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Posts Tagged ‘Maureen Booth’

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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Thanks for liking, commenting and sharing.

 


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Danish Artist Sif Nielsen Parks Her Longboat by the Gallinero for Three Weeks

What to do while your partner is doing a month-long professional navegation course in Gibraltar?
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“I didn’t feel at home on the Costa del Sol so after a week I googled ‘printmaking courses in Spain,'” says Sif, “and up popped Maureen.” (Why “Sif?” Because in Norse mythology Sif was the wife of Thor.)

Sif, studied architecture but never practiced. “I just wanted to be an artist,” she says apologetically. She currently lives on an island in the Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland, Sif spent most of her time with us drawing and exploring. After her first two weeks she decided she would like to stay a bit longer. During that time she helped me print up some plates for a commission. We sometimes went entire days without seeing her. The Spanish call this reflexive state “ejercicios espirituales,” “spiritual exercises.”

One day Sif said to Mike, “Would you mind if I used some of your firewood to make  a sculpture?” We didn’t know what to expect. You can see the delightful result in the photograph above.

“This has been a unique experience, “said Sif as she was leaving. “Although I’ve done lots of printmaking courses, there’s still so much I need to learn about printmaking and Maureen is the one who can teach me. And I love the Gallinero. I’ll be back.”

 

We Take a Morning Walk in the Evening

We Put a New Twist on a Familiar Sierra Nevada Hiking Path

We usually walk in the morning. It’s cooler and the air is clearer. The pictures Mike published here a couple of weeks ago were made on this same walk, but in the morning. In the evening it’s different, but equally delightful. The color of the evening light is warmer and the later it gets the rays of the sun slant through the trees and across the hills at a low angle. We were surprised that, though it’s only half an hour’s drive up the hill from our house, and we walked for less than an hour and a half, when we came back to the bar at the bottom we felt we’d had a holiday.

Here are the pictures. (P.S. The last photo is of our house, my studio and the Gallinero from across the valley of the River Genil. The scene looked so serene as we were driving home that Mike stopped and shot the picture.).

 

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.

The New Improved Gallinero Kitchen/Herb Garden

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It’s blossom time. I think I’ve told you about converting the little irrigation reservoir/swimming pool outside the front door of the Gallinero into a kitchen/herb garden, and how gratifying it was. 

Last winter we got a neighbor to tip a couple of lorry loads of fresh soil on top and Mike prepared it with leaf mulch and sheep manure (the fertilizer of the gods…) In his enthusiasm he planted the plants a bit close together and then added two varieties of squash plants. Result: Amazonia. We can hardly get in there to pick the fruit. Still, it’s a lot of fun and we’ve been eating lettuce, onions and zucchini for weeks and we ate our first tomato yesterday. Such an event!

Meanwhile, in the end if we get some lovely butternut squash it will all have been worth it!

In the photo gallery that follows you can see some of the herbs in the garden. By the way, everything in the Gallinero garden is at the disposal of the artists who come here to work with me.

Almond Blossoms for Nevine

Thanks, Nevine, for liking the glistening eucalyptus trees from the last post. Here’s a panorama of almond blossoms from the opposite side of our valley, taken from the terrace of the Gallinero at 9:00 a.m. this morning. I hope it inspires you.

almond blossoms Granada

Click on the image to see it enlarged.

Morning after Rain, Everything Glistens

Granada, February 6, 2014–Even the eucalyptus trees on the opposite side of our valley. This photo is taken from the terrace.

Glistening morning Granada