Windmills of La Mancha

Windmills – Watercolor – 21 x 29 inches

One hot summer afternoon, my brother Tim and I were driving across the plains of La Mancha. He was at the wheel and Doris, our mother, dozed in the back seat as we passed through fields of sunflowers and fields of wheat. A road sign said, El Toboso 6 km. Tim slowed down and turned the car around. None of us said a word because we all knew what each other was thinking: no way would we pass up an opportunity to visit the home of the most beautiful woman in the world.

Afternoons in Spain are times for siestas, so not a soul stirred in the town. Even a dog who was sleeping in the shade under a sign that said: Home of Dulcinea, the Most Beautiful Woman in The World, barely raised its head. We talked a little about the “real” house of a fictional character in a novel written 400 years ago, and then we drove back to the main highway on our way to Córdoba.

In La Mancha, literal interpretations of characters are as common as siestas and sunflowers: “Of course Don Quixote and Sancho and Dulcinea existed! Yes, that windmill you see before you is the very one that Don Q attacked!”

Instead of literalness, a more interesting, mythical way to look at things might be that Don Q symbolizes the universal human characteristic of idealism, as Sancho embodies practicality.

Even better: What if both were aspects of a single person? In the painting, the old man and the girl could be, literally, a granddad and granddaughter on their way home from a market with a bag of groceries. But what if we imagined them as integrated parts of one human being? Then he could be the part of ourselves that is the wise old man and she could be the innocent child. The question then could be: who is guiding whom?

Maybe they just take turns.

2 thoughts to “Windmills of La Mancha”

  1. Jayne suggested, upon viewing this most recent entry to your ongoing presentation and commentary on works of art, that you have the makings of a very interesting book. It’s true, each entry stimulates thought about art, life and living, perception, dreams, reality. It would be a most stimulating book to randomly pick a selection, one a day, for instance, to read it, contemplate the art, then be on one’s way with thoughts to guide or simply to accompany one’s encounter with the world that day.

    This entry on the Windmills of La Mancha is a good example. Certainly the watercolor itself without commentary, provokes thought about the wind, the weather and its possible ominous threat suggested in the dark clouds and limited palette. Where indeed are the two figures coming from or going to? However, the addition of your commentary takes the mind further into mystery and wonder.

    So, a book, and with the footnotes you provide to related entries, perhaps a Rayuela.

    1. Hola Tim, A minute ago, I just discovered your thoughts on the Windmills, even though you wrote them at the end of December. ???? Why I missed them, I don’t know, but here we are at the end of March and I’m finally replying. Yikes!

      Jayne’s idea is terrific, like most of her insights. Lapo and I must have picked up her vibe because we had been talking a couple of weeks ago about the same thing. Please thank her for me and let her know that we are on the case. Lapo has even been researching possibilities for publishing and we’re thought of launching the book at an exhibition I’ll have here at the end of 2023.

      More news and thoughts about this when I visit you in a couple of weeks. Still working on that but I’l let you know ASAP. Many hugs!!!

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