Sunday, June 28, 2009

51 ~ Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida

three sails Las Tres Velas - click to enlarge

Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida, one of my favourite Spanish painters was born in 1863 in Valencia, Spain.

After studying in Madrid, Rome and Paris, he returned to Spain, lived in Valencia, where he married, had three children, and later moved to Madrid.

Seen above, Las Tres Velas (The Three Sails), painted in 1903 and one of his most famous works, depicts three fisherwomen with empty baskets and long skirts leaning into the wind ahead of the fishing fleet behind.

The-Young-AmphibiansNiños A La Orilla del Mar 1903
(The Young Amphibians)

His seashore paintings are well known for the luminosity and his creative treatment of sunlight and water. In the above painting one almost feels the warmth of the Valencian sun radiating from the picture.

Another favourite subject of Sorolla was depicting the oxen as they pulled fishing boats in to the Valencia shoreline.

beach at Valencia Playa de Valencia (Beach at Valencia)

And here below, women sewing sails on a sun-drenched patio. Again he portrays sunlight in such a way that one feels the intensity emanating from his paintings.

cosiendo la vela Cosiendo La Vela (Sewing The Sail) 1896 (above)

And below - Strolling Along The Seashore:

paseo a orillas del marPaseo a Orillas Del Mar 1909

After-the-Bath Despues del Baño (After the Bath) 1916

The-Wounded-Foot The Wounded Foot 1909

His early paintings reflected a social consciousness which was seen in his 1892 painting Otra Margarita (Another Marguerite) which won him a gold medal at the national exhibition in Madrid and later in 1899 with Triste Herencia (Sad Inheritance) depicting crippled children bathing in the sea at Valencia, which won him the Grand Prix in Paris 1900 and the medal of honour the following year in Madrid.

Here is a complete biography on the informative website which shows his works and allows reproduction without lucro of the same.

The paintings of Joaquin Sorolla are seen in museums and galleries throughout Spain, Europe and America as well as in private collections.
He died in 1923.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

50 ~ Sleeping Cats

Tigger 1 Tigger Sleeps (Click to enlarge)

Is there any creature that knows better how to relax when sleeping than a cat? I have had several of them and since owning a digital camera, I've been able to observe and catch them in their funniest poses.

Tigger 2Most of our dearest cats are sadly now gone. They had a good life here though and lived for many years in our little paradise. Tigger however, is alive and well. He came to visit us as a feral from the street, liked what he food, soft bed, plenty of attention and many bushes under which he could sprawl on a hot day.

Yes he realized he was on to a good thing at our free bed and breakfast! So he was duly taken for a visit to the vet, where he had some minor surgery and was returned home to our back garden. There he met Bunny, a long time resident who showed him how sunbathing on the garage roof could be good for people watching...that is, if you could keep your eyes open.

Bunny 1Bunny was inclined to be a little immodest at times, but since she was named Bunny for her long silky rabbit-like fur, she probably felt the need to let the breezes pass over where she felt the warmest.

Bunny 3And facing the sun while lying on hot volcanic stones was also quite pleasant on a cool winter day.

Bunny 2Still, Tigger really prefers a king-size bed such as a broad, warm sidewalk.

Tigger 3Isn't life great!

 Tigger 4Blackie escapes to the rooftop and doesn't really worry about the nearby cactus thorns.

 BlackieAnd dear Fluffy was the best office assistant. He kept the scanner and telephone warmed up at all times.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Skywatch Friday - In La Orotava

bell towers Click to enlarge

The magnificent baroque twin bell towers of the Church - Iglesia de la Concepción - in the villa of La Orotava, Tenerife, decorated with festive red banners, look out over sea and sky on this sunny fiesta day, the day of the Sand and Flower carpets.
More about this celebration in today's blog entry below.
To see other interesting skies from around the world... click here.

49 ~ Today's Sand & Flower Carpets

sand face zmClick to enlarge

Close up of sand painting June 18, 2009

Today is a day of festivities and religious celebrations in the villa of La Orotava. For weeks the annual carpets of sand have been in the planning, to be created in the town hall plaza over a period of days by uniquely talented artists who drizzle the natural coloured volcanic sands onto the ground to create images of great beauty.

This year the central image represents the year of Saint Paul and the laterals on either side represent the dignity of humanity, and especially that of women, represented by the two female images.

plazaTown Hall Plaza Centre Image
rt side carpetRight side of carpet
left side tapizLeft side of carpet
centre closeup Closeup Central Image
plaza 5
This evening they will be swept away after the solemn procession, celebrating the Christian Eucharist, moves from the church to the above city hall plaza, la Plaza del Ayuntamiento.

carpets 1 Preparing the petal carpets

I have not been there for the last two years so this morning I made sure I was up early and went to La Orotava, a few minutes drive from my home, just after 10 am, armed with two cameras and wearing good walking shoes. Orotava is very steep and one must walk partway up the hills since today the roads are blocked for the making of the carpets.

roses Thousands of roses

Since this morning there has also been excitement in the town as the alfombristas or carpet makers are working on the flower petal carpets which will fill the narrow cobblestone streets. They last for today only, as they will be walked on by the church procession this evening. I saw many boxes of fresh flower petals as well as these rosebuds stacked for use in forming flower carpets. Finely milled green heather is also used to form a green background and edging along with black volcanic sand for accents and edges.

alfombras 2
alfombras 3
alfombras close
alfombras 4
alfombras 5Whole families take part in this event and small children learn from an early age how to take apart the petals and put them in place.

child and petals
alfombras 5
floral image
alfombras 6
bronze alfombrista Bronze statue

A bronze statue of an alfombrista, a flower carpet maker, kneels in the typical posture of those who work on the carpets. He is lovingly provided with fresh flowers and greenery throughout the year.

Here is a slideshow of the above and other images, which may be an easier way to view them in large screen size. All but the first image are from this morning, June 18, 2009. The first photo was taken in 2007.

I hope you will enjoy your visit to ....
The Carpets of La Orotava!

Monday, June 15, 2009

My World Tuesday

Maria raising upClick to enlarge photos

I had my Pilates class today and this is my instructor Maria demonstrating some of our postures on the sliding bed exerciser called the reformer.

To see some other interesting photos from around the world click here.

Maria 1
Maria 2
Maria 3
Maria 4

48 ~ Pilates

reformers 1 Click photos to enlarge

I've been doing machine Pilates in a twice-weekly class now for over a year. Pilates is a physical fitness system developed by Joseph Pilates in Germany in the early part of the 20th century. It's a pleasant way to exercise and I feel that I'm using muscles that otherwise might have lain dormant ...well not exactly dormant ....but perhaps better to say....not used in that way very often! We use reformers, which is a euphemistic word for a rather comfortable lie-down-on moving bed type of apparatus which has springs and pulleys which can be attached to hands and feet with adjustable force, by which we should come out 'reformed'.
reformer 2
wall pullsAlthough they may appear to be instruments of medieval torture....(they really do look a bit frightening)... once one has learned how to lie down on them and push feet against the bar, or suspend hands or feet in the air in slings, one finds them to be a cleverly designed apparatus enabling one to work specific sets of muscles while resting body weight on the bed.

low reformers

remedios pulleysI honestly cannot say that I have been transformed into a lean and athletic body shape yet. As a matter of fact I'm still rather roundy in many parts, and probably will remain so forever but I do feel that I'm getting a good maintenance routine that has served to move just about every body part, keeping the joints supple and 'oiled up' so they don't get stiff and creaky!

chair Chair exerciser

classmate 1 Maria and Remedios help a classmate

classmate lies downIt helps immensely to have a well trained monitor and I'm lucky to have one in Maria, who keeps a practiced eye open for any signs of pain or fatigue in her charges. And I swear she has eyes in the back of her head, enabling her to spot the slightest difficulty in someone on the other side of the room.

remedios 1 Remedios demonstrates a pull

remedios 2Remedios is another expert trainer who joins in to monitor our class when we have more than a handful of students. (Is that the right word.....are we students?....Perhaps better to say we're class members.)

I was surprised to see that our Pilates machines are made in Canada, and after looking it up I find Stott Pilates is Canadian based, so I'm keeping in touch with my home country in a certain way!

gata Our club mascot 'Gata' is resting after a hard workout!


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