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A Visit to the Alhambra with the Neighbors

On the Bus! We’re Off to Visit the Alhambra with the Neighbors from our Village

Pinos Genil, June 2017–Everybody agrees that the Alhambra in Granada is a worldwide wonder. And it’s ours. It lies in the same Sierra Nevada foothills  as our village, Pinos Genil, which is just 15-minute drive away from the monument. Nevertheless, we seldom visit the Alhambra. We take it for granted. We can go some other day. So it was a nice incentive when Elisa, the culture delegate from our town hall, organized a tour for the people of our village a couple of Saturdays ago.
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Such is our complacency here in Pinos that we only managed to fill 28 places of a 55 seat bus. The other 27 missed out on a smashing excursion. It’s a shame because the “new” Alhambra is an authentic marvel that shines as never before (at least in the past 500 years). Apparently this has to do with the fact that all the money earned from the millions of people who visit the Alhambra each year is re-invested in the monument.  And our guide was a polite, cultured and patient young man, a bonus.
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The Alhambra appears to have grown since I last saw it a couple of decades ago. Every visibile aspect of the monument has been lovingly renovated and areas once closed to visitors have been revamped and opened up. Everything shines, including the extensive gardens (El Generalife) which are impeccably kept. There are even some new excavations.  Both the Palace of Charles V (Palacio Carlos Quinto) and the church of Santa María de La Alhambra (two massive buildings that were constructed by the Christians when they culminated the Reconquest and expelled the Moors in 1492) have been had their exteriors beautifully renovated.

Note to travellers. Everything about the Alhambra is so large and so labyrinthine that you can get lost in there. (N.B. If you get lost inside the palace don’t try to trace your way back to the entrance. If you do manage to find it they won’t let you out. You have to turn around and go back through the maze till you find the proper exit. Which you won’t find unless you manage to encounter a compassionate employee to guide you out. Definitively, getting separated from the group converts a visit to the Alhambra into adventure tourism.
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Here are the photographs:

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The Story of This Print: “El Patio del Harem”

What’s a Gallinero? And why would you want to stay there?

"El Patio del Harem" Liquid-metal print by Maureen Booth

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Back at the Alhambra

I’ve started on a series of medium-sized liquid-metal prints on Alhambra themes. Granada’s medieval fortress and palace has been for centuries a source of inspiration for artists, writers and photographers, so much so that today it’s difficult to get an original take on it. This time I’m relying on the inherent looseness of the liquid-metal technique to try to achieve Alhambra images with some originality.

I had one of those wonderful printmaking experiences at the beginning of this project. The first proofs I pulled from the first plate, El Patio del Harem, looked frankly great and I thought, “This is it, I’ll print up an edition.” But before I could start, I took a close look at one of the plates from which I had just pulled a proof. In the ink residue left on the plate I could still see beautiful detail. So I rubbed a light layer of yellow ink into it, rolled some fresh silver ink on top and put it back through the press, making a “ghost print.” I was shocked to see how superior the ghost was to the live one. I have placed the original print at the top of this post, the ghost below. See if you don’t agree with me.

"El Patio del Harem-Ghost" Liquid-metal print by Maureen Booth

This print was done with liquid metal on an old, previously-etched copper plate, a still life with fruit. I put the cold solder on with a palette knife and when it was still quite sticky I drew into it with a stylus. I didn’t press any texture elements into it until about an hour and a half later. I left it overnight to harden and printed it on 600 gr. handmade paper. The ghost print was printed on 375 gr. Paperki handmade paper. I like this one better.

What’s a Gallinero? And why would you want to stay there?