

Our Journey with Sorolla. 

Our friend Saim Caglayan  had travelled with us before to Spain a couple of years ago. On that trip we parted ways in Barcelona and he went on to Madrid where he met Joaquin Sorolla's great granddaughter Fabiola at the Sorolla house museum. Scott and I were so envious that we missed that opportunity. Saim has stayed in touch with her and they planned a painting trip to paint on the grounds of the famous Alhambra in Granada, Spain about 4 hours south by train from Madrid. Saim asked us if we would like to join them. It was the worst timing for us because we had a show a week after the trip., but there was no way I was going to miss this so we decided to go for just two weeks. Usually we don't like to do short trips like this over seas because of all the travel time. The inspiration for this location was to paint in the same location as her great grandfather had. Scott and I had visited the Alhambra in 1997 and we were excited to see if the city of Granada had the same intense and exotic energy as our first experience.

Scott and Fabiola in the first salon of the Sorolla Museo

Below are some photos from inside the Museo and outside in the gardens.

Fabiola used to work at the Museo and would give tours to visitors. She doesn't work there anymore but whenever she is around she loves to tell stories and show people around. Fabiola is the sweetest, patient and sincere person, it was a pleasure to meet her. In fact she offered to let us drop our luggage off at her new apartment in the center of Madrid. Flights usually arrive very early in the day and you can't check into your hotels or apartments until the afternoon. She was living in her parents apartment while her new apartment was being renovated. She didn't speak English and we didn't speak Spanish, but she was so easy to be with it never mattered we communicated through simple words and a translation app. After she met us at her apartment she took the time to show us around her neighborhood and then on to the Sorolla Museo. She is like a rock star there.

Saim and Kyoko met us later that day. The next day we went back to the Museo, Saim is such a great outdoor painter and is ready to paint at a drop of the hat. He is hidden in the trees painting the water fountain in the gardens outside the Museo. Kyoko is painting in another part of the gardens.

Scott and me resting while Saim and Kyoko are painting in the gardens. We are still adjusting to the time change, both of them had been over seas for a while and were itching to paint.

Kyoko Ishigami, me, Fabiola Lorente-Sorolla, Scott and Saim in a famous artist cafe on the Paseo de Prado.

We talked Fabiola into letting us visit her parents flat just north of city center. Below is the private collection of her parents that she and her siblings will inherit. Sorolla had 3 children and they had many children and so on, there must be a lot of wonderful pieces in all of their homes. 

It wasn't planned so we didn't have a regular camera, I took all of these with my phone.

This was an original outfit from one of Sorolla's famous paintings. I was shaking I was so excited, I wanted to put someone in it and paint it.

We had a nice train ride to Granada. Scott and I choose to stay in an apartment just below the Alhambra. When we got out of the taxi we notice this Pension right across from the little alley way that led to our place. It was the place that we stayed in when we visited in 1997. We have nostalgic memories from that trip, the room was small and we had to share a bathroom down the hall. That was our first painting trip and we were so poor we wanted to stay in places under $30 a night. I was so cheap back then that I budgeted a certain amount and we still came home with money.

a cute tea set at one of the restaurants.

The Santa Ana church in the main square of Granada

A view of the Alhambra to the left from Saim, Fabiola and Kyoko's apartment.

There were beautiful mosaics on the streets. This path led to our apartment.

The day that we visited the Cathedral there was a building right across from the entrance that tourists were going in to. I had no idea what it was, but we followed them. It is an old building that is now owned by the University of Granada. It was built at the same time as the Alhambra with the same mosaics and designs on the walls. The guide told us that these walls had been protected and hadn't seen  daylight so the colors were saved. This is what the interior of the Alhambra would look like if the walls weren't exposed. Now the walls in the Alhambra are faded and look white.

There are so many historical and interesting places to see in Granada. They sell a discounted group ticket to see the main buildings. One of the places was http://www.lovegranada.com/monuments/san-jeronimo-monastery/.  It had a very different look on the inside compared to the big cathedral. This one was very baroque. 

Walking through the streets after leaving the monastery we came upon a procession. 

The first time we walked through the entrance gates and went to go find Fabiola and Kyoko painting in the gardens we couldn't find them because the English and Spanish maps had different numbers for the fountains and buildings. Ha ha .. so we just set up at the first place we saw that was out of the walking path of tourists. 

The view of the cathedral from our balcony. The bell tower in the front is the Santa Ana church in the main square

This was a sweet kitty that lived at our apartment. She was so cute I had to paint her. She would greet us every time we came home.

She would greet us sitting laying here because that is where the sunniest spot was. 

The facade of the cathedral

The pomegranate design was everywhere. These were the Pews in the cathedral

One of the old entrances to the Alhambra.

It was overcast and a little chilly, but I went out by myself one afternoon and did this sketch.

We try to see all the details - here is a close up of one of the ceilings.

This is a famous view, Sorolla did some paintings standing right here. We were not able to paint here do to all the tourists wanting to take a photo in this spot.

One of the days it rained on and off so Scott hid on this terrace to stay dry. He had to climb through the scaffolding to get to this spot.

A close up of the floors. I love how they design with different kinds of tiles.

I had never seen Pomegranates on a tree before, I didn't know they opened up like this when they are ripe

Fabiola painting

The day was beautiful, but I was sitting in the shade and I was freezing. I was in such a bad mood, I felt miserable.  I had horrible nasty thoughts going through my head. It is hard for me to be positive every time I paint outdoors. It doesn't come natural and I start to find reasons to stop all the time. I keep trying though and even when I'm uncomfortable I try to change my mind about it. I realize how blessed I am to be creating and experiencing this incredible place. Some days are magical, some days are a struggle.

Scott is fearless and is up for any painting occasion.

The painting is a little too yellow in this photo, but you can see how juicy the color and brushstrokes are.

This was a snack shop in the Alhambra gardens.  I loved the kittens on top

Kyoko is painting on the left

It was funny how many times tourists would ask me questions about the Alhambra and wanted directions.

It was over cast so you don't get all the beautiful pinks in the stone of the fortress

Saim and Scott love to have kids help with their paintings

Saim is the best, he is so friendly and out going. He met the owners of this Flamenco dinner place and asked if anyone would like to pose. He set up this model session with one of the beautiful dancers there.  Her name is Estephania.

Scott is doing a photo shoot with Estephania.

This was Scott's second attempt, he did this one in an hour.

We came back that night to see her dance. She was great !!!!  

She dances at a couple different places in town. While walking to the Camino de Sacro Monte we saw a poster of her.

Back to the Alhambra, we had an open pass to paint there so we tried to go as much as possible.

Yikes, the colors are little too green.  They will be better on our website.

Our last day in Granada we went to see the Camino de Sacro Monte up on the hill over looking the city

There were some groups of junior high kids on school field trips there while we were painting. Kids love to come over and practice there English and see who can ask the boldest question. 

We took a bus up there but we didn't know that the bus only goes there in the morning. So we waited and waited until we realized it wasn't coming back. It was a great walk back to our apartment and we saw this church along the way.

There is a famous overlook in the neighborhood called the Albaycin 

where musicians gather and artists sell there stuff. The Alhambra is in the background

Back to Madrid.  Scott and I walked around the streets near the Prado and we saw this huge poster on a building. I thought it was fabulous. I could tell it was an advertisement for a drawing class, but then I looked closer and saw it was for a children's art class. We talked with the lady who ran the classes and she said this drawing was done by a 10 year old.  How fun.

One of our artist friends in Winston Salem named Cheryl Anne used to live in Madrid when she was in college and she studied for a short time with the artist Javier Pamplona. Cheryl Anne was so nice to connect us with her friend Menyi and her old teacher.  Menyi is a fascinating energetic women, she was so nice to go out of her way to meet us at our hotel and take us to Javier's studio. Afterwards she gave us a walking tour around town to different bars to hear music and get tapas. It was a wonderful treat to meet these friendly people and get a real Spanish experience. Javier didn't speak English, but he was so generous with his time and showed us all his paintings in his studio. We loved seeing a different area of Madrid.

          One of my favorite places in Madrid is the Buen Retiro Park.

This was our last day in Madrid. It was a short trip for us, but we packed a lot in. It won't be our last visit.

If your interested in seeing more images from the Sorolla Museo and Spain you can look at old blog posts from January 2012  Spain- Madrid, Toledo and Seville 
and another one Turkey and Spain  June 2013