Tuesday, 21 November 2017

A luxurious interlude.

Look at this...

https://www.myrenova.com/news/26/the-sexiest-wc-on-earth-lisbon

€1 a go. Lisbon is crazy. I tried it after reluctantly paying, but felt very thankful afterwards. Not sure why we all expect our waste to be dealt with for free in towns and cities. Couldn't quite bring myself to soil the pretty coloured bog roll - I stuck with conventional white.

Don't knock it until you've tried it!


Wednesday, 15 November 2017

In to the fold...

Project Nazare is almost ready to go.

For the first time in many, many years, I am going to have something more, or less like a non-nomadic life. That is the plan. To become a part of a community in a small Atlantic fishing village is going to take a fair bit of adjusting, and skill learning - another new language to try and get my head around. Only took me 10 years to learn Spanish. This is quite a big change, and a challenge I am taking on. Nothing totally new to me (other than the language), but it has been a very long time. I am ready!

Fortunately, I have already met many like minded people here. There is a healthy artists collective amongst many other 'alternative' type things. Even met someone from Freekuency Festival today, which reminded me of another idea I would like to try next summer, so it may well happen there. I have only heard nice things about this free/donation based festival.

What is Project Nazare going to be? It is just going to be me painting, fishing, cooking and drinking beer on the beach. I can't afford beer, so I am going to ask people to send me beer. Seriously. Why would anyone want to send me beer? Out of the goodness of their kind hearts mostly, but there could be another reason.

Just need to buy another HUGE canvass. Replace all my paints, oils, brushes, chemicals and other artist's paraphernalia and I am ready to go. That is going to cost around €500. Almost there. Perhaps another Three weeks, or so. Unless my beer sending plan proves to be more popular than I am expecting.

Oh, and I still need a half decent camera.



Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Winter?

Apparently so. I have bought a winter coat just in case, but it doesn't seem to have happened yet.


Another shitty webcam photo. There always seems to be something more important than another new camera to have stolen. Minor medical treatment from a professional is required. So, I have bought a tube of Vaseline, a scalpel and some Elastoplast. New camera tomorrow perhaps.

I am busy thankfully. The Lisbon/Nazare plan looks like it is going to work. Slight adjustment means Lisbon Monday to Wednesday, and the rest of the time painting on the beach hopefully. I shall still need a bit of help, so I have an idea. More tomorrow...



Sunday, 29 October 2017

Stories from the city, stories from the sea.

Stories from the city, stories from the sea is the title of a PJ Harvey album. It was One of just Three albums I took with me when I initially started this series of adventures and misadventures. It is still a long time favourite with a new relevance to my life today as I somehow manage to spend time in Lisbon and Nazare. My intention is to spend more time in Nazare by the sea, and a little less time in Lisbon even though I enjoy the city much.


My back has recovered fully now. My foot is almost there. Just a minor skin thing to deal with. It all costs money :( People warned me about this - I knew they were right, but hey; live young whilst you can. I have been incredibly lucky health wise so far. Long may it continue.

I am looking for sponsors (again). A proposal will be here for all to read next week. I think I have something very special to sell, and I am not looking for much.

Is anyone really going to pay me to paint, cook, fish and drink beer on a beach all winter?



Thursday, 19 October 2017

Mundo Fantastico da Sardinha.

Not my photograph.


You might be thinking this is tourist tat taken too far. Personally, I would forgive you for thinking that way. Right on the central praça in the heart of photo land - it is a tourist trap. But, look again.

At the supermarket just around the corner you can buy a tin of sardines in spicy tomato sauce for just €0.52, but somehow you know you are going to get better value at 4x the price from Mundo Fantastico da Sardinha. It is fucking brilliant. Only a mad man, or pure genius could have come up with this. A very expensive shop amongst all the designer names in the heart of Lisbon selling tinned fish only. Not even tinned fish, but ONLY tins of sardines. Brilliant. Like something straight out of a Roald Dahl story come to life.

I am finally beginning to get into the heart of secret Portugal. More another day. Three rainy days. Police intervention (my first police problem in Portugal) has hammered my non-existent savings. Another rainy night :(


Thursday, 12 October 2017

A Typical Day. V2

There are NO typical days.

Saturday morning I returned to Praça do Rossio. I did exactly the same as I did on Friday. Same place, same time. Everything the same except using a large canvas instead of paper. Saturday, in the middle of the main square of a European capital. You would expect this to be good, but no. Not a single moment of interest from anyone. Same on Sunday. Think I made about €20 all weekend. That sort of equates to less than 10 Cents/hour.

There are reasons for this. However, often there is no logical explanation whatsoever. I will talk about the reasons I know affect my work another day. Sometimes you just have to roll with it, and hang on to the belief - it worked Friday, it has worked many days before.

Tough going presently. My back is in agony. My legs freeze-up with paralysing cramp if I stand without moving for a few minutes. My foot is still swollen and sore, but almost there. My skin needs another check-up. All this in a relatively unfamiliar city outside of a medical system I am not in yet.

Despite this (and, despite many other things), I am winning. Work for tomorrow means I will have saved enough cash to return to Nazare and search for studio space. Also, want to see what the weekend scene is like there now surf season is starting. And, see a doctor.

Thank f*** it is my back and feet, and not my hands. I can still plonk myself on the ground and sketch in reasonable comfort. But, that was a seriously hard few weeks. I am getting older :(


Friday, 6 October 2017

A typical day.

There isn't actually a typical day - if there is any pattern it is that things are always very irregular and unpredictable. You can try and find a routine in a city you know, but sure enough, in time, the routine will be thrown into chaos.

Today I went to my 'usual' working pitch only to see an entertainments stage built in front of the buildings I was sketching. So, of I went to find a new place to work. At around 8.30AM I set-up in Praça do Rossio. An architectural dream to sketch. Complicated, but very enjoyable. The praça is surrounded by traffic, and full of tourists. It can be a little tiring. By 12PM I had finished my sketch, sold it for €50, collected about €8 in drops. Lunchtime.

I have found a nice traditional place that does a simple, tasty good lunch with bread and a small beer for under €10. Today I had what I think was partridge and rabbit in a gravy drenched rice. Heavily loaded with white wine vinegar. It was very nice.

Afternoon spent internetting, drinking and planning stuff that needs to be planned. That was after a short siesta and a trip to the very, very good art shop to buy canvas and pens for work tomorrow. I will return to the same spot I worked this morning, but work more slowly with more detailing and more attention to light on a 210CM x 100CM canvas, and try to sell it for €100.

This evening I will put a painting on display in a busy spot. Collecting drops, drinking and chatting with locals and tourists - making connections, getting to know local people especially. I plan to work this city each weekend for 6 months at least. It is a dream city for artists for all sorts of reasons. This is effectively my social life as much as my work. When you are down, out of cash and in need, it can feel like begging. Working alongside the street dealers and hustlers. It certainly isn't glamorous. When you are up, it is fantastic fun. You meet so many people from all sorts of backgrounds. That will be my Friday night out.

Then, finish with a drink to chill at my regular haunt. Smoke a little, and find a bed.

Saturday morning tea and breakfast at my usual early hours cafe, then back to Praça do Rossio to start all over again.

It is a life that suits me. I enjoy it even when I have a very sore back and foot. It isn't for everyone, and it is most definitely work, but very rewarding work.

That is about as typical as it gets.


Thursday, 28 September 2017

BananaCafe - Lisboa.

I like these guys. They have been very good to me.

I have been working in Praça do Municipio just becuase I love the relief sculpture on the old court house, and because Banana Cafe is here. It is fairly quiet place. Not great for selling to tourists, but it is proving to be a fabulous pitch for picking up commissions from local people and businesses. That said, I have just sold a nice sketch to someone from Switzerland, so perhaps it is good for international business also??????????????????

Anyway, I haven't looked at a mirror for some time now, but judging by the way I feel, I think this guy got me spot on...


Poorly foot and back. Thank the almighty for the pharmacist in the skies and Bohemia Original!

Painfully F*****, but otherwise, all is hunky dory.

 

Sunday, 24 September 2017

A weekend in Nazare.

I am not entirely sure why I like this place so much. I feel very content here - my plan is to find an affordable 'off-season' rental to make my base, whilst working weekends in Lisbon, or Porto. Lisbon is much easier logistically. Porto is my preference.

I would like to paint seascapes (or, more specifically 'waves') during the winter. Also, continuing 'Evolution of a Goddess'. With a bit of luck, I'm pretty sure I can make this work.

Very big thank you to all the good people at Lisbon's newest 5 star hotel - Corpo Santo for the nice work. More like that would be great. Also, have to mention Hostal Lisbon Calling - very nice for backpacking visitors.

Oh! And, thanks to Chazee ;) Was a fun week. I think??? Who knows TBH. I'll post your tooth onto your new destination tomorrow. Don't really need to say much more than that :D

So, I am starting a property search. Six months, possibly much, much longer.

Nazare according to Wiki.

It is a very special place. I can't explain why exactly, but it is.



Sunday, 17 September 2017

I landed directly in Lisbon.

In a 3 star hotel with good company. I am a lucky man!

Looking for a cheaper bed and work for 3 weeks.



Tuesday, 12 September 2017

The Granada Bubble.

It is a trap.

You will never go hungry here. In fact the bubble offers all you need on a day to day subsistence level. In many ways, nobody wants to burst that bubble. As constrictive as it can be, soporific in summer, it does offer a very fragile security. An uneasy security usually bolstered with booze. A beautiful, but very frustrating city. Only way out of the Granada bubble is to be bold enough to burst it yourself and see where you fall. I'm aiming for Madrid. However, I could just as easily fall in Cordoba, or Seville, or anywhere in the vague direction of Lisbon.


Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Huelva, Seville, Granada... Madrid.

Back to Spain.

I am currently in Granada, and heading to Madrid very soon. Anyone who expressed an interest in sketches from Madrid, please let me know. My phone is working again.

My plan from Madrid is to return to Portugal. Very simply, I loved it so much, I want to spend much more time there. Probably sketching for cash on the streets of Porto and Lisbon during weekends, whilst basing myself in a small coastal town for the winter months. Trying to make time to complete exhibition work, whilst chasing work painting surfboards! It is a possibility - who knows. If you don't ask, you don't get.

I am very interested in any work offers in Madrid, Lisbon and Porto. Madrid until the end of October. Porto and Lisbon until April 20017, and possibly longer.

More details of exhibition work will be here later. I am still looking for advance buyers and investors.

Granada now. Madrid very soon.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Reasons To Be Cheerful. Part 3.

For some reason Ian Dury and The Blockheads are whistling out of my brains today. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcjh1a9Yoao


This post is partly in response to the childish comments I have been deleting. I would like to explain why I maintain this blog, and what my travelling existence is all about.

I travel for work. I travel for adventure. I love to hike.

I am not hiking on some sort of endurance test. F*** that quite frankly. I move as slowly as possible. I am not out to win medals. I am not looking to gain accolades. I do not have any desire to earn brownie points to move my status up into some sort of higher echelon of 'been there - done that' travelling league of idiots. There is no potential for cheating - there is absolutely nothing to cheat, or lie about.

Travelling is a fundamental necessity in my life and search for the work I enjoy. I love the adventure. The experience. I even enjoy the hardship, pain and sacrifices that have to be made. If you don't experience the lows, where are the highs supposed to come from? It is not a life for everybody, but it suits me just fine for the time being, and hopefully for long into the future.

This blog is not designed as a chronological recording of evidence. It wasn't designed for anything other than my own amusement. It has become a very useful way to record my own recollections, stay in touch with friends and followers, let existing, and potential clients know I am still alive, still looking for work, and possibly heading their way.

I often try to explain that the majority of my income does not come from the cash I make on the streets. It comes from the people I meet on the streets. Working in capital cities throughout Europe, I meet many people who may well be art buyers. They are on holiday mode; relaxed - not at work. If they like what I am doing, like who I am, they happily give time, then we exchange contact details, and who knows? The day may come when they need the work of an artist. Travelling as I do is as much about networking and making connections as anything else. Cash on the streets, day to day helps cover my costs. That is about it.

The logistics of travelling as a hiker mean I don't always have an internet connection, or even charged batteries. Nowhere to plug my laptop in among all these Spanish Oaks. Often I will post retrospectively after consideration. I may not have power in my laptop, but I am an artist - I always have old fashioned pens and paper. Jotting down memories for possible publishing a few hours, days, or even weeks later is common practice for myself. The last post I made about Setubal was posted whilst I was in Santigo do Cancon some Two days after leaving Setubal. There isn't really a 'live' timeline to follow here.

I really haven't bothered to waste my valuable internet time deleting posts in the comments here. The spammers are frustrating, and do themselves more harm than good other than improving their Google rankings. But, downright malicious remarks for no good reason really isn't on. The cowardly way they read just depresses me. So, from now on, any posts in the comments I don't like will be deleted. I have left the last one just as an example of what I am on about. The guy is becoming obsessively abusive here and on a web forum I have used for many years. TBH, it is a little bit concerning.

Anyway, I am actually in Portimao today. Nice enough place, although I don't see much cash making opportunity here. I will sketch for enough cash to cover beer and tobacco to get me to the next destination. Hiking is an expensive way to move from A to B, but you can do it little by little in financial increments. I shall stay for the day, and walk this evening, or early morning to the next town.





Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Lagos and an Estonian connection.

It was Hemingway who said "there is One in every port". Seems he was right. I am on a bit of a Hemingway vibe presently simply because a mate in Granada called me Hemingway (you bastard M!).

I arrive in Lagos and get to work sketching a scene of a bar with trees and a church. A very lovely person then introduced themselves and told me a friend of a friend had one of my sketches in their house in Estonia. I meet Estonians' everywhere, and without exception have enjoyed their company much - possibly more about the travelling/walking circles I move in as much as anything else. Eight years ago I was in Santiago de Compostela where I met 'T' from Estonia (amongst others). Somebody else bought a sketch of the cathedral. And, so, Eight years later, here I am in The Algarve, and yet another sketch heads towards Estonia.

Strange how these things work. Thanks 'T' and all the other very agreeable Estonian people I have met.

 I am still thoroughly enjoying this journey. It is reaching it's final stages, but I really don't want it to end. Walking extremely slowly from here on!



Saturday, 19 August 2017

So, how does The Atlantic Ocean affect your life?

"Affect my life? It controls my life", someone told me. They went on to explain that they could shelter from the sea, but never escape it. It provides, it takes away, it is everything.

My own perception is a spiritual one. I appreciate all the affects of the sea, the life, the power, the food, the cleansing, the land environment - the plants, and all they feed. But, it is the almighty power which really grabs me most.

I'm not entirely sure what I mean by 'spiritual' other than it is something beyond my imagination and belief, but absolutely nothing to do with a God. I can look at a landscape and understand why it has a special ambience - the valleys, the hills, the skies and the seas will all play a part in creating a place with a very special, unique feel. The geography, geology - the science within nature, all makes much more sense to me than any belief in a mythical being.

I loved Nazare. It was there where I really felt the spirit of the Atlantic. I'm not alone. Someone decided it was good idea to claim the spirit for their God and build a very impressive church in a tiny village. The spirit was there long before the church, the chapel, or the Catholic believers.

The Atlantic - it is just an almighty force. It affects all of us, whether we are aware of it, or not.

Personally, I just find it incredibly invigorating, or "healthy as fuck" as someone in Nazare told me. It is still the best answer I have received yet. Simple and very bluntly straight to the point of life.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Moving...

Heading South towards the land of Daily Mail reading wronguns. I'm told the journey will be very beautiful. It had better be.

I'm very close to eating solely what I pick and fish. Lime juice is the only thing I am adding which hasn't been picked from the tree by my own hands. Perhaps there is an alternative.

Using small paper bags collected in Setubal, I am drying all the herbs I find inside my backpack. It seems to work, and herbs can make a big difference to flavours. Eating from the land is nothing new (believe it, or not :D). Many thousands of years ago nomadic life was the norm. I am cheating in that respect - much of what I pick is cultivated. There is plenty of wild stuff available, but the offer of picking a red pepper, or leek from a kind person's allotment is too good to refuse.

Why am I doing this? Very simply; because, I enjoy it. There is no real financial saving. With Two fishing rods and tackle costing over €70, I have caught just One mackerel. It was a very delicious mackerel mind. There is something very rewarding about catching your own fish, picking your own fruit, harvesting vegetables with your own hands. Then, preparing it, and cooking it all yourself. You become so much more aware of the nutritional value and the whole process involved in the growing. And, as it is so fresh, it tastes much better and has a far greater nutritional value. Every apple picked from a tree starts to die as soon as it's life source is cut off. As it fades, it loses nutritional value. How long does it usually take an apple to reach your mouth from the time it left the tree?

I am hiking for much the same reasons. It costs about 10x as much to hike from A to B than it does to take a bus. However, the rewards are immeasurable. I love it for all sorts of reasons. Pain in my foot is comfortably being ignored.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Setubal.

Pronounced: Eschtuba.

Possibly?

I am having to rest my foot for a few days. Here is as good a place as any.

Moving and harvesting and cooking again soon. In the meantime I am going to the best market ever everyday...


Not my photograph. See more here.



Friday, 11 August 2017

Montijo - Pinhal Nova - Setubal.

That was one of the most bizarre hikes I have ever done. Melilla to Nadar excepted (nothing can be stranger than that within 20KM).

This is neither suburbia, city, nor countryside. Plots of what may appear as madness to someone who grew up on the very strictly controlled planning laws of a very Conservative Welsh Borders.

Goats. Sheep. Pigs. Spanish oaks. Mega bathroom retail warehouse. Car dealers. Pharmaceutical research centres. Fruit orchards and vegetable fields. Meat packing factories. Old little houses with their own allotments. General no-mans land turned dirt tracks. Scrap yards. Stupidly expensive new mansions and even more stupid residential gated places. All this blown constantly by a relentless, decomposing, salty Atlantic wind. Military aircraft constantly overhead... Chaotic as fuck at first glance. Anarchistic even.

But, I guess if the goat guy does his thing, the cork depot person does their thing, the pharma co manager does their thing, the bathroom place keeps selling bathrooms, the little independent smallholders keep themselves to themselves, factories are just factories. It just seems to work. The apparent mess is not relevant to everyday life here. Even the rubbish (a lot of rubbish) and the huge stray dogs seem happy enough here. Somehow, there is a very gentle harmony in all this craziness.

I suppose if everyone is going in through the out door it doesn't really matter.


Wednesday, 9 August 2017

All restored.

Laptop repaired and upgraded.

I am now in Montijo (south side of the bay from Lisbon). Once again, I am being treated exceptionally well by the people in Portugal. Very strange thing about my life is the people I meet on the street. A very nice strange thing. I can't remember exactly when I was in Aix en Provence, but I very clearly remember the person who bought my sketch and effectively 'bailed me out' of a tricky situation. And, so we met again in Lisbon. And, again it was an absolute pleasure - your kindness is greatly appreciated. Fabulous food, fabulous company. Hopefully we shall all meet again one day. Who knows?

I have hiked a long way without a functioning laptop. Reached Lisbon. Visited many places on the way, and now I'm over half way through this trek.

Sketching for cash. Then, searching for things to cook. There is a museum of agriculture here. I have to visit the exhibition of Atlantic agriculture. Pretty sure I could learn much stuff worth learning.

Updating more frequently now my laptop has been repaired.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

How does the Atlantic affect your life?

'It is healthy as fuck'.

I thank Nicole for that one. I think I agree. Other than a very over excerised right foot, I am feeling on top of the World despite being at sea level.

Boiled potatoes, carrots, broccoli and boiled egg with a fish. No idea what the fish was, but someone assured me it was good to eat, and it was.

Seaweed pudding with fig and blackberry sauce.

All 100% harvested fresh from the land and sea.

I'm heading to Lisbon to pick-up a new screen for my laptop. This is one of the unwritten taxes you have to pay as a perpetual traveller. Another unwritten tax is you have to give away 40% of all the tobacco you ever buy.

Nicole lives in Nazare. I absolutely loved the place. I Will explain why  in a bit more depth another day. In the meantime, it is just one of those very spiritual places where you feel as close to nature as it is possible to get. Vulnerable, yet very alive all at the same time. You don't need to walk far to get away from the tourists and enjoy the wilderness beaches. Very special.