How thrilling to disembark from the airport shuttle and step onto a Spanish plaza! A quick walk down the Ramblas brought me to my new AirBnB home for the next five days in the Barri Gòtic, which was pretty handy for seeing a lot of the city’s offerings in a short period of time.
A long sleep helped me shake off jetlag, and my first day’s exciting agenda was to go and say hello to Pablo. Five minutes’ walk down narrow Medieval streets was the Museo Picasso, which held a fine collection of works made by the Catalan artist in his formative years, including academic figure studies, plein air landscapes, and paintings of friends and family.
I spent a little time furiously drawing in pencil the bronze bust of one of Picasso’s first girlfriends, Fernand. Shortly afterward I was taking a break on a bench in the foyer, beside a young woman who had apparently been doing a bit too much site-seeing. She kept nodding off, and jerking awake again. Amused by the spectacle and recognizing a great drawing opportunity, I did a quick semi-blind contour drawing of her without turning my sketchbook page. I finished off the composition by including a ceramic owl that I could see in the next room.
A short train-ride away from Barcelona is a quiet little seaside village, Arenys de Mar. There I was given a quick tour of the Art Print Residency, run by the master printmakers and gracious hosts, Jordi and Claudia.
It has a fantastic print studio, three bedrooms available to residency artists, views of the surrounding landscape and the sea below, and cork trees growing on the hillside, on which Jordi showed me the cutting marks from previous cork harvestings.
Afterward he dropped me off at the next village, Caldes d’Estrac, where I spent a beautiful afternoon at the Fundacio Palau, and afterward stumbled upon the local peoples’ favorite haunt, an unassuming beach café with the Mediterranean surf rolling in. One of those beautiful unplanned moments I always treasure on my travels.
More on Spain to come!