Sunday, 31 January 2010

Things are Not Going to Plan.

No no no.

The wettness. The fucking wettness. I expected wet. I didn't expect this sort of wet. I'm stuck! Not sure what to do. I'm far from convinced I can make enough cash here in the rain, so a bus ride to Madrid perhaps. Possibly. I'm only €200 short, but always €200 short. So, that's a round €120 trip to the dry and back, and then on from there?

I like Santiago. I don't like the fucking continuous wettness. No.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Old :(


I'm 43!!!

43 and bumming around Spain with very little direction :) I should be married with kids and getting stressed about cash and stuff like that. Where is my large automobile? ...Same as it ever was, same as it ever was.

Not really, I know exactly where I'm going and I don't want a big car anyway. The weather people have given me sunshine. Very kind of them. Must remember to thank them if I ever find out who they are.

43! OMFG!

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Pictures on Coins.

Still sunshiney! But, bleedineck - the wind has a bite to it today.

All the visits I've made to Santiago, all the times I have sketched the cathedral, all the coins I have collected on large sketches, I have only just noticed all the copper Spanish Centimos have a picture of Santiago cathedral on the reverse. Strange that.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Time I Stopped Moaning.

No rain today!!! (Yet?).

A list of good things about 14 days and 14 nights of rain and policia hassle in Santiago...

Someone gave me a nice new shoulder bag today - 'Parliament of Galicia' embroidered on the front. I like it and it's perfect for carrying all my artists kit. Thank you very much.

When I was sketching in front of the cathedral last week (in the ice cold wind and snow) someone brought me coffees with congac - my favourite. Thank you very much.

The kebab shops appear to be at war. €1.99 for a nice big kebab. Thank you very much.

There are good people in this city. Thank you very much.

More good in an aesthetic sort of way is just how tidy this city is in all sorts of ways. 24 hour street cleaning (I know, because I've met the early morning shift whilst looking for a safe, free bed!). The municipal logos here are very nice and clean (I tend to notice these things due to past work interests). Same goes for the shop signage. Generally in Spain, it's chaotic. Not here (in the old town at least).

Also on a visually aesthetic note; walking around this city is sometimes like walking into a very surreal centre page spread from Vogue magazine. Stunningly beautiful people dressed to kill. I swear the university recruits on looks as much as brains - all part of the 'Spain's most beautiful city' master plan. No doubt.

Another good thing. Think I've finally figured out where and when I can and can't work. I think I have buskers rights here which means I can sell during working hours (10AM - 2PM and 4PM - 8PM) leaving me free to complete small sketches early morning and during siesta. I think. More than a little bit of stress on the 'think'. If I'm right, I now know how to plan a bit more carefully for both rain and police. I can make this work. Another good thing about Europe's wetest city (possibly) is that it was built for the rain - there are plenty of arcades and dry pitches to work.

Tough going still (wet, wind, crisis, middle of January (as someone who has a birthday in anuary I know all about cash shortages at this time of year!)), but pretty sure I can make it work.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Is this Europes Wetest City?

I think it's up there in the top 3. 13th day in Santiago and 13th day of rain. It did actually stop for a while this afternoon, but didn't get dry enough for sketching on paper on the ground.

I have 2 possible commission opportunities. If just one comes good I'm home and dry, so to speak. If they don't, I have no idea! Struggling with the rain, policia and bad time of year. It's not going to plan.

Everytime I look at the weather map, there's a big, grey, damp, blob over Santiago whilst the rest of Spain gets the usual Spanish stuff. Just 20KM in any direction and there's sunshine, but not here.

Huge canvas and paints wait for sunshine.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Good Fucking Grief. More Rain.

OK. This is getting depressing. Silly me thought I was going to enjoy a dry day of sketching and painting. Oh no. Since leaving Valencia (last year !) I think I've enjoyed just a single day without rain, or snow. This is not Spanish!

At least I managed to dry and wash my clothes. I'm not going mouldy anymore.

It is actually a serious issue. That fascist Policia Local who insists I'm breaking the law by sketching is an issue, but he's powerless compared to rain. I'm going to lose the plot with him. Pretty sure about that. Next time he tells me to stop sketching I'll simply offer my wrists and ask him to arrest me on a charge that I will take to the papers.

Internet cafes are dry, but not cheap here :(


Fuck yeah! Blue skies, dryness and everything!

The power of the sun. I feel full of new enthusiasm, energy and a revitalised liking for Santiago. I'm ready to take the bull by the horns and crack on with a huge painting of the cathedral. Painting to sell to the highest bidder to help fund the set-up of my next project. I'm also looking for advertising links on my all singing, all dancing, new video and photography website (coming to a pooter near you very soon). More about that later. In the meantime, I need a little translation help for a press release and info sheet. Anyone reading here have the time? It's a bit beyond my level of Spanish.

I am a professional fundraising artist. the profit from every painting I sell this year will pay for disadvantaged people to enjoy 'Camino Experience' with a mentor (if necessary). I will be living on the coast of Galicia attempting to paint 5 pictures a week to auction on ebay for charity. This painting is offered for sale to the highest bidder - the proceeds will help to establish my new project, and in turn help others. Place a bid in the 'bid' box, or make a small donation in the 'donation' box. I rely on sales of sketches for my own income - please browse through my portfolio. Thank you.

Set-up costs for anyone wondering are basically the cost of getting my equipment transported from Granada to Galicia. 3, or 4 days car hire I guess and the cost of a tent for painting on beaches in the rain, and costs of time getting the all important new website ready and effectively publicised.

Any translation help greatly appreciated.


Saturday, 16 January 2010

The Rain is Art.

So they say here in Santiago. I like picking up local sayings and customs. Not so keen on this one. Only the insanely optimistic could enjoy this relentless deluge. And, the forecast isn't looking to good either.

Rain spoils sales. Rainy days usually deliver about 10% of the cash I can make on a sunny day. I'm still a long way from getting enough money together to head for the coast. Can't paint in the rain. Few dry pitches to sell from. Oh well, nothing I can do to change the weather - I need a change of plan. It could be 360 degree panoramic umbrella sketching time again.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Tough Going!

Continuing in the vain of this last trip (I would like to say walk, but...) things are not easy. I'm struggling to make €5 a day :(

Time of year - few tourists and most people still paying for Christmas and New Year.

Weather - it's been fucking awful since I left Granada. Big storm here last night. Some rare snow the other day. Freezing cold winds. Few people willing to stop in the street to look at art never mind remove their gloves and put hands in pockets.

Policia Local - I'm told I need permission. I go to get permission. Told I don't need permission. Told to go to some office authorising artists activities in the street, but there are no permissions for January. Then told I need to go to the Traffic Office for authorisation to sketch under the arcades (out of the rain).

It's all a bit meh. Losing my enthusiasm for Santiago a little and desperate to get out to the country and the coast for a bit of reality.

I'm also getting a bit sick of the money promise that Holy Year offers traders here. They're expecting some sort of salvation from crisis, but it doesn't look as though it's happening. I was virtually dragged into a bar the other day. Warm welcome. Congratualtory shake of hand. Followed by a cafe con leche with brandy for €4.40 instead of the €3 I normally pay. Business isn't good all round.

Two commissions and I'm out of here to head to the coast. That may take a couple of weeks still. I always meet good people in Santiago, and generally make good money. Looking back at this time last year Granada was equally tough cash wise. Just the time of year I guess.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Santiago de Compostela.


Not warm here. Somehow I managed to wake up (or, get woken) on a bus in Santiago bus station this morning with 3 canvasses, a set of paints, a healthy pocket full of coins and an almighty hangover. Straight to work despite the cold and the head. I need to find cheap accommodation that isn't infested with bedbugs. My hands are still scarred from the last time.

A very small painting to start (easy to sell), then a mid sized canvas before going full on with a huge canvas.

Right, anyone want to rent their spare room to a weirdo English, pilgrim artist for a month?

Saturday, 2 January 2010

New Year - New Project.

Walking around Spain has been a fantastic experience for many, many reasons. I have many people to thank for buying sketches, commissioning paintings, donating, feeding me, offers of beds and countless other kind offers. A fantastic experience, but I really want to remain static for a while.

Currently in Leon - I love this city. Can't really explain why. I always get a good reception here. It feels very 'homely'. Perhaps that's because the weather is very British during winter (cold, wet and windy). For me, Leon has the perfect balance between old and new. Funky new architecture that doesn't get in the way of the charm of the old town. It's a very affordable city also. Even during the many rainy days I can make enough to pay for bed and food.

Plan is to head onwards to Santiago tomorrow. When I have enough cash I'll head to the very beautiful, varied and interesting Costa de la Muerte and find a place to live for 12 months at least. Painting 5 seascapes a week to sell via ebay for charity. I'll be working weekends in Santiago, La Coruna and here in Leon to make my own cash. Not 100% confident I can make it work that way, but I'm sure it will work one way, or another.

Really looking forward to this. I know the winter weather is going to be totally shyte. I don't care. The place is stunningly beautiful come snow, rain, or shine.

In Santiago I will paint a large painting of the cathedral in acryllic with a plan to sell it to cover my initial months rent on the coast. A big ask! If you don't ask - you don't get ;)