Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…


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Roofs, chimneys, pinnacles, and spires…(part one)

Touring Barcelona includes roof walking. The genius Gaudí neglected nothing in his designs. Every detail was his to control, and he did. The roofs were well thought out to contribute to the function of the building as well as visually contributing to the joy and craftsmanship. I am not sure at the time who got to enjoy these roofs, but current tourists get an eyeful. Chain link fences and railings are newer additions so tourists don’t fall down the skylights. Sometimes I did shoot down toward the street but I really wasn’t in danger of joining the crowd below.

Just a note for future tourists of Barcelona: you can purchase tickets for the attractions on the internet even before you leave home. You can print the tickets out and then you do not have to wait in the long lines to get in the structures. (This does not mean there will not be lots of other tourists around…it is very difficult to get photos that do not include strangers.)  If you do not want to plan that far ahead, and if you have wifi where you are staying, you can also purchase the tickets the night before and take the copy of the ticket with you on your iPhone or device. At the door they read the bar code of the ticket and you jump the long line. Casa Batlló, Casa Milà, and Palau Güell have audio guides (Casa Batlló had the newest and best…it includes a small video screen so they show you antique photos and animations along with the narration.) We did not use the audio guides in other places, just enjoyed the experiences unfiltered…

Casa Batlló

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Sagrada Familia

Gaudí’s Cathedral, still being built. Two tickets required…one for the main church and one for the elevator up into a spire and then walking down a spiral staircase. This picture of the facade shows the spires, the elevator is inside on the right and then you walk the bridge behind the green tree of life sculpture (with white doves on it) and all the way down the staircase there are slits and small windows where you can see tops of towers and decorations.)

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Oh, yes, there will be many parts to this topic…watch this space!


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Iron, dos…

Currently, iron is my favorite medium that I saw in Barcelona, and, I swear, that will last as long as it takes me to process all of my trencadís (mosaic) photos, and all of my art museum photos, and all of my tapas photos…because…this was one swell trip and I liked everything. My only regret…just last month we had to rebuild the two balconies on our house when we found dry rot prior to painting. We rebuilt them with wood as they were, but, maybe, if I had seen Barcelona before the job had to be done, I would have gone in the direction that Gaudí and his collaborator, Josep Maria Jujol, went on Casa Milà (La Pedrera, which means the quarry referring to its massive stonework). The cold, hard material of metal gets a treatment that makes it look like flowing tendrils of ribbon and damp paper draped over a slump mold. Oh, to die for…

  
        

The inside…

  
            

Casa Milà is a constant curve inside and out. It was built between 1906 and 1910. It had neglected days during the 1940’s to 1980’s when the interior was painted totally tan but it has been restored and is very colorful on the inside with pigment pressed into concrete. This last stairwell is highly buffed and looks like leather.

Iron, back on the street…

  
          

It was difficult to take pictures of the full buildings because you could only back up the width of the two lane street and a side walk. A lot of my pictures, therefore are details or almost abstracts. This is Casa Calvert, Gaudì’s first apartment building (located one block from our apartment) and I wanted to compare its elements to Casa Botlló…but I could not get all the floors in one picture…

  
  

This was a dress shop in our neighborhood that was originally a farmacia…flowery iron, mosaic and stained glass…perfection!


Palau Güell…

  

Iron???


NO! Chocolate at the Chocolate Museum. Ha, ha, ha, I like that, too!


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Iron (part one)…

Some shots of my favorite material in Spain…

On balconies, everywhere…

   
 Light fixtures… 

    Houses by famous architects… 

               The view from under the umbrella outside our favorite breakfast spot: 

 Iron is a way of life in Barcelona… 

           and in Girona where they have a bridge by Eiffel, the Pont de Ferro 

   Park Güell… 

               


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Notes from a wanderer…

#1…On my bucket list: learn how to create wrought iron railings…I could really make use of this skill…

  
#2…a town with a chocolate museum is my kind of town…especially when the hot chocolate holds up its own spoon…

   
 

#3…averaging 15,000 Fitbit steps a day, but did not notice until I went up here (at the Sagrada Familia)

  
and the only way down was this…

  
then my knees started to feel it all…

#4…I’ve seen a few Arcs in my day, but the one in Barcelona is quite special when you discover it in the rain at dusk…

  
#5…will Vuitton give me his tempered glass to take home to make mosaics with?

  
#6…get the app “Spotted by Locals” (it’s free and then you pay for the city you want to use). First time we used it we hit a home run. We were two blocks away from La Fermata…pizza by the slice paid for by weight…maybe the best pizza ever… 

 

#7…rain is good and keep your flags flying high…

   
 


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A positive…

A positive thing that came out of standing in a line to get into Casa Batlló was that it meant that there was time to read all the brochures available about the structure. Wouldn’t you know they are having a photography contest where if you tag your photos on Instagram you have a chance of winning a digital Fuji film camera. What could I lose?  So here are my entries and a few others…

   
                 

Gaudí did not like straight lines and used nature as his starting point…


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Settling in…

We arrived in Barcelona last Wednesday  at 11:00 a.m. and immediately started to become acquainted with our new “home away from home”. It is quite impressive in my way of thinking. We are in the Eixample District of Barcelona which when it was laid out back in the 1800’s, was aligned in a gridded regular square system. The sidewalks are lined with multi-storied buildings most of which have multiple balconies (we have two) in wrought iron with ten feet tall shutters. 

   

You walk all the way through and find another balcony and a common open space for the block. 

     

Our front door details…

   
 

The square blocks have their corners lopped off so every time you come to an intersection it visually opens up and makes this very urban space human and accessible. A fabulous urban planner thought that up! Every block has a big beautiful intersection.

   
 

Thursday morning we explored our neighborhood and quickly walked past the Block of Discord. I got my first glimpse of Casa Botlló. We were on our to the University area for our Untours orientation (how to use the Metro, interesting day trips…)

 The local market:  
        

Lots of art nouveau building facades:

         

   
       

The University clock tower:

  
We met our group at a cafe in an interior courtyard with the most amazing wall decorations:

                

Friday we went through Casa Batlló: 
   
         

Oh, joy, oh, rapture! Then we met our Untours group for a tour of the Santa Catarina Market, olive oil tasting and a tapas lunch. 

   
       

Terry and I walked around the main cathedral on our way home… 

   

That was the only organized activity with Untours and now we are on our own…so Saturday we hopped the high speed train (201 km/hour) for a day-trip to Girona for their flower festival…

   
    
This is only the beginning…  


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Past/Future…

What I Have Been Doing

I am going to be here on June 14:

Shadelands Antiques and Crafts Show
Over 80 dealers will be selling their antiques and collectibles at the Shadelands Antiques Show on Sunday, June 14, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., on the Shadelands Ranch Historical Museum grounds, 2660 Ygnacio Valley Road. The event benefits the Walnut Creek Historical Society. Admission is free.

so I have been making things like this:

Watercolors:

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and acrylic collages:

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I have also been helping a dedicated group of volunteer mothers at a local elementary school create a mosaic for their multi-purpose room wall:

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seven mosaic trees will eventually represent the life-skills program at the school…

The moms plotting the logistics of getting 75 kiddiegartners to apply flower tiles to the wall…

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from this:

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to this:

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Success!

What I Will Be Doing

Speaking of mosaics…next week it is to be Barcelona and then Madrid!

My sketchbook is ready…

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and we will be off…I know I tell you each time that our apartment will have wifi and I will be blogging, and then something compromises the wifi connection and I cannot stay in touch…but, this time I think we are to be golden, because not only is it a larger city but there probably is a wifi cafe just down the block if it doesn’t work in the apartment. Here is holding the good thought! See you on the other side!

Besos!