Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ay Macarena!

Last church--I promise!  Bob and I have been lucky to be in Catholic countries (See Holy Week in Costa Rica) during times of religious celebration.  We just happened to be in Seville during the Festival of the Macarena--yes the city and the celebration honoring (and inspiring the song!) the Virgin of Hope of Macarena, a wooden image of the Virgin Mary, depicting her grief and piety during holy week.  Of course...from what I gather there seems to always be a festival in her honor.


The feast of the image is celebrated in December of each year.  It seems that, in Spain, religious images are repeatedly venerated, this one on Dec. 20 in 1962, February, 1963 and again in May of 1964--when the image was moved to the Cathedral of Seville--which is what I assume they were celebrating when we were there.

She is known as the patroness of bullfighters, is always depicted with a tear dripping from her eye.  Images of Our Lady of Sorrows are often depicted in dark blue or black.  This one has never been depicted this way, except for during the funeral of the Matador El Gallo.

Thanks to Wikipedia for this information.

The town is also draped in beautiful shawls in her honor:



Saturday, July 12, 2014

It's My Blog...and I'll Post What I Want to...

Not yet leaving Spain...just taking a small detour to...Pittsburgh? Another class at the Pittsburgh Glass Center with the amazing Robert Mickelsen
and his assistant, the equally talented Lisa Demagall

I am thinking and working larger this time.  Thinking a hanging sculpture, app. 30 inches wide, 7 feet tall and 12-15 inches deep.  Multiple pieces.  Of course, I only got part of the first piece finished, and as it is taking a detour through New York and Pennsylvania before returning to me, I will probably start additional pieces before finishing the first one. And you all know how that goes for me...

My inspiration for the technique that I am using is a sculpture that I went to see in Grand Rapids last December...or was it a year ago last?

Anyway...the artist is the very talented Anna Skibska

Today I'm posting progressive views of my starting point for my sculpture.  It will grow from both top and bottom before it is finished.  I will make additional pieces and hang them (probably over the next several years!) and post pictures as they become available.

And mine...

First the basic framework and a bit of texture.

Next comes just a bit of color:

Then another layer and a bit of texture.  Now it's about three layers deep, but that could still change, too!


And, far as I got:


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Jewish Guilt


The Valley of the Fallen is a memorial to those killed during the Spanish Civil War.  Many find it to be eerie and distressing, as some feel that it is Franco's shrine of victory, as opposed to a memorial to those lost on both sides of the conflict, in fact more than 11,000 are buried on its grounds.  Franco is also entombed within the basilica...which is a sore spot for many.  It is an architectural feat as well, as it is carved into the rock at the base of the mountain.  Walking in you are flanked by giant angels on both sides, which I found to be artistically spectacular.  As photos are not allowed inside, I am referring you to photos from the web.  Unfortunately there are not many interior shots there, either.;_ylt=A0LEV1F.E6NTJRwALNFXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTB0MWoxNW52BHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2JmMQR2dGlkA1NNRTM5OV8x?_adv_prop=image&fr=mcsaoffblock&va=valley+of+the+fallen+spain+madrid

For a more in depth discussion, please visit:

We then visited St. Thomas Church in Toledo, where, remarkably, the only part of the church that we visited was the corridor which housed one of El Greco's masterpieces, "The Burial of the Count of Orgaz", which was breathtaking in its richness and almost sparkling depth of color.

photo courtesy of Wikipedia:

The next day took us to the Great Mosque/Cathedral of Cordoba, which was a surreal hybrid of a mosque/church.


The mosque was built during the tenth century, when Cordoba was in its glory as the capital of the Moorish kingdom of El-Andalus, one of the wealthiest and most powerful cities in Europe.  In AD 1236 the city was conquered by King Ferdinand, who had the mosque consecrated and constructed a cathedral in the middle of it. 

While the Moors partook of cleanliness and brought running water and soap to Spain, the Spaniards were still dumping chamber pots out of the windows.  They believed that filth kept the evil spirits they rarely bathed.  You would think they'd be kissing the the Moors' sweet-smelling feet...but, no.

We visited Jewish ghettos in practically every city that we visited in both Spain and Portugal,
a bit of an odd feeling as they drove the Jews out in the 15th century.

We also visited an old Jewish Synagogue, now a national monument, but at one time served as (what else!)...a Catholic Church.




In Portugal, we visited, perhaps the most interesting church of all.  As Portugal is a relatively poor country, the church was (refreshingly!) in a sad state of disrepair.


Books of interest:  The Last Jew by Noah Gordon