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Spain - surprises through artMonday, April 28, 2008 by Steve Hill
Filed under: Travel
Wednesday April 16 2008

After driving through “virtual eye candy” for one whole day without actually stopping to paint, (from Porto, Portugal to Gijon, Spain on the north coast), I finally settled on a spot overloking a tidal area just 25km east of Gijon. Off road for a few km, we tried for parking at a spot where the hillside overlooked sea and the light was glowing, even at mid-day! The parking problem is perpetual over here, even in small rural areas - after three passes back and forth over a narrow roadway, we nearly gave-up. However, a house just uphill, with a small driveway access (and under remodel construction - probably about 300 years old) had a few people on-site, so we stopped to see about permission to paint near there,

This is what always delights me about the common dialogue of art - it transcends language barriers and makes instant communication possible. The woman who came to meet us at the bottom of her driveway, was at first, very cautious about any conversation (she spoke no English, likewise us in Spanish), until I showed her a few samples of my artwork (business card images) and pantomimed setting-up to paint.

Her husband and several stone masons, arms folded on chests, were also very askance about a stranger in their midst, especially when they were busy with a huge project.

I don't want to go off about this, but it is the essence of my travels and to do art wherever I go. Before I knew it, and once the language barrier was partly resolved, I was being ushered to a prime painting spot on their roof, with a 360 view and enthusiastic gestures about which way to paint, from everyone! This, my friend, is what it means for me to be at home in a strange land!

I finished the painting 2 hours later - it's ALWAYS scarey to show your work to a new crowd - and was met with great reviews plus an invitation indoors for coffee (which got spiked with something really good by Justino) and a “conversation” in Spanish, Italian and English for nearly an hour . . . all with arms waving wildly and gestures that were made with great passion.

We made life-long frinds with the Guitterexz family – they are Basque, (like so many of my old friends in Boise, Idaho, especially my brother-in-law, Carlos Mendiola) and even knew much about HIS heritage over here, telling us of his name-sake!! We have exchanged invitaions to meet again as guests of one another in either country and I sincerely hope that happens!

Tidal flats, Gijon, Spain
Tidal flats, Gijon, Spain
What a place and I hope my painting here gives you a small visual idea of this countryside, filled with beautiful people, and with a history beyond description.

O.K, after this, no more epic opus from ol' Steve, just the straight stuff from the easel. What a trip this has been and we're barely started!

Reader Comments



1. Friday, May 02, 2008 @ 1:32:46 AM by Kevin
Dad, You have some amazing pieces here! I can wait to see the originals when we get out to Italy to meet up with you! As always you have wonderful descriptions and even better works of art! Son #2
2. Friday, May 02, 2008 @ 11:38:15 AM by sue
Beautiful work! And I am enjoying following along on your wonderful trip!
3. Friday, May 02, 2008 @ 1:41:03 PM by Aurore
What a delight to read your notes and see the results of your lovely painting in the Gijon........I can almost feel the warmth of the wordless conversations and the timeless laughter and recognitions of common heritages! Here I have just planted 22 trees....apples and pears are just beginning to bloom and plums and quince are in high blossom attracting a lone honey bee and many flashing hummingbirds..... Viva con gioia!
4. Friday, May 02, 2008 @ 8:30:14 PM by kathy lea
Thanks Steve, What a treat to hear of your adventures and see your delightful painting. Carry on, K. Lea
5. Saturday, May 03, 2008 @ 2:34:15 AM by Borah Chick
Maybe you should become a travel writer for your next career! Loved your story of making friends with the 'locals' and the resulting painting is awesome.
6. Saturday, May 03, 2008 @ 12:44:58 PM by Trish
Greetings from a soggy gray Northwest Day! Sounds like you are really finding your muse "on the Continent". I so look forward to reading about your travels and seeing your work. What a digital world we live in. Hi to Judy, safe travels. Peace Trish
7. Sunday, May 04, 2008 @ 2:52:50 PM by Clark Elster
Hi Steve and Judy! Sounds and looks like you are enjoying your trip. Great plien air paintings? Clark


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