Saturday, February 21, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
It was a sunny, warm day. 16 degrees celsius in February. A good day for visiting the medieval fortress of Toledo. The city's old town is perched upon a hill, overlooking the Tagus River. The streets are narrow and winding and a little confusing. El Greco was known for living in this place. His casa/ museo was being renovated though. However, the Museo del Santa Cruz, which used to be a hospital, allows the public to see El Grecos (and Goyas) for free.
I sat at the edge of a cliff and rolled up my sleeves. It was the perfect conditions for drawing aging brick structures and the calloused rock faces that drop into the green river.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Saturday, February 14, 2009
The Royal Palace of Madrid is a snazzy place. Apparently it is the largest royal palace in Western Europe and has more than 2 800 rooms. Unfortunately not all the rooms are accessible. As large as it sounds, I was in dismay to find that the areas that were available to tourists was rather quaint in relation to the size of the property. I have a tendency to deviate when I'm feeling the need to satiate my curiosity, but there was no sneaking past the folks here. They keep a watchful eye on you.
As you can see, I was trying to get a few shots without the guards catching on, but alas it's trivial to even attempt it when my hands are as shaky they are. That's why I opt for recording images with drawings. It takes longer, but I don't have to worry about blurriness.
The interiors were pretty nuts. Lots of gold, lots of amazing reliefs, beautiful frescoes(mostly the ones by Tiepolo), some chinoiserie thrown in for good measure, ornate, ornate, ornate! If you like Versailles, you'll like this place. There was also an area displaying military armoury and a farmacia too. Armoury creeps me out. Reminds me of the scene in Bedknobs and Broomsticks when the knights come to life to fight the nazis.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Saturday, February 7, 2009
No, the title does not imply that I have thrown in the towel after years of vegetarianism. The smell of bubbling pig fat still makes me vacate the premises. I'm talking about that messy Irish bloke, Francis Bacon.
The Francis Bacon exhibition opened at the Nacional Museo del Prado this week. I went to see the show on the second day it opened. I anticipated that there would be die-hards waiting in line to get in, but there wasn't. I think the rain scared them away. The exhibit was on both the first and second floors. This show is meant to commemorate the artist's birth in 1909 (whoa!). Included in the show are 62 paintings and archival objects from his studio such as source material and sketches. An ace show. The Three Studies for a Cruxifixion triptych is marvelous. Go see it if you are in Madrid. It's up until April 19th, 2009.
Bacon was one of my favourite artists when I was in my early teens. He was another painter that my Dad introduced me to. I forgot how much Bacon influenced me as a young person, until I got reacquainted with his paintings the other day. I haven't seen many Bacons in the flesh and I was really astounded by how they made me feel. The thick encrustation of the painted surface, the vibrancy of viscera, faces lacerated with sweeping gestures, periodic dollops of titanium white... such a treat. A weird nostalgic feeling enveloped me as well as a sense of closure that only occurs through physical encounters with well-known cultural artifacts. Man, I felt like I was transported through this nutzoid time portal; the good type of flashback though. The type that helps you understand the inherent nature of self, despite all the brainwashing (aka art school) that may have occurred between now and then. I learned that I am still an angry and morbid atheist despite my all-accepting demeanor. It's all a façade folks! Thanks for clearing things up for me, Mr. Bacon.
In grade 9 art class we had an assignment where we had to turn an existing artwork into an ad. I guess it was supposed to be an inventive means of getting teenagers to better understand how to appreciate the hand of another artist via mimicry. I chose Bacon's Second Version of Painting 1946 and added text that read something like, "Francis Bacon's Artificial Bacon Bits". I considered it mildly funny, but in retrospect I think most people felt that it confirmed my penchant for being rather messed up. There has been little development in this aspect of my life.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Now that I've got studio space I'm getting back on the paint wagon. Feels so good to crack open the oils and spirits again. Prepared some paper with acrylic medium last night and dedicated the first painting of 2009 to the resident canine, Chicho.
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