Friday, May 8, 2015

Report from the Edge: Big Catch Up Post 1

Sorry for the delay in posting but when we got home Tuesday we discovered our modem wasn't working.  In a way this offered a nice little reprieve, and I decided to sleep a lot and have an internet fast until things were working again.  This afternoon P got a new modem and not only fixed but speeded up everything.  Even the scanner seems to be quicker!

I really like the quote attributed to Yo-yo Ma that goes something like "The job of the artist is to travel to the edge and report back."  With that job in mind, I hereby offer my report.  Above is the first page of my travel journal with a sketch of the skyline at the Asheville airport along the top.  I ritually draw the skyline whenever I find myself at this particular jumping off point.
Drawings of my seat mate as he slept, the guy in front of me, a guy across the aisle, and a woman who wrapped her head in her black scarf so that she looked like the English patient.  She didn't' unwrap until we landed.
We arrived in Barcelona the next morning.  I watched four movies (it was a relatively short flight, 7 hours and 7 minutes from JFK to BCN) and didn't sleep or draw.  So the next drawing, on the left above, I made the evening we arrived, at a round table discussion held in a library at the university near our hotel.  Elisa was leading the discussion, which was conducted entirely in Spanish.  It was great fun to see friends from last year's festival, but hard to stay awake (by then I had been awake for 32 hours straight), especially when I couldn't understand a word.  So I did this drawing to help myself stay upright in my chair.  Afterwards we went to a friend's apartment for a wonderful dinner;  by the time we stumbled back to the hotel we had been up for 37 hours.

The next morning was St. Jordi's Day and the book arts festival.  We got up early and went to a little bakery kind of place (a forn) for breakfast.  I drew the bakery worker who acted as cashier and who had a beautiful bouquet of roses at her station.  It was a little tricky to figure out the protocol for buying things, so I watched to see what other people were doing.  After breakfast we walked around our neighborhood to see what we could see.  Ham is a big thing in Barcelona it seems, and we saw a shop that had dozens of large hams hanging behind the counter.  Meanwhile a strike or protest was going on down the block involving whistles and airhorns and car horns.
Speeding along, here are some sketches that I made at the festival while sitting at my table.  It was held in a lovely plaza, San Just.
The day after the festival we took off for nearby Girona by train.  When we arrived in Girona, after settling in to our homestay, we walked downtown in search of lunch.  I was able to get my favorite Catalan spinach.  How weird to love spinach this much, but you have to taste it to understand the subtle mix of flavors.
We had had a tricky time trying to find the apartment of our homestay, and the map to the left traces our fumbling path.  It was all the fault of missing street signage:  we knew the address and we had a map, but the street sign was not at a corner (follow tip of red arrow).  A kind couple used their telephone to call our host for us since our phones were useless.  He walked the two blocks to where we were and told us everybody has trouble finding their apartment!

The next day we explored the medieval town up on a hill only a couple of miles from our apartment.  At the top is an old confession box in the cathedral, and under it a sarcophagus.

Carvings from the cathedral cloister.  I am never so happy as sitting on a wall in a cathedral cloister drawing Romanesque creatures on crumbling columns while birds sing and the sun beams down.
On the left is our map to get to Massana;  on the right is a church with palm trees in a plaza that we sat in while passing some time before our 8:30 reservation.

That evening we went to dinner at a fabulous restaurant called Massana, thanks to E and K, who gave us for Christmas a paid-for dinner and had made the reservation months before.  E and K always lead us on adventures with their gifts, and this was no exception.

I didn't count this page as a drawing, but I put it in to show how I kept track of things.  Each column is one day of the trip.

Tomorrow:  Part 2 of 89 drawings.


  1. oh, is this is the festival we "discussed" a while ago? your trip looks grand!

    1. Yes! The ILDE book arts festival, part of the annual St. Jordi Day festival of books and roses