The Hang of Things

After two weeks here in Valencia, I seem to be gradually getting the hang of things: thinking and speaking in Spanish– as difficult as always– also drawing more complex subjects.

I’ve attached another drawing of one of the many bridges in Valencia, this one with statues of the Virgin and a saint, whose name I have forgotten. I hope the software allows you to see the whole drawing, rather than just a fragment, which was the case with the image of a different bridge that I posted last week. (Getting the hang of posting images seems more difficult than speaking Spanish or drawing complex subjects.)

Why bridges? Or, better said, why these particular bridges? Well, I’m trying to draw things that exist here in Spain, but not in California. So far as I know, the bridges here, spanning a dry riverbed, are unique to this place, with or without saints. I’ll share all of the sketches soon on the webpage. In the meantime, thanks for reading this.


It has been three years since I have been here in Valencia, a city I have lived in and loved for nearly 30 years. A few days ago my friend Paco and I (he’s a native of the city)  walked through the streets of the old city remembering what it was like before so many of the small shops got converted into bars and restaurants for tourists. This change has happened only during the past couple of years. Paco’s former bank is now a Taco Bell (!!!) and the shop where one was able to buy newspapers from all over the world, and where I used to buy the international edition of the NY Times every morning, closed its doors a few months ago. On the plus side, Paco says at least Taco Bell will not swindle as much money from its clients as the bank did from theirs, but still, Starbucks and KFC in Valencia only makes me sad. Yes, change is inevitable, and Paco and I may sound like a couple of grumpy old guys, but I feel like a dinosaur, walking through the streets of Now and, at the same time, in the streets of my memories of years ago.

Here’s a sketch in ink and watercolor of one of the many bridges that cross the old riverbed of the river Turia, which the Valencianos rerouted 50 or so years ago after a disastrous flood and which has since been turned into an enormous park with bicycle paths, playgrounds, soccer fields, lots of shade for picnics, fountains for dogs to splash in, feral cats, paths for runners and benches for young lovers to entwine each like pairs of octopuses.

More sketches will follow in the days to come. Meanwhile, a hug to anyone who reads all this.

Today Before

This first blogpost on the new website is not from Spain, but from Grass Valley. On Saturday I’ll arrive in Valencia and, after a day or two of sleep and recovery from the trip, I’ll post drawings and sketches, as well as commentaries on living on the other side of the world.


This sketch, from an earlier visit to Spain, shows Valencia’s main Post Office. During the next two months, some of you will receive post cards mailed from this actual building.