June 29, 2012

Final Painting in Vallès

We've been back in Canada a few days, but before leaving Valencia I managed to squeeze in one last painting contest, in the tiny town of Vallès. It was the third time I'd painted there and every time it's been fun.

Some paintings on display in the main square at lunch, when the contest ended.

For lunch, a giant paella with chicken and snails.

My final piece.

And so that does it for fast painting this year. It was a short season. But I learned some new tricks, blabbed art and drank beer with artists, and sharpened my painterly instincts, the main reason why I do the contests.

Now it's on to the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition and Guelph Art on the Street (see my website). More on that to come.

June 11, 2012

Fast Painting in Bardallur and Ibi: 6th Prize and Honourable Mention

Busy weekend. We drove north of Valencia to chilly Aragon where I participated in a painting contest in the small town of Bardallur, near Zaragoza. I was awarded 6th prize (out of 7), enough to pay for the trip and materials for a while.

Here I am in the early morn, around 2 hours in at 11 am.
 The final piece at 2 pm. 120 x 100 cm, mixed media on board.

 Lunch on the house. Paella with salad, Cariñena wine, dessert, and espresso.
 Accepting my prize.

This was 1st place, probably 150 cm long!

While we were in Aragon, we stopped to the see the vanquished town of Belchite. It gave me goosebumps. Belchite was the site of a major battle in 1937 between fascists and anarchists/socialists (including many Canadian volunteers of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion).

The city, with spectacular Roman and Mudéjar architecture, was annihilated, as you can see from the photos. Rather than rebuild Belchite when the Spanish Civil War ended, Franco built a new Belchite from scratch beside the bones of the old one as a memorial to the military force he was prepared to use on his opponents. Not a rock has been moved since.

A. teaches a course on the Spanish Civil War this summer. I hope she is able to muster the art necessary to convey the emotional impact Belchite, as a target of war, as a symbol of war's destructiveness, made on us

On the way to Belchite, in the middle of nowhere but wild countryside, we passed a sign that pointed to the "birth house of Goya," a town called Fuendetodos. We had to pull in.
This bust of Goya was erected in 1920 by Zuloaga, nearly as important a painter as Goya. 

Inside the modest house Goya was born in 1746.

A museum a few steps down the road houses Goya's engravings, including The Disasters of War - some of the most radical, brave art produced in the last two centuries. We left feeling alternatively awed by the beauty of the work and disturbed by its message.

On Sunday, I painted in Ibi, Alicante, some 450 km from Bardallur, and knocked this piece off:

It was strong enough to be "selected," but didn't win a cash award.

This won 1st.

This 2nd.

June 7, 2012

Upcoming Outdoor Shows

I didn't expect to get into all the summer art fairs I applied to this year. In fact, I treated the application process a bit like submissions of stories to literary magazines, which are notorious for their low acceptance rate, at least notorious in my case. And in fact I was hoping I wouldn't get accepted into everything, because that'd mean tonnes of work.

But get accepted I did! Today I got (I think) the last thumbs up, this time from Collingwood (if you're reading Collingwood, no problem, the work will be done).

For a list of the shows I'll be at in a tent surrounded by my latest stuff, check out the News section of my website.

And if you think you might want to pitch in with setup, takedown, or babysitting the stall at any of the fairs, let me know and we'll work something out.

 My studio in Valencia today at the end of the day.

 The scene of humble little Fergus I painted today from a photo.

 I'm painting a lot of miniatures, 10" x 10", so I can transport them back to Canada in a suitcase.