Spain has been on my mind because I’ll soon be living there for the next three months. Old, dilapidated parts of cities draw me into them and, in the case of Valencia, they embrace me – there’s no better word to describe the feeling of being welcomed. I used to think that it was the people who did the embracing, and they certainly do, but I came to realize that streets and buildings were doing it as well. One of my favorites is this yellow ruin in morning sunlight. It took me weeks to draw and paint it years ago. I’ll visit it soon and if it is still standing, perhaps I’ll be able to paint it again.
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One thought to “Calle Caballeros, Valencia”
I am struck by the contrasts in the painting: the claustrophobia of the very narrow and dark street that opens up onto bright opportunity; the broken down street rubble and collapsed “persianas” as contrasted with the fact that not a single window is broken in any of the houses; the sort of ghost town quality contrasted with the reality of a woman, apparently with babe in arms. Is the reality decrepit or optimistic? Well, yes. And the place name; it’s from the past: “Calle Caballeros.” There was once a reason for the street to be named for “caballeros,” gentlemen or, even earlier, “knights.” That time has passed, and now you go back to Valencia and will pass by, or stop and draw the Calle Caballeros today. How will it have changed?