Back in Valencia, Back at Fast Painting

Unlike last year when we pulled in and got sick for a month - Oriana with pneumonia, of all nightmares - settling in to our old apartment and life in Valencia was easy this time around.  It gets easier every time.

Since we're here for a month less this year, we - actually, more me - have filled our weekends with work and activity.  For every weekend I've managed to rent a car so we can get out of the city.

This weekend, the first back, I competed in my first fast-painting contest of the season in the small city of Alcora.  It was great to reconnect with friends, sit down to a three-hour lunch on the house, and to paint outside for the first time in months.  Then again I had to paint hunched over under a mulberry tree because it rained all day and my canvas, a cheap, flexible thing that sagged in the moisture, turned out to be a bit of a slop.  I'd forgotten how frustrating plein air painting can sometimes be. 

Here was my setup before the rain hit.  When it came it knocked half of the mulberries off the tree and slimed up the ground.  At one point I slipped, dropped my canvas face down, and fell on top of it.  Interestingly, the tumble produced one of the best strokes of the painting.

My favourite painting septuagenarian, maybe even octogenarian, Fernando, toasting the organizers and us painters.

And the icky result of a morning of painting.  Acrylic on canvas, 100cm x 81cm.

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The next day, Sunday, I ran a 18.5k race in the mountains of Azuebar and finished in 2:10, about middle of the pack.  I've been running on and off all winter and spring but the flatness of Guelph can never prepare the thousands of little muscles in the legs for a mountain race.  At one point, descending from the peak, my legs locked up and I had to stop, stretch, and breathe.  Weird experience.  My muscles knotted and wouldn't move.  I hobbled back like the Tin Man, swinging on tree branches and grabbing every rock I could with my hands.  Today I'm stretching and moaning and groaning. 

Here I am, pretending I ran the whole way, coming into the finish.