PARK GUELL 20X16 1999

I had no idea about Gaudi the developer and landscape artist. This was to be a utopian community of homes. It went bankrupt because the architect was a revolutionary and an artist, not a business man. The city quickly fell in love and adopted it as a park.
Barcelona was my first experience staying in hostels. After a month of solo travel, it was nice to have company. I loved hosteling. Art opens doors and this community readily accepted me. Of course, it was show and tell every evening.

SAGRADA FAMILIA 20X16 1999

Tragedy will/does not define Barcelona. I was not surprised by the number of nations represented by the casualties. This is a city of the world. Where Córdoba is a city of insiders, Barcelona is a city of outsiders. My adjectives for her would be happy revolution. Whether it is of spirit, art, architecture, cuisine, social constructs, life and government. It is a quirky place. Your heart beats just a little faster there.
I was very excited sitting working at this site. I looked up and Sol, from Seville, was standing before me. As before, while I painted, Sol filled me in on the history of the design and construction. Designed by Gaudi in 1882, construction is scheduled for completion in 2026. I always figured Theodor Geisel must have been influenced Gaudi. I love this painting. It was a fine day. I was in a good place. This is my postcard from Barcelona.

SITGES 16X20 1999

Without leaving the train station in Barcelona, I witnessed brawling and singing from rival World Cup fans. Germany and England were in some kind of playoff. I got on a train heading South to Sitges to beach it out for two days. Problem solved. I looked forward to airing my issues on their nude beach. Homesick, I called my 104 year old grandmother. She laughed telling me to use sunscreen on my privates. She forgot to tell me to apply it to the tops of my feet after removing my shoes. It is miserable carrying a backpack with sunburn feet. Sitges is a beautiful beach community with a nice campground.

CÓRDOBA 20X16 1999

I checked into my pension, explored the city, and determined my vantage point to paint the Mosquita. The interior of this mosque houses a forest of marble columns unrivaled in the world. Set up includes stretching canvas, organizing my material and padding my butt. Besides school groups, I noticed large groups of teenagers interacting with unsavory 30 and 40 year olds. I wasn't concerned. There were plenty of police with automatic weapons. These groups cycled out over time. A large group of 9 to 12 twelve year old boys discovered me and admired my work. I don't think the adults liked the attention I was getting. Pretty soon these boys were coming behind me and screaming into my ear. I didn't understand that this was aggression at first. I thought it was just the language barrier. How do you defend yourself against children? Next thing I knew, the adults and police were kicking my legs telling me I had been there long enough. I quickly packed my stuff and escaped. Back at my room I removed my pack. It had been covered in chewing gum, which was now all over my clothes and long hair. Hence, the bubblegum colored painting. I recalled my friend's warning and booked the next train for Barcelona. Besides, I was growing weary of cured meats and fried potatoes. Barcelona promised vegetables and hashish.

ALPUJARRAS 1999

Before continuing to the next image, I will fill a gap in time. Enricki picked me up in his car and we visited the Alhambra. The architectural detail, gardens and water features put me in a meditative, zen like trance. The time, patience and variety of design is astounding. I wandered from spot to spot, letting the peace and beauty of the place wash over me. Enricki gifted a copy of Washington Irving's TALES of the ALHAMBRA. Irving resided there while writing about its storied past. Published in 1832, Irving is credited with making the Alhambra a travel destination.
Midday we set out for some mountain villages to hike between. Enricki explained, as we walked, life had not changed for some residents in centuries. As if on cue, a family group approached us on the trail with Abuela (grandma) on a donkey. Smiling, Enricki, turned and said,"you see"! I laughed because he had not noticed that Abuela was on a cell phone. The two days hiking was a nice vacation from my vacation. It felt good to put my brushes aside and just use my body. I was heading to Córdoba next and Enricki offered to drop me off there. He had a very peculiar warning. Be careful in Córdoba. They don't like outsiders, whether Spaniard or not. I would miss having a travel companion as solo travel can me lonely. I would find other ways to remedy that soon.