Guggenheim vase

First of all, very sorry for my radio silence of late. I’ve been struggling to find time to post on here since I began my ceramics degree at TAFE, but I am hopeful things won’t be as crazy going forward. It is all a question of managing my time, and I am slowly learning to do it better. ANYWAY… I’m back! And what better than with a really interesting piece in progress I’m very excited about. I present you my Guggenheim vase, unglazed (can’t wait for the vibrant colours to show up and the pencil lines to disappear).

Guggenheim vase a

Guggenheim vase b

The vase is very tall, almost 40cm (biggest vase I have ever made). Being so big I just HAD to do something really special to it. Enter Pinterest! And this 1975 cover of the New Yorker by Laura Jean Allen. It was pinned to one of my boards over a year ago, probably waiting for the right moment to say “this could be a GOOOD idea”. I spent all of today researching the collection at the Guggenheim, designing the vase and having an absolute ball. Below is but one of the pages of my sketchbook filled with inspiration for today’s piece.

Guggenheim sketches

This isn’t my first museum-inspired piece (MoMA, MetPrado), but I think the reason why the Guggenheim has been in the back of my mind these past days is because of the current exhibition in NYC: Gutai: Splendid Playground. You must agree with me it looks absolutely brilliant. I love how certain ideas resonate and linger in my mind for a while until I do something about them. Sadly, I always have more ideas than time to carry them out… Ah well 😉

Super secret party in a hidden beach

When you move to a new city, particularly when you don’t know that many people at first, the first few weeks it’s all about doing cool stuff. With cool people. And what a cooler start than going to a super secret party in a hidden beach? This party happens every few months and is organised by a group of friends who are not professional DJs, but who do it for the love of it. As I can’t reveal the address for the party, my map is somewhat vague. However, I did take some pictures which I hope show just how cool it all was! So, first stop was getting into the grounds of this stunning house:

Then, walking down a grassy hill, turning right and there, there was the beach. Full of beautiful and super cool people, with super cool music playing in the background:

So we got there around 7pm. The view? No big deal, nope. No big deal AT ALL:

But look what happened a few minutes later:

Can there be a cooler start to my life here in Sydney? I very much doubt it.

Note: All photos are by Araceli Robledo

Egon Schiele

This should have been a very short and concise post about my self portrait.

But then I thought I’d write about artists and their self portraits. Maybe even curate a collection of my favourites. The first one that came to mind was Egon Schiele.

He has a brilliant collection of self portraits that span many years.

I thought I’d write about him, his brilliance, his rejection by his contemporaries, his very graphic nude portraits.

His muses, of which there were many, but mainly Wally and Edith, who would later become his wife.

How they both died of Spanish flu while still in their 20s. First, the six-month-pregnant Edith, and three days later, Egon himself. How he drew portraits of her during those three days.

But that would make a very sad yet beautifully moving post. So to add a bit of colour I’d also show one of my favourite of his paintings, Seated Woman with Bent Knee.

And how it inspired Peter Lindberg in his 2008 portrait of Julianne Moore.

NOTE: If you wish to know the source of each of the images uploaded, simply click on the image itself.

Wuthering Heights

Perhaps the most modest of all Great Houses of English Literature I have been talking about, Wuthering Heights is actually a farmhouse and “… the name of Mr. Heathcliff’s dwelling. Wuthering’ being a significant provincial adjective, descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in stormy weather”. And so the house is introduced in Emily Bronte’s novel.

But it’s its most recent film adaptation that has me mesmerised. Directed by Andrea Arnold, the trailer alone seems to capture the spirit of the Yorkshire Moors, where the novel is set. Some critics have even called it “a beautiful beast of a movie”. Apparently it screened here at the TIFF last September, but there’s no sign of it coming back to Canadian theatres any time soon… Sigh.

This is actually the last of a series of posts about English novels whose titles are the houses where they are set. The idea of turning my drawings of these houses into a silk screen print has been brewing in my mind for a very long time. Partially influenced by my own books and education (my undergrad was in English Philology), my life in the UK and also the fantastic blog by Lisa Borgnes Giramoti A Bloomsbury Life. The image for the print was finalised a couple of months ago and the screens are ready to rock and roll. Only need ink + paper and a lazy Sunday of printing. I must add that none of this could have happened without the help of Alanna, who’s been such a wonderful mentor all throughout the entire process: from designing the print itself + super photoshop advice to getting the screens done.

Stay tuned for the prints themselves which, once completed, will be for sale in my online shop, together with my ceramics.


About 35km north of Paris lies the delightful village of Gerberoy. Located within the département of Oise, its architecture is rich in half-timbered houses and there are even traces of a medieval castle. It is also listed in the plus beaux villages de France (Most beautiful French villages).

I hold Pinterst 100% accountable for the inspiration to do my latest bowl. I saw the photograph above somewhere, clicked, and clicked again and ended up on Jolivillage’s photostream on Flickr.  If my addiction enthusiasm with Pinterest weren’t so, I probably would have forgotten about Gerberoy by now. I wouldn’t have done the sketch below…

…nor would I have taken my sketch to a new level and turned it into a bowl…

NOTE: The image of Gerberoy above is from Jolivillage’s photostream on Flickr, via Pinterest.

Greeting cards

It’s been an immensely creative weekend: I picked up some newly glazed pots, experimented with porcelain, and also did a ton of drawings, resulting in these three lovely cards. I’m leaving my house in exactly one week, and a normal person would have been packing. But not me, I was busy working on cards to give to my lovely friends who will let me surf their couches until my visa is approved to move to Montreal. Right now I could actually be doing a search for a space where to store all of my furniture  these couple of months that I am in a limbo. But nooo waaay,  posting about my weekend is more of a priority. But enough of that, as I am freaking myself out with the TON of things I have to do in a week and it’s upsetting me. So, greeting cards you say? Yes, I reply, greeting cards.

Card number 1: Kate Spade AGAIN? Yes… I guess my up-and-coming trip to NYC is stirring my creative juices. Aside from doing my own watercolour version of that fab picture from Kate Spade tumblr, I have also created a board on Pinterest of places where to visit.

Card number 2. You may recall I visited Boston for the first time last autumn. I predicted that my casein painting of a house on Beacon Hill would be followed by many others. I was wrong – and it’s taken me over 6 months to produce another Boston-inspired piece.

I think it’s been worth the wait – herewith my first sketch of the east side of Faneuil Hall:

Card number 3. Although I don’t really post much about my motherland, Spain never ceases to inspire me. Like the beautiful town of Almagro, located in La Mancha, the setting for Don Quijote. A candidate for becoming a World Heritage Site, Almagro is famous for hosting the annual International Festival of Classical Theatre, which I was fortunate enough to attend a few years ago.

The plaza of Almagro (pictured above) holds a dear place in my heart, as it was the subject of one of my father’s paintings. It’s only natural I would follow his footsteps in some way and do my own version:

NOTE: The image of the NYC facade is from Kate Spade tumblr, and that of Almagro is from Wikipedia.

More sketches of Montreal

It’s during times like the one I’m going through right now, when my day job is so difficult and demanding, that I am most grateful for having creativity in my life. There can be days where my creativity lets me down, making everything I produce utter rubbish. However, for the most part, an intoxicating sense of self fulfillment takes over me when I finish a piece, no matter how big or small. Like these sketches I recently did one afternoon: mostly architecture found in Montreal, though there is also a little Charles Rennie Mackintosh winking at me 😉

Louvre Museum

It’s been over 10 years since I first (and last) visited the Louvre Museum. I was in Paris with my best friend at the time. We were on a bus tour of Paris and Brussels…we got there by bus too, from our hometown in northern Spain. It was dirt cheap – and it included hotel accommodation and meals as well. The catch? Well, the trip was organised by a certain political party my best friend was a member of. For me to go, I’d have to pass as his girlfriend. This was easy because we’d known each other for 6 years by then and were obviously close. We also had lots in common, which made things easier: we both loved Madonna, his grandma’s jewels, putting on high heels and learning to roller-blade! Need I say more 😉

When we arrived in Paris, we were on a mission: see as much as we could in the 8 hours we’d be in the capital. There wasn’t a moment to lose, sit-down lunch was for pussies as we could walk and eat at the same time. Genius. And so we walked like no other tourists have I don’t think… fueled by our insatiable appetite for Paris in every possible manner. As for the Louvre, we also economised our visit: we’d arrive late enough that tickets would be cheaper AND we knew our 3 stops: (1) the Mona Lisa (2) the Victory of Samothrace (3) the Raft of the Medusa. They were all near each other so it was very easy to be in and out of the Louvre in approx 30 minutes.

The rest of our bus had agreed to meet up for a group dinner before heading back to Spain. But my friend and I decided not to go and do our own thing: walk to the Pont de l’Alma, where Lady Di had found her tragic end. By the time we got back to the bus, everyone felt betrayed that we’d decided to ditch dinner plans with them [And that’s why going on political organised trips is such a dumb idea]. But things got even worse during the overnight journey back home… You see, they’d all had a severe case of food poisoning from the Parisian dinner they’d had, and practically everyone ended up throwing up in brown paper bags all the way back! Everyone that is, except for my friend and I. And we probably have never felt more smug in our entire lives. MWAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAA!!

You may wonder if our little lie was uncovered… Truth is, it wasn’t. But it was painful to see the women in the trip talk about the signs they’d seen, but not be able to add 2 and 2 together. “You know, relationships are hard”, one would tell me, “but it looks like you have a lot of trust in each other”. This comment was uttered after my friend was outrageously flirting with the driver of our bus. “He’s practicing his French very well, don’t you think?” said another, when my friend (who does NOT speak a word of French) was chatting up the bellboy of our hotel in Brussels.

Bleak House

“That’s Bleak House!” [the driver] put his horses into a canter and took us forward at such a rate, uphill though it was, that the wheels sent the road drift flying about our heads like spray from a water-mill. Presently we lost the light, presently saw it, presently lost it, presently saw it, and turned into an avenue of trees and cantered up towards where it was beaming brightly. It was in a window of what seemed to be an old-fashioned house with three peaks in the roof in front and a circular sweep leading to the porch. A bell was rung as we drew up, and amidst the sound of its deep voice in the still air, and the distant barking of some dogs, and a gush of light from the opened door, and the smoking and steaming of the heated horses, and the quickened beating of our own hearts, we alighted in no inconsiderable confusion.

Again, the BBC did a fantastic job of choosing a location which perfectly represented the house in its 2005 series adaptation of Charles Dickens’ novel: Ingatestone Hall.

Ingatestone (which I cannot help but initially read “Inga’s testosterone” every time I see it…)  is a 16th c. manor house in Essex built by Sir William Petre (secretary of state to Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I) where his descendants have lived, and still live, to this day.

Thanks to the wonders of YouTube, the entire BBC series can be watched online:

NOTE: The image of Ingatestone Hall is via

Place des Vosges

Last time I was in Paris was unfortunately for a short 12 hours. Over half of which were spent in meetings. Still, between 5pm and my Eurostar back to London later in the evening, I managed to meet up with a good friend from Canada who coincidentally was in Paris for a holiday. As time was tight,  we decided we’d just go for a VERY LONG walk through the city….and ended up in the Place des Vosges!

Built in the early 17th century, la Place des Vosges is the oldest planned square in Paris. And, as you can see from my awesome sketch below, it’s gorgeous. But, in my opinion, what makes it even more special is the fact that it has had a very impressive list of residents live there, including the French writer Victor Hugo and the evil and super nasty Cardinal Richelieu from The Three Musketeers.

In what seems to be a whole series of bowls of Parisian buildings I absolutely adore, herewith my Place des Vosges bowl:

NOTE: The brilliant panoramic image of the Place des Vosges is from Wikipedia.