Archives for the month of: April, 2014

Except for my second cup of coffee late in the afternoon at “MY” café, the drawings are pretty explanatory.

Breakfast before heading to the Hotel Colon across from the Cathedral.

Sitting with Laurie in the lobby waiting for Gwen and Phil to arrive.

A repeat visit to this museum and lots of sketching in the journal and this iPad one here. A total of six very ancient statues. Something really cool FYI – save your ticket stub – they let you in for a second visit within six months for free. Lunch was in the outdoor restaurant attached to the museum.

I opted to go with Gwen to the indoor venue of the book festival today and tomorrow. The directions/location were a bit obscure. I checked out the artists for a little while and then went for a walk. I discovered the place was only a couple of blocks from Port Vell and not very far from the Columbus Monument. I’m clocking up millions of miles but in reality things are not very far from other things in the Old City, it’s just all the walking around in circles I seem to do several times a day. I ended up taking the Super Long Route to the Cathedral area and an afternoon coffee. At 4pm I took part in a workshop at the book festival. Laurie has perfected Lino/relief printing using old credit card machines that she modifies. We were a class of 15 artists having a fine time cutting small linoleum blocks and then printing them. We had a mixture of languages: English, Catalan, Spanish, Italian and for 4 hours everything went super smoothly.

It’s 11:30 pm here right now. I draw in my sketchbook when I’m out and about and then add the pizzazz in the night. I usually start to fall asleep when I’m at the last stage – the “white pen step” – and the pen slips on the page when I nod off. This is invariably occurs between 12:30 – 1:00 am. I try to fight it but I lose.

Tomorrow there might be a Sketchcrawl. I’m waiting for the time and place to be announced via Facebook message. Hope so. Fingers crossed. Cross your fingers also please.

iPad; New Trent Arcadia stylus.
Pen & Ink app.

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I’m a bit behind with my reportage. Let’s see. I went on another free walking tour. This time it covered the exteriors of Gaudi’s buildings including Sagrada Familia. The city was overflowing with people EVERYWHERE because it was Sant Jordi day so I expected that the tour would be filled up by the time I arrived – I was running a bit late due to a snafu – but there were only twelve people. After the 2-1/2 hour tour I asked the guide to point me in the right direction and, even though two subway rides got us places, I decided, after looking at the map, that it was entirely walkable. Of course I told myself that I should get ice cream if I survived.

The walk took me in the direction of Fundatión Antoni Tapies so I stopped there for a little while before proceeding to the book festival in Placa Sant Just. I passed, by chance a small restaurant that we had eaten in earlier this week so I stopped, got the bestest pizza and even the bestest coffee and was totally revived. Even my feet got a second chance at life. The book festival was wonderful. It was crowded with artists displaying/selling their artist’s books, an opera singer and her pianist, poetry reading, harpist that also sang and a clog dancer that I missed. When I arrived, Gwen was at her table making a trade with another artist. The site was also crowded with passersby – a steady stream – stopping, looking, touching the artwork, asking questions. I spotted one of the fellows from last Saturday’s sketchcrawl sitting on the church “stoop” sketching. Unfortunately I arrived too late to see two people I was hoping to see, Silvia and a facebook friend. Oh well.

When they packed up at 8:00 I left, walked up a short passage, turned a corner into a large square and found a brass band and people holding hands and dancing in ever larger circles. I lingered for awhile. No. I didn’t dance.

That was it for Wednesday. I think I hit everything. Oh yeah. I got ice cream. Funny how I can remember which streets lead me there.

Today was a leisurely wandering day for me. After breakfast I strolled along La Rambla to Mercat de la Boqueria where I walked back and forth through the whole place. It was a good thing I had just eaten. I found a spot next to a pillar where I would be in no one’ way and sketched in my journal.

I went across La Rambla to a cash machine. AND THEN two motorcycle cops with flashing blue lights speed by from the side street. Then another and another. Hmm. I cross the road and can see that there is smoke billowing from the roof of a building, or maybe from behind it. I watch for awhile and realize that Placa Reial is just behind the building so I walk into there and watch the policemen set up a perimeter just in front of me and then two teeny tiny fire trucks (remember, the streets in the Old City are very narrow) arrive and firemen spill out and search for the fire. And then blah blah blah everything is apparently under control so I resume my walk, ending at the Columbus Monument where I turn around and walk until I decide to enter the Old City. I found the little restaurant again, this time on purpose, had pizza and a large coffee, read and sketched the same scene twice – once in my journal and once in iPat.

My ears led me to a small square just one street away and there was a convenient bench-like ledge to sit on.

Still walking I ended up in front of the Cathedral. There were lots of booths selling antique and “antique” jewelry, books, coins, etc. I studied everything and walked on.

I planned on going to MACBA (maybe Museum of Art & Culture Barcelona? Maybe) and I got there about 4:30 and promptly hit a wall. I was soooo tired all of a sudden I almost fell asleep while watching an incomprehensible film and had trouble getting one foot in front of the other. I forced myself to enter every exhibition on all three floors. Honestly, I only enjoyed a Kentridge film in trilogy and a couple of very large Tapies pieces. Everything else? I didn’t have enough oxygen in my brain to make any sense of it or even to want to. It took me forever to walk to the hotel even though it was only a block away.

Phew. I did it. All caught up.

iPad; New Trent Arcadia stylus.
Pen & Ink app.

Yesterday, Tuesday, was a museum day topped off with a dinner that lasted until 12:15 am this morning.

Gwen, Phil, Ann and I walked down La Ramble, hooked a right, did more walking and found the cable car that whisked us up to Montjuic and more walking.

Fundació Joan Miró was the first stop. So much to see in this wonderful museum. We also ate lunch there.

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We then walked further up Montjuic, and after a bit of clay gathering by Gwen, and confusion by all of us, we finally found Museu Nacional D’Art de Catalunya which turned out to be quite an imposing edifice. It even has a cascading waterfall. Unfortunately the modern art wing was closed for a few months but there was plenty to look at.

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Instead of taking a cab back to our part of Old Town, Gwen and I opted to walk. Phew. Screaming dogs. At 7pm there was a Round Table for the book festival organized by Elisa Pellicani. About 30(?) book artists showed up speaking all sorts of languages. I sat and did a drawing in my journal and clapped when everyone else did. Then twelve (a fluid number as it turned out) of us walked into the Ravel area and had a seafood feast in a tiny 75 year-in-business restaurant that ended a few hours ago this morning.

The whole city will be celebrating St. George today with books and roses. Biggest holiday in Catalania. Bigger than Christmas.

iPad; New Trent Arcadia stylus.
Pen & Ink app.

Sigh. I’m worn out.
I have no oomph to write anything.
This is a Very Quickie Thing I drew while looking out of the window of the Starbucks near Ann’s apartment. 5 minutes. 10 minutes. The shops all have metal things (I can’t think of what they’re called right now) that slide over the doors and windows when they are closed for the day and they are all covered either with random graffiti or graphics relating to the business inside. Very colorful and compelling. Even the junkie messy ones. The one on the left is a graphic of a wonky house with what look like cards behind – a house of cards(?) – that I like a lot but I didn’t want to reproduce someone else’s art and I didn’t have any time anyway. The one on the right consists of scribbles and multiple flyers layered over each other. Strangely attractive. Shutters! Is that what they’re called?

Anyway, Gwen and I had a very nice (delish, Just up my alley, Made me happy and full for the whole day) breakfast with friends of a New York friend of mine. Silvia and Albert. In a restaurant just a step or two from the Arc de Triumph. I kid you not. I’m tired but I still know where I am. I wish we could have had more time with them but someone was arriving today and Gwen had arranged to meet her at the hotel.

Oh well. Since I’m too tired to write today I won’t tell you that I split off from everybody and walked to, and found, Placa Reial, in order to join a FREE walking tour of the Old City, learned all sorts of interesting historical facts which will probably be gone by the time I wake up later (it’s after midnight) had time to kill so I did that with a two scoop chocolate ice cream cone and sketched a journal page. The tour was 2-1/2 hours and was EXCELLENT. the last site was the church where I attended the late Easter vigil and I found my way back to the hotel. Well. I kinda took a Very Long route but…I didn’t get lost and didn’t have to backtrack.

We had lunch here.

And remember. I’m also documenting things with journal spreads so forgive Monday’s scribble.

iPad; New Trent Arcadia stylus.
Pen & Ink app.

Continuation of Saturday:
There turned out to be no Sardana dancing outside the Cathedral. Elisa and two of her friends met up with us in the area and she showed us the small plaza where the book festival tables will be set up and then we all went for dinner at Bodega la Palma then to the Easter vigil mass at Sant Maria del Mar which ended at midnight. There I was, rain starting, dashing through the after midnight dark narrow streets by myself. Everybody else in Barcelona was also out so I really wasn’t alone. Slept like a log.

It Sunday. Because it rained we changed our plans which involved a cable car and mucho walking and instead headed over to Museu Frederic Marès where we spent a couple of hours before and after lunch. Gwen and I walked around scoping out an appointment location and then back to Ann’s apartment.

All the labels beside the art are in Catalan.

iPad; New Trent Arcadia stylus.
Pen & Ink app.

Not to confuse things, but I’m going to start with the first half of today, Saturday, and leave the remainder of Friday at the end because my journal drawings for yesterday need to be scanned when I’m home and today I did digital also which are ready.

Ok?

At 10:00 am we, Gwen, Phil, Ann and I, met at the top of La Rambla and walked to the Monument of Columbus (Colon, as he is called here) and joined lots of Barcelona sketchers for the 43rd International Sketchcrawl which is taking place all over the world on this day. How cool is that. Nice of the world to schedule it for the time when I’m here.

The first two are details from friezes around the base of the huge, towering monument. They were located about a foot above my head, give or take.

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Then we were heading for the next spot but I lost sight of those who were leading and found myself lost with four other sketchers. I couldn’t understand them, they couldn’t understand me. She modeled for me.

It took awhile, but I think an email or two finally located them. Since it was too sunny for the IPad I sketched the sketchers in my journal.

Ann, Phil, Gwen and I split off from them now with plans to rejoin at the last location, a small church. We walked to the beach so we could view the Mediterranean and then ate at Celler de Tapas. We went back to the church, couldn’t find the others, looked for them, sketched on our own and left. We have plans for tonight.

Now:

(This is the continuation of Friday from Barcelona 3. It is hard to keep the whole day in one place because the Wi-fi connection is excellent in Ann’s apartment and iffy in other areas so I post when it is available.)

After chilling out in Anne’s apartment we went back to the Barcelona Cathedral to see if there was anything interesting, vigil or otherwise, going on. I stayed outside and sketched while listening to the street musicians. The others wanted to have dinner so I split off to wander around and find something for dinner later. I walked back in the direction of my hotel with a plan to walk on La Ramble to see what I could see. At one point I veered off into a side street thinking it ran parallel or, at least, in the general direction I was heading. It opened up into a large avenue and off in the distance I thought I saw Placa Catalunya. Good. But then I spotted some costumed riders mounted on white horses in the side street up ahead. It turned out that the crowd of millions, which I hadn’t even noticed, were waiting for the Good Friday procession. Ha! What luck! I just happened upon it and managed to get a good spot with only one person in front of me. Thinking I had seen the entire parade I started walking to the side street where the horses had been and I saw crowds and flames. It wasn’t blocked off and people were entering so I followed suit, intrigued with the flames. Well,well. I had only seen 2/3 of the procession. Jesus on the cross was still to come and the flames were on the end of some kind of black candle-like things with serious flames coming out which were held by the black-robed and masked figures, except the pointy peaks on the masks were not sticking up anymore. I stayed in this street and watched the police and Boss Masked Man try to coordinate while Girl On This Last Float tried unsuccessfully numerous times to get the large white candles to stay lit. This float and the previous two were lavishly decorated and covered in flowers. There was a band of drummers, a band of bagpipers and brass band, children and dignitaries.

Afterwards I figured it was too late to walk down and back on La Ramble so I went to Plaça Catalunya instead and sketched some of the goings on there into my journal. Then the hunt for dinner was successful (included a triple triple dangerous chocolate muffin) which I ate contentedly in the hotel room.

Whew. Friday finished.

iPad; New Trent Arcadia stylus., Pen & Ink app.

This is a continuation of Thursday late afternoon. I’m really starting to get confused as to what day it is and where I’ve been. Gotta start taking GOOD notes in my little notebook.

> We left the apartment at a little before 5 to meet/meet up with Elisa Pellicani who was taking us to Instituto Italiano di Cultura for the inauguration of the VII Artist’s Book Festival 2014 which will take place several days next week and then travel around Europe. I’m a little confused because everything is in Italian and Spanish and even Catalan and I get lost and daydream. Anyway the inauguration turned out to be wonderful. Last years books were displayed all over the Institute – on shelves, under glass domes, on walls. There were cotton gloves available so the books could be handled. Many people came, long speeches were spoken but not in English and wine appeared. Before it started I sat on a chair against the wall and worked on a journal spread I had started while in the street waiting for Elisa. A woman Pia Wortham, came up to me and asked if I spoke English and was I Gwen. Well, we started talking – she’s from Texas and now lives in Barcelona. I introduced her to Gwen and later when the speeches were occurring she translated from the three languages for me.

We went out to dinner – 7 of us – including Elisa, Pia and her daughter Pia, at Trotamundo Tapas. Dinner started about 9:30 and ended close to 11pm. We walked to Placa Catalunya and then the two Pias and I walked to my hotel through the dark streets. They lived just a few blocks further. I was happy for the company because I wasn’t sure what or who I would run into in the narrow streets at that time of night. What I would have run into were people returning from dinner, just as I was.

This morning, Friday, I got up early and walked towards the apartment just after dawn. I stopped for some coffee and food (not going to tell you where but it was the only place open) and then rang the doorbell at a few minutes after 8:30 am. We discovered that the Picasso Museum has started opening earlier and it is not in the tourist guides yet and the best time to get there is at 9:00 when it will not be crowded yet.

So that’s what we did. We each bought an Articket BCN which gives us entry to 6 museums and a big discount. Yikes! I’M A DREADED TOURIST! The museum has his early art – things I’ve never seen before. It also has exhibits of art by other artists who were inspired by him. Some were Jasper Johns, Basquiat and Warhol. There was a gallery of art by south Asians who were inspired by Guernica and another of Africans who riffed on D’moiselles d’artigan (I’m too lazy to look up the spelling but you all know which painting I’m referring to). I managed to do several drawings into a journal spread. Gwen and Ann went into the cathedral to find out about vigil times and to light some candles while Phil and I sat on the cathedral “stoop” and listened to street musicians.. Then it was lunch at Taller de Tapas and back to the apartment for a time-out. The museum wore us out.

Have no idea what’s happening next but something special awaits us for tomorrow.

That’s it for now. Weather is perfect. Stay tuned.

iPad; New Trent Arcadia stylus. Pen & Ink app.

I bet you think this is going to be a lazy day. Ha! I met up at 8am with Phil and Ann (Gwen was a bit under the weather) on La Rambla. Yes. I found my way there from the hotel without once looking at my little book of directions. Nevermind that it is a straight line on one little, interesting, cobbled street. I didn’t get lost. And last evening when the three of them left me after our tapas dinner, I went out and walked around, discovered a Starbucks (yes, I know, I know) that I filed away for future reference, just in case, walked up to Placa Catalunya and did a drawing in my journal, bought a vanilla gelato which I ate on my way through the narrow streets to my hotel as the sun was setting.

Oh. Looks like I went off on a tangent there. To get back to today, Thursday: I hadn’t had coffee so before we started our walk on La Rambla we stopped at – wait for it – Starbucks and I got a blueberry muffin (so did Phil) and then the walk to the port began. We diverted into the Marcat de La Boqueria WOW! Planning on going back to there many more times. Fruits veggies flowers – zillions of them- set up in beautiful colorful displays. Popsicles, millions of flavors and colors. We resumed our walk, cobblestones and all sorts of other stones. Narrow streets. Ancient churches. And it is only 11:00.

We went back to the apartment to get Gwen and this is what happened to Phil.

Afterwards we (Gwen was back to normal) went out to lunch at a nice little restaurant, Cafè d’estiu which was outside/a part of Museu Frederic Marès. Yummy. I had a bit of a coffee ordering snafu but considered it a learning experience. I took advantage of the time before getting the actual food to do a journal page.

Then we went back to La Ramble and showed Gwen the big market, wandered around more and then went back to Ann’s apartment to get organized for an event tonight in anticipation of the big book festival next week.

Probably I forgot all sorts of things but so far I remember that I can’t stop smiling.

(Pics in order of narrative.)

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Pen & Ink app, iPad; New Trent Arcadia stylus.
Journal spreads have to wait until I’m home to scan them.

I’m in (or was in) Terminal 4 at JFK International Airport. I didn’t have to take off my shoes. All the lines were short and speedy. Of course I was super duper early because I was a frenzified nervous wreck.

I took the LIRR to Jamaica and then got on the Airtrain to JFK. I rehearsed doing that on Saturday after work but it is so easy and the signage is so clear that a rehearsal was not necessary. Plus it was waaaaaaaayyyy cheaper than taking a cab and since it was raining cats and dogs I didn’t have to worry about traffic.

When I arrived at the airport the frenzy dissipated and as soon as I started sketching the hours just melted away and I went to the gate area to wait for boarding. I did three journal sketches and these two iPad ones.

Right now I’m in Barcelona. We, Gwen, Phil and I, spent some time stumbling around trying to find the street of my hotel by following verbal miss-directions and maps while in a hunger, sleep-deprived stupor and dragging luggage behind. Finally we stopped for some sandwiches, regained a new lease on life turned a corner and there it was – my hotel. Phew.

Gwen drew a map from the hotel to the apartment where she and Phil are staying with a friend which will probably end up on her blog and I wrote the street names in my little notebook so I now know how to get somewhere in a straightforward way by myself without confusion. Oh boy. The little twisty streets are chock full of sights and sounds. Offshoots that are even tinier. But our goal was to get to the apartment first. ThIs is where I am now. The three left me here to write this and send it off while they went to the store for toothpaste. Then we are going to wander.

iPad; New Trent Arcadia stylus. Pen & Ink app.

This is a continuation from yesterday’s post about last Sunday.

I started out with the folks in Penn Station and a cup of coffee.

More sketches from the park next to the Flatiron Building.

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Lucky me. There was a long line for the food.

Afterwards, I walked downtown to the Strand Bookstore cutting through Union Square Park.

Top image: Moleskine journal; background Gelli Plate printed with acrylic; Sharpie Ultra Fine pen, Pitt brush pen, Signo Uni-ball (UM-153) white gel pen; and a bit of color with Crayola markers.

All the rest: iPad; New Trent Arcadia stylus.
Pen & Ink app.