Tuesday, September 11, 2012

San Sebastian Spain

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

Sometimes life feels like a “chicken and egg” thing. My friend Victor Goikoetxea who I met in Firenze, Italia, had only just told me about his mural painting workshop in his hometown of San Sebastian, Spain, when one of my collectors with a home in Italy told me that he had an idea for a mural he wanted me to paint. It has been a crazy, life-filled summer with a few unexpected twists.

With my schedule I found myself flying into Barcelona from Italy in time to catch the overnight bus across northern Spain. I arrived around 7 a.m. and was greeted by my kind host, one of Victor’s cousins. He drove us home and after being introduced to his family and dropping off my suitcase, his wife and kids walked me over to the mural workshop in the central part of the city. We began the first lesson shortly after 9:30 a.m.

While I have studied perspective before, I always need to “relearn it,” not using it to this degree so often. We spent the first 2-3 days calculating the proportions of a design that Victor had already come up with. The drawing of the bozzetto is the most important part of the work and most of us took a full week just for the drawings. We drew everything to a smaller scale than our real project and thus, one must always remember which number we are referring to. It spins my head around and I enjoy math!

Anyway, after working that whole day after a long sleep-deprived bus ride, I was surprised at my energy level. I met all the other artists taking the workshop and went out with a couple of women from Paris that evening. We had dinner on the beach and I took this snapshot of San Sebastian’s famous shore. Do you see the light in the clouds in the shape of a bird? I love watching skies!

The first thing that really struck me about this city is the architecture. It feels as if Alphonse Mucha and his Art Deco tribe settled here and made themselves comfortable. It is gorgeous here, with even door pulls having flowing beauty. Prettier than Bilbao. There… I wrote it.

By the third day, I was drawing an enlarged version of my bozzetto onto my canvas at three times the scale. We drew with pencil and will paint with acrylics and oil. Having already designed most of my first mural project in Italy, I was grateful that we were saving time on this workshop project because our instructor Victor had already done all of the creative design work for us. Sometimes I think that people just think we pop this stuff out of our heads. Well, sometimes we do (usually after many years of creating), but just like Albert Einstein, few become genius before having worked a lot in the field beforehand, learning, making mistakes, making progress, and repeating the whole process… a lot. I doubt very much that geniuses are born. Made, I believe in. Even then, most of us do not reach that lofty title, and remain simply students. It is a good thing that learning itself is rewarding.

P.S. No, I have not forgotten the anniversary that most people are thinking of today. I have no wish to make light of what happened by seeming uncaring about it. But I have always been confused on where the line is between remembering loved ones we have lost and letting losers remain famous for their “triumphs.” In my own personal grieving, I rarely remember the day a loved one dies, preferring to remember the life and the love, wherever and as often as it moves me.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the story!

It must be lovely out there in San Sebastian, want to go one day! saluti, "shy angel"

Anonymous said...

Well Done, Well Done,
as always and even better in some of your adventures.
Thanks for sharing.
Gene P.

Kelly Borsheim said...

Thank you both! I hope to sleep some and then share more of Spain with you.