Still Life

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Toledo

...look who´s back....!
I really wish I could update this blog more often, it is  kind of neglected...so, here we go...

I´ve been asked to paint a view of the city of Toledo, adopted city of Domenicos Theotokopolus, "El Greco" for those who know him by that name, "Dom" for those of us who knew him. This was an unexpected commission and a more than welcome one, I mean, what painter worth his lead white wouldn´t jump at the opportunity to paint a view of this historical city where the 3 main Faiths of the world have lived harmoniously together for centuries?
So, off I went and got cracking, albeit intermittently due to other obligations, and did some prelim sketches of the place. The gentleman who has commissioned the painting had a specific view in mind: looking towards the city from the other side of the river Tajo along a highway leading to the Ermita de la Virgen del Valle (for those of you reading that know the area), which is  an elevated vantage point that allows for a fantastic view of the whole town.

I had never been on that spot on that highway and it is truly  a magnificent spot to park your vehicle and just behold the whole city in front of you with the Tajo winding around it like a belt of some sort, fastening it jealously to the flat, Castilian landscape which surrounds it.


...so I did some initial thumbnails, here are a couple...



...then, I proceeded to do a quick watercolour in situ, just to get a feel of the whole thing, something like rehearsing some lines before an interview....


It was great being able to do that on site after such a long period of deprivation. Apparently. the area where I was is a usual spot for tourist buses to stop and let their fare out to stretch their legs and take pictures of the city. Can´t blame them, actually...
This last watercolour proved too panoramic and horizontal for my client who wanted a bit more verticality to the format and more sky, so I made another sketch and came up with this...


...which he liked and was happy with, but which I think needs further adjustments in the final painting. In this watercolour, the horizon is smack dab in the middle of the painting, something which   has always bothered me since it divides the whole thing into two equal parts instead of the one part playing harmoniously with the other part. So, I´ll most likely adjust that. I am hoping to start the painting soon, on site, at least to get the initial stages going and later continuing from the studio from reference photos. 
...More to come, I hope...

...As a post script...
All fired up by this new project, I made this watercolor of another small little town in the northern Castilian area this time. A little village called Ayllón, in the province of Segovia., where some dear friends live. This little street corner endeared itself to me...