Spain was a revelation. It seems like a hidden gem with practically no one we know talking anything about it except for Barcelona and Costa del Sol. But the interior is splendid with magnificent cities and charming small towns that date back to medieval times, such as one that we spent several days exploring, Baeza. The locals hangout in the central plaza, strolling along at a leisurely pace, gossiping and discussing matters of importance to their world, no doubt. It’s a relaxing pace after the likes of Madrid and even Toledo, both of which we visited and enjoyed thoroughly. But they have their crowds and hoards of tourists, where Baeza is simpler, a more intimate glimpse of the people out in the countryside. Baeza sits on a hilltop and was formerly a walled city with some of that remaining overlooking the olive tree fields below in the valley. You smell the olive oil processing plants on certain days, but its more intriguing than offensive, just to know a bit about how those oblong green gems get made into the golden green liquid that brings so much cooking to life with the delicate earthy flavors it imparts.
The painting is the street where we stayed, the sign actually that of our hostal. An off kilter place that felt like a cross between a medieval castle and a Wisconsin lodge, but it was clean and friendly, and also the home of a multi-generational family still in residence. It became our home for a couple days as we experienced their small town and a lesser known part of Spain.
I had wanted to go to Cordoba, Spain since reading about it in the book Ornament of the World, an account of Islam in Spain since the seventh century. I got my wish in the spring of 2004 on our round the world trip. We spent three days there and were stunned by the incredible architecture of the Great Mosque, built and expanded from 756 – 1031 by the Ummayads. The streets of the old town were narrow and intimate, allowing little but foot traffic and the ability to envision Cordoba as it was centuries ago . One of the other impressive sights of the city was the palace, which we toured at our leisure.Â Thick fortressed walls told of protection it required for its inhabitants. But Cordoba was the center of progressiveness, academia, and enlightenment while the rest of Europe moldered and stewed in the Dark Ages. Culture flourished as did religious tolerance.
This is a scene from the outside of the royal palace, flanked with flowering Spring trees and looking like the castle of old that it is.
This is the third painting I did of the series of Christmas lights. Lots of fun playing with the salt and seeing how the colors interacted with it. Done in layers with salt and paint added to define the shapes better as it progressed.
Dave and I landed in Singapore from Bali as part of our around the world trip in the Spring of 2004. It was hot and humid beyond imagining, but I loved visiting the various old towns like Chinatown.
This is a street scene there with wonderful colonial buildings in the background, one painted over with big flower patterns. I’m experimenting with a really loose style here, much looser than my norm, and way out of my comfort zone. But my in-house critic claims it to be very good. And I’ll at least say that I’m liking many parts of it. It’s something I want to try to do more.