None of the dozens of paintings I have created in Spain would have been possible without the friendship of Toti Romero and her husband, Manolo Blasco. We met on my first visit to Valencia 30 years ago, in August of 1988. The meeting was not an accident: Toti and Manolo were friends of my brother Tim, and so the gratitude I have for them also extends to him. (There are also many other generous Spaniards involved in the much larger story, especially Paco Julian, but I’ll relate those tales in future posts.)
During that first visit I stayed for several days with Toti and Manolo and their daughter Elena in an unusually beautiful old house in Paterna, a small town a few miles northeast of Valencia. The two-story house was surrounded by walls draped with bougainvillea and shaded by a variety of trees against the relentless Mediterranean sun. Toti had grown up in this house and, even though she, Manolo and Elena lived in a flat in Valencia, they used the house in Paterna as a summer home. Two years later, I had saved enough money to live in Spain for several months; Toti graciously offered her childhood home for me to live in.