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.