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!

 

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.

Plaza Mayor de Madrid

When I finished my BA, I moved to Madrid. It had it all for me: an elegant international city whilst still being very Spanish. I thought I’d live there forever… little did I know that less than two years later I’d be moving to London. To live there forever… and, well, I am in Canada, living in Toronto and about to move to yet another city.

But I digress… Madrid was SO MUCH FUN. Particularly the first year, where I wasn’t senior enough at my company to worry about work after hours. Where if I arrived home before 7am after a night of partying, I thought the night had been a waste of time. Where it was incredibly easy to make friends. Where my beautiful sister Reyes lives and whom I met up with regularly. She basically fed me via tupperwares full of love and food throughout my second year in Madrid, when I was busy doing my MA and broke because I had to pay for it. There were very few things I could actually afford, BUT I could still treat myself to a “bocadillo de calamares” from time to time. Above is a watercolour of the Plaza Mayor de Madrid, where the best “bocadillo” can be found. Mmmmmm I would certainly kill for one of these right now.

NOTE: The photo above was taken from here.

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.

Gazpacho

It doesn’t matter that I’m a 31 year old woman, that I’m super independent or that I keep on moving further and further away from my family every couple of years: each time I get sick, I miss my mother and wish she’d be fussing around me! I’m currently stuck at home sick feeling sorry for myself and would KILL for a bowl of my mother’s gazpacho. Not even kidding!