Rose Bay at dusk

If you follow me on Pinterest, you will have seen a flurry of activity earlier today on my “Paintings that inspire me” board. Particularly with quite a few Raoul Dufy paintings added to it. And just like that, immediately after adding the images, Pinterest worked its magic. I suddenly had an urge to paint something à la manière de Dufy, and very quickly decided on doing a view of Rose Bay at dusk. During my first two months in Sydney, I lived in Rose Bay and took the ferry to work from there. To walk to the harbour every morning and back in the evening was a true blessing. And therefore, a perfect subject matter.

Rose Bay at dusk

I used watercolour and casein on Arches 300gsm paper. But if you want to know a bit more about the process, well, have I got a treat for you! Below is a little film that documents it all. To make it I used an app called “Miniatures Pro” and set it to take one frame per second. And as for music, it’s Dustin O’Halloran’s Prelude 2. Trusty iMovie glued it all together in style. I hope you enjoy the film as much as I did painting and putting it together!

 

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Sneak peak into my upcoming sale…

So after selling my worldly possessions (or at least attempting to), I’m now completely focused on preparing for my ceramics sale. I have a glazing deadline (Tuesday 9th), which always helps in order to get things done. This also means I have  A LOT of painting to do in the meantime! Here’s a picture of my latest painted piece unglazed:

Yes, it’s the gorgeous Brideshead in the background with Sebastian and Charles driving in the middle. The porcelain is the ever-so difficult frost, but when fired a second time, will be beautifully translucent white. Here’s the sketch I did beforehand:

I now have a date and venue for the sale! And it will be on Saturday, October 13th from 2pm to 6pm at 50 Portland Street. Details on new poster will be posted soon.

Bemelmans

In an old house in Paris, that was covered with vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines… the smallest one was Madeline.

This is the opening line for all of the Madeleine books which made their author, Ludwig Bemelmans, famous. Born in 1898 in Meran (Austria-Hungary, now Merano, Italy), he lived in Germany before moving to the United States in the early 1910s. After struggling as an artist and dabbling in writing for years, it wasn’t until 1939 that the first Madeleine book was published.

In my last trip to New York, I went to Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle Hotel for drinks and phenomenal live jazz. Here I was able to admire Central Park, the mural Bemelmans painted on the walls of the Bar, his only artwork on display to the public.

It was a terrific evening, our waiter made it even more memorable:

And naturally, there had to be a wink to Madeleine:

Below is a watercolour finished by yours truly while on holiday this summer. I bought the first Madeleine book for one of my neices who is an avid reader. The book was a success as she loved me reading it to her, and I was also able to rip off be inspired by one of its illustrations.

NOTE: All photos by Araceli Robledo

Harlem & Columbia

On our last day in NY, we visited Columbia University and Harlem. I took the highest number of photographs that day, so I guess that shows quite accurately how much I loved both areas.

Columbia University campus (pictured above and below) is simply stunning. If the architecture alone weren’t enough, the notable list of its alumni is impressive enough to leave anyone bewildered. Jack Kerouac, whose On the Road I’m currently reading, is part of the list.

From there we walked to Harlem. The closer we got there, the cleaner and wider the streets and the friendlier the people. I saw many a brownstone:

But this is my favourite:

Probably because it reminds me of West Side Story and I was somehow expecting Bernardo and his gang to appear (and dance).

Naturally, as with things I really REALLY like, I had to do a watercolour of it:

NOTE: All photos by Araceli Robledo, except from the West Side Story clip, which is via On the set of New York

Patriotism

The standard dictionary definition of patriotism reads “love of one’s country.” This seems all very well when there’s one country where one is from and where one lives. But in my case things are a bit different: I was born in Spain, grew up in Australia, and then moved back to Spain, where I attended high school, university and began my career. I didn’t stop there, and moved to the UK for a few years and now I am in Canada.

All this moving around makes me feel less and less connected to my Spanish roots. But during a few weeks every year, I am the most Spanish person that ever existed. And it’s thanks to major sporting events that this transformation takes place. Right now it’s the UEFA’s Eurocup, with Spain playing the final on Sunday. If there was a graph measuring my patriotism, it would have shown that yesterday, around 4pm ET, it hit the records set by the World Cup a couple of years ago. Particularly when this was happening:

It’s difficult to explain the sheer pain of watching a game where your team is not winning but giving it all. In a way it’s horrible, but it’s also awesome. And I welcome the suffering that will be linked to Sunday’s final. In the words of the brilliant Spanish singer Manolo Escobar… Que viva España!!!

Dutch houses

Although my head is always buzzing with ideas as to what to draw next, when I actually come around to doing it, my brain melts. Unless I am very determined on a certain idea, I sometimes struggle when I’m in front of a white page or a bisqued pot. And here’s where Pinterest makes life a helluva lot easier for me. To have a “stash” of saved images to inspire me is priceless. Like this gorgeous photograph of the old quarters of the Dutch city of Groningen:

Which inspired me to do this quick watercolour:

NOTE: the photograph of Groningen was taken by Akbar Simonse.

Off to Ottawa

I’m off to Ottawa for part of the week tomorrow morning. Looking forward to the trip, albeit work-related? YES! Looking forward to getting up at 5.30am to catch the first train there? HELL NO! I should’ve been packing this afternoon and getting everything ready. But I didn’t. Procrastination took the better part of me again, and I decided to do a very pretty watercolour

of this building in Ottawa, which is around the corner from my office, instead.