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A Morning Walk in Sierra Nevada’s Mid-Mountain

It’s late August so it’s hot. If you start out on a hike at nine by twelve or one you’ll wish you’d stayed home. But here in Granada the climate not only varies by latitude–the farther south you go the warmer it gets–but by altitude: the higher you go the cooler it gets. This is because Granada has Sierra Nevada, a mountain range that rises from some 700 meters of altitude–Granada’s marvelous tourist attraction, the Alhambra fortress and palace is actually built on one of the last spurs of Sierra Nevada–up to the 3,400 meters of Mulhacen, mainland Spain’s highest peak.

So, the other morning Mike and I jumped in the car at 8:00 a.m. and drove 20 minutes up the Sierra Nevada road to a place called “El Desvío” (“The Detour,” as it’s where the old road divides from the new one) at 1,800 meters of altitude. In one of the bars congregated there  we had breakfast–leche manchada con media tostada de aceite y tomate, milky coffee with half a toasted Vienna roll, virgin olive oil and grated tomato, and set off on foot along a gravel trail that leads to a remote convent five kilometers up the road. We didn’t make it to the convent but we enjoyed a delicious hour and a half hiking along the road. We took our dog, Cuca, with us. She also needs a workout.

During the whole time we only saw one car and a handful of hikers, a real luxury. We enjoyed immensely the gently rising and falling trail, the stunning mountain views and watching Cuca hunting little skink lizards. She never catches one. Best of all was the temperature, never going beyond23 or 24º. Here is a selection of the pictures Mike made on the walk.

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Maureen Booth, August 2016

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Mila Galán — Looking at the Past

Mila Galán, a teacher from Badajoz in Spain’s western region of Extremadura who works in three languages (Spanish, English and French) left yesterday after a week’s solarplate and liquid metal workshop in my studio. What was refreshing about working with Mila was that she arrived with a clearly conceived project. She wanted to capture in prints some aspects of her own early life and that of her family. She based her work on a collection of black and white and sepia photographs from her family album, but not in the usual “photocopy the photograph” solarplate mode. Mila rendered her photographic memories in freehand drawings on acetates, which we then burned onto solar plates. “I wanted to do homage to my grandparents, including some text from my grandfather’s letters to my grandmother,” says Mila. “And I wanted to acknowledge the things I’ve learned from my father and my mother. Doing so has given me a tremendous feeling of fulfillment.”

The last photograph in this brief album shows some of Mila’s results. I like very much what she achieved.

Come back and see us when you can, Mila.

Susan and Maryanne Change Plans

Maryann Susan Maureen

They planned their Spanish holiday months in advance. California printmakers Susan Lyon and Maryanne Nucci wanted to include a visit to Maureen’s studio in Granada, and stay for a few days in her Gallinero artists’ cabin, though they wouldn’t have time to do any printmaking. What little time they had available to spend in Andalusia would be in Seville and Granada and “visiting the olive-oil regions” (Maryanne’s business at home is an Italian restaurant, so she is an olive oil connoisseur.)

That was the plan. But when they arrived and saw Maureen’s studio and the work she was turning out there–after the usual How-did-you-do-that?! moment–they changed their plans and decided to get their fingers inky. Luckily they had both already seen the Alhambra on previous visits to Granada, because they spent the full four days they were here hard at work creating and printing solar plates.

They left delighted with the results they had achieved, anxious to get back to California and enjoy some “How-did-you-do-that?! moments of their own.

Susan Lyon and Maryanne Nucci–California girls from the Monterey area–spend four “stolen” days in the Gallinero and working with Maureen in her studio.

El Gallinero Receives First Artists, Makes for Busy Springtime 2010

22/06/2010 1 comment

El Gallinero Receives Its First Artists, Makes for a Busy Springtime in 2010

It’s been a busy month and a half in my studio, working with artists from both sides of the Atlantic. All of them stayed in our new Gallinero (“Chicken House”) artists’ residence and have confirmed our highest hopes for that
studio/cabin as a place which genuinely inspires creative work.

Isabel Fallow
The first one to visit was Isabel Fallow, accompanied by her husband, Jack, a professional communicator and mediator (in the peacemaking sense of the word) who dedicated his time to reading and relaxing and sorting out the world with my husband Mike while Isabel and I worked together in the studio.

Isabel, like all the others in this post, found my studio on Internet (I’m not sure where as Mike has put me all over the place…) She’s a professional painter and printmaker from Buckinghamshire in the U.K. Her work is bold with a distinctive personal touch, and her drawings lent themselves nicely to the creation of solar-plate prints. She was delighted with the results and is already talking about coming back for more, perhaps with a few artist friends.

Beatriz Taillefer & Eduardo
Beatriz and Eduardo are, respectively, an established painter and a professional photographer from Málaga on the southern Mediterranean coast of Spain. Both were fascinated with the solar-plate techniques, and anxious to apply them to their work, each in their own way. Beatriz, who is doing a lot of portrait commissions lately, was anxious to change techniques for a while, so she spent some time working on her favorite subject, flowers, which she does beautifully.

Eduardo’s prints, based on his photographs expertly manipulated in PhotoShop, surprised me with their artful qualities. Who said you can’t make real art with a computer?  Artistic creation aside, Beatriz and Eduardo discovered that the bar next door served free tapas with the drinks and became loyal regulars there evenings.

Janet Stahle-Fraser
Janet arrived in early June, along with her husband, Dave, from their cabin “in the bush” somewhere north of Toronto. In the two weeks she spent in my studio Janet touched some of the most interesting techniques: solar plate, carborundum, liquid metal, chine collé and  experimental printing. She was delighted to go home with a big bundle of plates and prints under her arm, which she will be showing this summer in her Tapawingo Studio in Baysville, Ontario.

Dave, whom Mike refers to as his “Canadian expert,” got stuck into what was supposed to be a minor building project with Mike but wound up as two days of hard-rock mining, as the walls of our house are of stone almost two feet thick!
The final result was the hanging of this antique plant hanger which they found in a second-hand lot for 10 euros, thinking it was “a bargain.”

Note: There are still some available spaces in my calendar of summer workshops, both for the courses and the Gallinero. But you need to write me soon, or phone (+34 658 953399) before they are spoken for.

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