Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Coloring Book of Northern Spain

You may have noticed that I haven't posted recently. It is mostly because I am spending an inordinate amount of time making art. I suppose this is good, because what I mostly blog about is my creative life. On the other hand, I am finding that "making art" can become addictive to the point of not knowing why you are drawing/painting/sewing and risks becoming an itch you must scratch each day, maybe a little devoid of meaning or seriousness of intent. It's kind of like shopping when you already have a closet full of clothes. Do you really need one more of these? Will one more "creative" activity really fulfill me or be, in effect, creative in a way that helps me grow my vision or expand my talent? So I decided I should take a day off, think of something else, and continue my tour of Spain for you.

Over at Jude Hill's place, Spirit Cloth, we students are just getting settled in for her current extended session of new ways to look at creativity, design, and life, called the "What If? Diaries." We are starting our thought process with the concept of designing with all white, and the suggestion was to convert some favorite photographic images to shades of white to ponder how they may influence our first design. Part of the exercise is to consider not just the "What if I do this?" but also "What will happen if I don't do this?" As Jude's bons mots will often do, this got me thinking. What if I don't just talk about the Spain trip like a tourist, but make something of my favorite images from this segment of the journey? Will you miss the touristy photos? Will you wish I had talked about my actual itinerary. Will you be lost or stop reading. I doubt it would matter. Actually I don't really know who "you" are or what you think of my writing. Do "you" read my every episode? Wait patiently for the follow ups? Since few people ever really comment, the guiding hand here is usually what I think a person might want to know about this stuff if we were acquainted. But even more primary: what do I feel like saying about it. What do I want to share? In reality, I'm doing this for me. It's sort of my own diary, for purposes of organizing and saving the journey. I guess it's mine to decide.

Maybe if I try to please less, I will think more creatively. Trying to move away from a lifetime of crafty to something more inspired by life. I decided that an alternate means of sharing the emotions of these images would be to manipulate them just a little, to add some color or take some away. Add some light or focus on part of the image. Distort the obvious in it. I didn't do anything severe or tricky, no special filters, no layers removed or added. Simply move the sliders of the basic adjustments away from making the image as the eye had seen them to how the heart did.

So this is segment four of my trip to Spain and Portugal, from Bilbao to Fuente De, two days of drama with art and animals, along the North coast, and into the Picos de Europa.

Arachnophobes need not draw near. One only notices the bridge as a sort of spider in this cropped image. Momma, towering over baby, towering over the people below. 

Heart stopping beautiful. I almost didn't need to go inside: The Guggenheim.

Titanium, a great clean palette to paint on.

I had wanted to see this for years. How did I ever get here?

I don't usually do pretty, but...

Poetry in motion, literally.

Inside, it's like a spacecraft waiting to lift off.

Richard Serra, "The Matter of Time", an exquisite journey though walls of metal into emotion. An experience that cried out to be captured.
I did my best.

Narrow openings...

...endless paths.

Think about standing inside. How would you feel?

The entire museum, a sculpture.

And then, outside again, decompressing under the puppy's gaze.

Thinking: I'm in Spain, but what does that mean? It's a beautiful, modern country, so different than I realized. We Americans can be so out of touch.

In the medieval town of Santillana del Mar, lunch at Parador Gil Bas. Making warm memories. 

Coloring book scenes of farm country on the edge of town.

Otherworldly and yet right there.

A special treat, the town of Riano in the rain, oozing history, emoting feelings of timeless connections. A sunny day would have erased all this.

A hot, dry summer diminished the river, but added to the charm of watching a  painter working magic along the river walk.

Two more artists in the gazebo, capturing the muted colors of town in glorious rainbows.

I have lost my fear of showing myself, my emotion. I like to make self-portraits these days.

Fuente De, a place, literally, at the end of the road. The view from the room: horses, mist, a path up the mountain.

The brave among us found joy in watching the cable car's approach, knowing we were going for more than a ride up the mountain.

Dizzying heights, the hotel just a speck below.

You have to be brave; you have to experience this joy.

Absolute surprise! A view and a herd of goats and a hand washing!

They completed the view.

It was their place.

I got to rejoice for a little while in the beauty of the mountains...

in being with beautiful creatures...

...and sharing it all with the one person who really understands how much this all means to me.