I will sprinkle Sorolla paintings through out the blog because Spain and Sorolla are synonymous for me.
We arrived in Madrid early on Oct 10th and got a taxi to to where we thought the apartment was( the company gave us the wrong address and the person with the key wasn't supposed to arrive until 10 am ). The street tres peces is only two blocks long, just west of the Anton Martin metro station. It's an artsy neighborhood in transition, in walking distance of any place you'd want to go. When we arrived the street looked so desserted, the city doesn't wake up until after 10 am here, so we walked with our luggage up the street and sat in a tiny narrow restaurant bar on the corner for an hour and thirty minutes, our luggage took up half of the seating area. At 10 we went back down to where we thought it was and waited for the rental guy to show up, he took us to 7 tres peces not 13 like what was written on our contract. We were curious because we couldn't find a 13 anywhere. Then up 3 long flights of old worn stairs into a cute bohemiean apartment. We were exhausted from the flight so we waited for Michelle to arrive, our phones didn't work and we couldn't contact her to let her know that it was 7 and not 13 so we each took turns sitting down by the door. After a couple of hours Scott came up and we were resting for a few minutes until I went back down, and there she was with all her stuff talking to a local guy, what a relief !!! She had been walking around for an hour, I felt so bad. We were just one door away from where she looked. We all rested that afternoon until the evening when we went out for a walk. The first couple of days was like walking through a fog and I took sleeping pills to try to get on the local time.
We first went to the school and museum of Bellas Artes- We were let down because the big sorolla painting ( the one with the men on a boat with a huge sail casting a shadow over them) was on loan. We walked around saw the Parque Del Retiro then Scott went off by himself while Michelle and I saw a fancy food market at the Plaza San Miguel and the Cathedral de la Almundena near the palace.
Cathedral de la Almundena
Oct 12th -national holiday today museums are free, very crowed!!! Michelle and I walked around while Scott painted.
Super warm, I don't think they have air conditioning for those museums. I was very sad that they didn't have all the paintings that I had remembered from our last trip, I especially remember some Pradilla's that weren't up at the Prado. We also went to the Thyssen across the street, we spent most of our time looking at Sargent's onion sellers. When we were leaving I think there must have been more than a thousand people standing in line to get in, amazing, just goes to show you that people want to have art in their life.
We met Amaya Gurpide that night, she took us around the little streets near the plaza del sol. Had a late dinner and when we left around midnight the streets were packed. I don't think they sleep here.
Oct 13th - Went to the Sorolla house, they change up the paintings so there were different ones up now. It was so nice to be able to video and take photos, we did little paintings in the afternoon.
This is a tile in the patio of Sorolla's garden, there were many beautiful designs
Scott painting in the garden
Michelle and Scott painting
Oct 14th - Toledo today, got off to a late start still having a hard time waking up. Michelle and I brought our painting backpacks, shouldn't have, so much walking up and down, got very tired. Scott was a good boy and painted. Michelle and I went around looking at swords and eating deserts.
Oct 15th - Michelle and I went to an antique area in Madrid called El Rastro for her to see some amor, unfortunately it was closed, we walked around some more then went and saw Scott paint right in front of the entrance to the Prado, I thought he was pretty brave to stand right in front of the entrance.
Not used to all the closing and opening times of shops and museums, we seem to get to places right when they close. We wanted to walk to a new area to have dinner, on the way got caught up in the big demonstration at night, finally found our way to the trendy gay area, many weird shops not too many restaurants that looked inviting so we got something from a take out place on the way back to our hotel.
People came in from all over, the crowds got a little suffocating, we had to walk way out of our way to get back home.
demonstrating against the banks and government, most of downtown Madrid was closed for the crowds
finished "My Antonia" by Willa Cather tonight, did not disappoint. What a pleasure
Oct 16th - The three of us went to the El Rastro street market, huge- it's supposed to be the biggest- too many people. Went home after we found out that the amor place was closed again. Didn't feel well aound all these people, I started to feel dizzy.
We saw this poster of Elvgrens ( a famous illustrator that was a student at the school Scott and I attended The American Academy of Art in Chicago) I loved it because Michelle and I both thought it depicted truthfully how women artists look, that is how we paint in our studios
An interesting door on the way home after the Rastro Market. I was wearing my bag in front because there were so many people, and that market was known for pickpockets.
Scott painted the church next to the Prado in the afternoon,
that is me standing on the stairs
Michelle and I walked around, had a lesuirely lunch at the cafe next to the Prado. After Scott finished we walked through the Real Jardin Botanico south of Prado.
A sculpture in the Real Jardin Botanico
Oct 17th - Scott and I went to do a quick painting, I did a very sketchy little 6 by 8, it was over cast and I didn't really know what I was doing. It was fun, felt like a child playing. Scott did a painting of me, he said I was moving a lot, which made it hard.
Michelle stayed at the apartment to get organized for her trip to Venice. Sarah kinder showed up around lunch time, she found the place with no problems, she was tired but up for anything. We went to lunch found an Italian place, everyone loved it. Went back got ready and took off for Amaya's. Took the subway for the first time and again Michelle and I shouldn't have taken our painting backpacks. Amaya teaches life drawing to 4 students a couple of times a week in her studio. Scott was good and did a drawing, Sarah, Michelle and I were slap happy and lazy.
When we first got to Amaya's studio I was really slap happy from so much sugar and being exhausted, we got up on her model stage and started to act like we were acting out mellow dramatic scenes. Amaya looked at us like we were crazy.
Two of Amaya's drawings
Oct 18th - Sarah Watts came in the morning, we went back to the Sorolla house because Michelle really wanted to see it before she left. Spent the day in the garden and strolling through the house. It was fun to see which paintings each of us liked the most. I would ask them which one they would take home if they could in each room and most often we would choose different ones. I find that fascinating. Plus, it was also interesting that even though we had spent so much time looking at all the paintings before, we would see new ones this time. Went to a good Pakistani restaurant near our apartment.
Michelle, Me, Scott, Sarah Kidner, Sarah Watts
Oct 19th - Slept a little late, Michelle was off really early didn't get to say good bye. Went off to paint the fountain on the Paseo de prado. Sarah kinder walked around and took photos, she met up with us as we were finishing. I just did a little sketch of the women in the fountain. I listen to a podcast while I paint, it helps to listen to my iPod while painting out doors. I don't have the patience to stay in one place for a long time. After seeing the Sorolla sketches I feel like he has given me permission to just do color studies, impressions. Not to worry about out come, enjoy the experience.
Scott's sketch of the fountain
After lunch came back to the apartment, was overly tired, took a nap then went walking around with the Sarah's ( I will refer to both the Sarah's as the Sarah's -makes it easier for me) to the glass building that housed the food Market de San Miguel. Saw some streets with incredibly beautiful and quaint restaurants. The market was fun, full of people, especially tourist like us, we tried a bunch of stuff and of course I had to taste more deserts. Wow, those things are sweet.
me and the sarah's in our apartment
Oct 20th- Everyday seems to be a late start, I guess we've turned in to Spaniards already. The Sarahs painted a great street scene a few blocks away, I walked around, took photos and looked for flamenco dresses, it seems as though dancers must get them all custom made, the ones I saw were just practice things. The weather has been beautiful.
Oct 21st - Toledo again how fun, I am reading "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho in the grand cathedral and watching all of our backpacks while Scott and the Sarahs walk around. Michelle gave the book to me as a gift, it is one of her favorite books. I am trying to imagine all that has come before, all the history, who sat on these benches hundreds of years ago. We got the audio headset to walk around with, hearing the music and listening to the history was fascinating.
At our fancy lunch place they were playing beautiful music by the portugese group Madredeus. I checked them out on the web and there are some YouTube videos showing Teresa the singer in the group, she 's really beautiful and I would love to paint her. We painted in the cloisters of the church San Reyes in the afternoon.
After that we walked around a little.
It was a Friday night and it seemed that most shops were closing up, maybe most people are daytrippers and not much goes on at night. We sat and had tea in the main square were the local children play with jump ropes and all the older couples sit around the edges and watch. I noticed a miniature train that drove around and showed the city, we had some time before our train back to Madrid so Sarah K, Scott and me got on board. How funny, the streets were so bumpy and the stories of the town were so dramatic and tragic, that made it throughly enjoyable, although a little chilly. Seeing the city from a far and with all the night lights on was magical.
22nd. Scott is feeling like he has a little cold so he's going to stay home. The Sarahs went off to paint. I walked over to the big book store Amaya told us about, bought a big book on Fortuny and two on the landscape painter Joaquin Mir, luckily they are going ship them to us. The weather is cool and crystal clear. Amaya came over and we all sat around and talked for a while, then we walked down to the Pakistani restaurant. Amaya told us about a beautiful seaside town of Sitges just south of Barcelona. I checked it out and it's a nice possibility for next year.
23rd. I went and did a little painting at the same spot that the Sarahs painted. It's a few blocks away, a street scene looking down at a pink church.
I was listening to a interview from the program tapestries, CBC radio with an ex nun who worked with mother Teresa for 20 years and why she gave it up ( I love the CBC- their podcasts are the best). Then Scott and I tried to see the Casa de America one more time, no luck again, 1 pm tour was sold out!!! We saw Sarah K painting at the fountain, then walked into the Thyssen for a short visit. Scott wanted to see the Sargent onion sellers. I saw a Van Dyke that I hadn't seen the last time, pretty amazing, I wish there was a good book on him, with close ups. His paintings are incredible.
more Sorolla paintings from his Museum
Me and Michelle eating in the garden
24th, travel day, got up did final packing and straightened up the apartment. Miguel ( the guy who was going to pick up the key) called and said he was going to be late, that gave us some stress because we had an AVE train to catch. Scott told him to meet us at atocha station, he didn 't want too but we insisted. Some how we got all our bags in the taxi and got to the station, Miguel met us there and gave us back our deposit. Sarah Watt's train was a few hours later so she went off to paint in the station. The ride was nice, it was rainny and moody leaving Madrid, a good day to go. We could see far off castles on hill tops from the train.
view from the tower of the Cathedral
Seville. Was sunny and perfect weather. Finding a taxi that wanted to take 3 people with all off our bags was interesting, there was lots of talking at us and about us, but one finally agreed to take us and off we went. We went out to a nice dinner and things were looking up. Our first adventure was to get lost twice, first trying to find the grocery store then the second trying to find our way to the hotel, I wouldn't have minded but I bought a lot of food and the bags were killing my hands, my arms and fingers are still tired from last night. The sun doesn't come up until 9 here, so we will eat breakfast and hit the town running this morning and go and paint. Every where you look I can find something. I love seeing all the posts Michelle is putting up from Italy, wishing she would put more.
view from the roof of our building
a beautiful building in the Parque de Maria Luisa
25th. Got up and went out to paint, Scott and I went out first, we found places around the plaza del triunfo.
The weather was nice and we had fun, but lots of tour groups in the late morning when the cathedral opened up. We had a nice lunch at the Bar de Teresa.
I rested a little then did a tiny roof top scene from the top of our building.
my little sketch
Later that day- The sky was dramatic and changed quickly, my painting makes the church seem very omminice.
Walked to the bull ring and river to see the sunset with Scott. Found Sarah K on the street on the way back, just ran into her on the street. Scott and Sarah went crazy taking photos of the streets and pubs with all there lights on after dark.
26th. The weather channel said it was going to be clear and warm today, stayed overcast all day. Tried a painting of the church from a different side, started some horses but they were moved, sad start of the day. A donation to the bad painting gods. Went off to the park to paint the Becquer monument, it's funny that I remembered it bigger, it is larger than life size, but I built it up in my mind to be huge.
Scott and I painted there. The light was nice and the weather good, but I definitely have a hard time with those subtle colors. I plan on painting this thing until I get it. Patience!!!!!! Had lunch with the Sarahs at the fancy restaurant at the edge of the park, had fun laughing. A little expensive, but a nice place to rest up for the next try. Sarah K and I walked around and saw some beautiful buildings and ponds, wanted some sun though, will go back in a few days.
we did try a little gazebo, all the values were so close, I have such a hard time, I need to study someone that does a lot of overcast paintings.
Started to walk back and got drizzled on. The sarahs changed rooms and got one with a great view of the city. Will check out their view from roof terrace tomorrow. They are off to eat now, it's late and I want to rest, still full from the paella I had for lunch.
27th. Today was for sightseeing, first we saw the hospital museum around the corner, it had two nice Valezques and a beautiful church attached to the side of it, then we went to the alcazar, strolled around found a place I wanted to paint in the gardens, lunch then off to the cathedral, it drizzled on and off today, the sun would come out but then some puffy clouds.
pond in the gardens of the Alcazar
The cathedral did me in, my legs were shot. Went back to rest before the flamenco show. The guitarist was amazing and the young woman was great. Scott asked her to pose for us, she is off to Poland in a few days, but could come on Monday. Wow, I was anxious and nervous to paint her, she doesn't speak any english, so this should be interest. Scott has a lot of guts.
Marina and her partner at La Casa de la Memoria
Scott's fast horse painting
28th, I painted the statue to the virgen, started off too fast becuase I thought the horse and buggy guys would park in front of me any minute, so I didn't think it through, cut the statue off and so I didn't get the top part. Very stupid. Tried another one in a quiet side street. A busy scene with a lot to put in, I got inpatient towards the end, rushed a little and ran out of paper towels.
Had lunch with the Sarahs while Scott took his time with his tunnel scene.
The Sarahs changed hotels again, so we walked over to it, it's in a trendy neighborhood close to the ancient wall. Walked around a little, got tired and too hungary, couldn't find a place to serve food before 8:15 had to walk back towards the center of town, found a little Indian place. Afterwards Scott and I saw the whole city out walking, people everywhere, a live band in a square, lights, guitar players, lovers making out every 10ft. Tired of walking, worn out, hope to have energy to paint tomorrow morning.
29th. Rested a little in the morning, there aren't a lot of places to do early morning paintings, we have to wait for the light to hit the buildings. I walked over the old Cadiz train station where they have a fresh meat, fish and cheese market. I bought some chiorzo, milk,eggs and fruit. We still had to get paper towels so then we started to walk to the main grocery store called Mas, it is a couple of streets away we ran into Sarah K. How strange that this has happen twice now. Got our stuff then went over to the park, being saturday and a holiday weekend, everyone was out. We all painted The monument at Spain Square, Sarah and I did the turrets and Scott did a huge scene of trees and sun dapples with the pink building in the background.
my tower painting
Sarah and I had lunch outside at the corner restuarant in the park while Scott finished up his painting. Took our stuff back to the apartment, dropped off the packs and went to the Casa de La Pilatos, Scott stayed to work on editing a film project he's working on. The Casa was very nice, we got the last light of the day, the gardens had so many nice places to paint.
Sarah Kidner walking along the courtyard
We all came back the next morning to paint the front of the Casa de Pilatos building
We got a tour of the up stairs with all the furniture then went back to the apartment, Sarah W was there. We went out to eat near by.
30th. Daylight saving time changed today, a longer rest this morning, everything is quiet outside. This trip has been so nice, I'm getting more used to painting on the street, I'm definitely not as nervous as I've been in the past. Having the iPod helps a lot, plus I don't have that anxiety about what people think any more. We have been in painting mode since we got to Seville, I still hope to see more sights, but it's been so nice to do these sketches. I hope I actually learn something from them, I need patience, I look at Sorollas studies and they are just impressions, not finished miniatures, so I need to study the light and see the temperatures, not just try to put paint on every inch of the board. We met the Sarahs at the entrance to the Casa de Pilatos to paint the arched door in front. I sat in the shade but the 3 of them stood by the street.
Since it was a holiday weekend and Sunday there were lots of tourists, plus a lot of cars going by on the tiny street. They got very hot and were exhausted by the noise and sun. I was hot in the shade. After we walked a few blocks away and had a wonderful lunch.
We all went back to our place to rest for a bit. Sarah W went back to their place to pack while the three of us waited to go to another flamenco performance. Wow, it was so different from the night before, we really loved it. Finished the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. So fun to read in Spain, where it was set.
31st I went to the park and painted another turret at the South tower building. I walked through the park, it looked so nice, they really are taking care of the gardens, what a beautiful place for the residents to spend time in. I walked trought the cultural arts museum and saw a fascinating photography exhibit on Morocco from the turn of the 1900's had lunch at the corner restaurant in the park then went back to the room. We started to get ready for our flamenco model, went down to the courtyard to set up for painting. She came right on time and got dressed in the most dramatic black dress. I was nervous when Scott first asked her, silly of me, you have to get over stuff like that if you want to live an interesting life. I am happy to have Scott for just those reasons. We started painting in the courtyard and unfortunately it started to cloud over fast. She was a great model and held still like a statue.
we filmed Scott's painting
my tiny little dancer
We wanted to take photos so we only painted for 2 hours because it was getting dark early. We took her up to the roof and she turned on, it's great to work with someone that does this for a living. Performers love to be in front of the camera and we got some amazing shots. It was dark and Scott had to underexposed them, but once they are worked on they come out great. We made a disc for her and she showed us her blogspot. Marinavaliente.blogspot.com. Her parents were dancers also, must be an interesting family. We told her we'd love to hire her again when we come back, next year maybe war could have a guitar player and singer fo make a nice scene. We were so pumped after. Didn't want to have dinner out so we went grocery shopping.
Nov 1 The city seemed so quiet in the morning, maybe because of the holiday all saints day, it was so nice to walk around and mostly see residents. We walked over to the museo of fine art. What a nice surprise, there was a lot of religious art, some really nice, but there was also some nice pieces from the turn of the 1900s. They did have one Sorolla, it wasn't lit well, but they did have some other pieces we hadn't seen before. Very inspiring.
Jose Rodriguez Acosta - there wasn't good lighting
close up of a Sorolla
Rafael Martinez Diaz
Jose Villegas Cordero
Antonio Ortiz Echague
Had lunch then went back for a nap. I went out to do a painting in the late afternoon, it had been sunny but the sun didn't want to stay out for me. I did a little study of a walkway coming towards me.
Had a conversation with a well dress drunk. He was very interested in my painting and seemed to have a great 2 way conversation with himself about it.
Worked on some of the photos of Marina in photoshop then read more of my Tina fey's autobiography.
Nov 2 It's overcast today, we tried walking to the monastery across the river, but got side tracked a little, the walk got a little long. We gave up and started back, walked back to town and had a nice lunch, I went to the museo of flamenco,www.flamencomuseum.com/ it was really nice, they had lots of videos of famous dancers and moving montages of the history of the dance.
They also had paintings and drawings from artists depicting the dancers, I especially liked this guy who did some quick sketches. They also showed various paintings from the last 120 years from artists like Sargent and Sorolla, there were some modern artists that were really good but they didn't give their names. A big part of the photographs and posters on the walls were of the famous dancers Antonio Hades and his partner Cristina Hoyos ( she started the museum). I was in awe of them 25 years ago when I first saw the movie they did about Carmen. It rained for a while, cleared everyone off the streets. When we walked over to the museo it was dark wet and empty, I felt like we were back a hundred years ago, especially since my cute linen paints were touching the ground and soaking up all the puddles. The stage was about 30 inches off the floor and the chairs were right up to it. The dancers were warmed up from the first performance and sweat was flying. They allowed photographs which surprised us and the lighting was good. Scott got some great ones, we are going again tonight so we can sit a little to the side and farther back so. Can stand and not have such an extreme up angle. It poured during the performance and gave it an interesting effect. met a nice german couple during lunch, they were on a tour and would only be in Seville for that afternoon, what a sad way to see new places.
Scott is painting the horse
Nov3 Still raining when we woke up, hopefully it will calm down. It did stop and became a beautiful day. We went to the park and painted in side the north tower, Scott did the stairwell and I did the upstairs view looking down through a doorway onto the water. It was kinda a challenge for me because the water would change with the sun, but it was still a good exercise, the light stayed good for Scott, since he was painting the indirect light hitting the interior. The guards really got a kick out of watching us.
I stood looking through the archway to paint the sketch below
we filmed Scott's painting
The town seems more quiet and empty, November is a good time to come back next time. Arrived very early to the museo flamenco, but people were already there, the female dancer named Luna was very pretty and I loved that she wore white, it really looked dramatic under the lights. The male dancer Sergio Gonzolez was the best guy we've seen so far. It is amazing how tall they look up on stage, but when you see them after they are shorter than me. He had so much power up there and really was impressive. Scott got some great photos from the side view. The evening was beautiful as we walked back to our apartment. This theater is so tucked into a tiny street and we always take a different way because there are so many turns it's hard to remember.
Nov 4 Raining this morning, not in any rush to do anything so we will rest for a while. The clouds were very dramatic today, we walked over to the mushroom ( Everyone called it that because from far away it looked like a mushroom coming out of the ground - I think they must have concerts there) just missed some puffy clouds but got some good shots looking over the city.
Scott liked the funky elevator at the ruins
Kinda a weird thing they built. Under ground is the preserved remains of some roman ruins, it was really cool to see the beautiful mosaics they had on most of the floors. Unfortunately we didn't get the full story of the buildings because it was all in Spanish. Went to see flamenco again, the girl Zara was incredible, she was the first real athletic dancer type and the singer was very emotional. Got amazing photos and will give a disc today. Afterward the night was warm and quiet, I feel like this is the real Seville, walking through the small alley streets near the alcazar around 9pm was so magical, totally different with no signs of life. Our apartment is just a couple of streets away from the alcazar gardens.
Nov 5 Beautiful today, bright, clear and around 70 degrees. Getting ready to paint in the alcazar gardens. One of my best days here, used the pass to paint in the gardens( thanks to Sarah kinder, it was her pass that she got) got to play with a kitten and did a painting of the gate entrance, the smell of honeysuckle behind me was enchating, had lunch in the Cafe then did another painting looking through an archway.
I probably shouldn't put my paintings next to Sorolla's
The sun was warming up my back and it was a perfect place to be. So glad I got to paint where Sorolla did before we left. Went for a walk, found art supplies in a department store, good timing one canvas left. Flamenco again tonight they had the a great team for Saturday night. The guy was awesome !!!! Dani torres. Worth it just for him. Great face . Someone showed me a cd from the Spanish Guitarist that was playing , they had been playing the best music before the performances, I've been mesmerized by it, so glad I could get it, it's been haunting me. Miguel Perez ( some of the songs are on his cd Con-Trastes) Looking forward to tomorrow
Nov. 6 Absolutely gorgeous day, getting a little drained from living out of a strange place, but so happy to have this last day to paint. We went to the park, it was filled with a basketball tournament and a fun mini car show. So we went the far end of the park and painted the arts building.
Had lunch at the laraza cafe then Scott went back and I walked around. I went to the Tower that over looked the river and took more photos of the bull ring. The last night for flamenco, met the director and he was very interested in us sending him images of the work we do from the photos. They have a permanent collection of dance paintings. He also mentioned that when we come back we could hire and paint the dancers there, he would give us space to do that, super cool. Can't wait to meet all the dancers and do sketches of them.
Next year they are having an exhibition with artists who will do paintings of dancers in September we hope to submit something.
Nov7 Off to Madrid, on the train day. Dreaming as I watch the beautiful landscape go by. Saw "Water for elephants" on the train. Walked to our hotel a couple of blocks away. Had lunch at this little thai place on Paseo de Prado, really good and the least exspensive place on this trip, frustrated that we didn't know of this place before. Walked through the maze part of the Bien Retiro Park, hadn't see that section before. It was so magical, it almost hurt I wanted to capture it somehow. We didn't bring bring our cameras, I tried to memorize the feeling of being there, being overcast all the colors looked vibrant just like the Emerald City from Oz, perfect temperature, everything was brilliant. We walked to the pond and around the Alfonso monument.
kittens that live on the monument
Had tea at start bucks then went back. Watched masterpiece theater on my iPad and ate burger king. I am so conditioned to photograph everything, today was a lesson in enjoying the moment, the photos would have never captured what I felt about this amazing day in the park.
Nov 8 I felt horrible in the morning, left over from the day before from not eating right, I hadn't been good about getting enough protein and my body rebelled, I can't stay healthy if all I eat are sugar and carbs, being hypoglycemic is serious and if I don't eat right I feel down and sometimes I have residuals for a couple of days, today I am exhausted, I got out of bed for breakfast then went straight back to bed, got up for lunch then started to feel a tiny bit better, we decided to walk to the park and find a quiet spot to do our filming of the painting set ups. The day was beautiful warm, sun dappled and had the smell of leafs. We took photos and enjoyed the little excersice, that was enough for me, the month was starting to take it's toll, not that I wasn't happy to be here, but it's hard to not have a routine and the right kind of food you want to eat when you want to eat it. If we had a big apartment and a good place to paint there that would be good. Going out and being a tourist everyday is not what you want to do everyday. We ate burger king again,(probably not a good idea) watched comedy central and went to bed early.
Nov9 Got to the airport fast but unfortunately the Madrid airport isn't the best organized, we got there over 2:30 hours early and we just made it to the gate on time. They need to hire more staff to get the lines moving. So far the flight has been good, I watched "The Help", a show from Showtime and Harry potter. Getting to the airplane was the problem, the flight is easy. The trip has been amazing, I have wanted to visit Spain again since 1997, it has always been my dream spot, it didn't disappoint, having my painting buddies along for part of it was such a treat. Meeting Amaya, hiring Marina in Seville, meeting the director of the museum and having a connection there were all so great. The weather was really nice and I think I am totally over my shyness about painting on the street. Spain has changed a little since 1997, a lot more tourists, but it still has the charm I remembered, the food was more expensive then before, we spent more on food then anything else, plus the fact the the exchange rate was bad for us, I just had to not think about it. I think we did some nice sketches, will do some bigger paintings from the studies and the photos. My stomach acted up one day, not too bad especially since I could't eat my diet of no gluten and dairy like I do at home and only a slight sore throat in Madrid. If I get home with out a horrible cold this will be the most healthy and easy going trip I have ever had. Already looking forward to coming back next year.