In April 2007, I was fortunate to be granted an Artists Residency at FUNDACION VALPARAISO, in Mojacar, Spain. While I was there, I managed to send out 3 Newsy e-mails to friends and colleagues. This is what I wrote:
While travel was arduous, the reward is gorgeous.
My fellow residents at Fundation Valparaiso are
accomplished, sympatico and in just 2 days, we are
finding threads of connections and interest in each
others’ outlook and artform.
The physical beauty is experienced through every
portal both of the immediate grounds and the mountains
that surround us.
Renting a car turns out to have been a splendid
idea. Driving from Alameria for almost an hour to get
to Mojacar, the rugged, dry, mountainous passage was
made easy by good hyways and the company of an
interesting Danish painter (now living in the south of
France), whose life story is almost at the same place
as mine. Lise lost her husband about 5 years ago and
is now back to exploring her muse as well.
My combination room and studio is perfect for the
projects I will be trying.The painters get a room AND
a studio, the writer has just one room as well.
Lots is done for the residents, like providing
the ingredients for bkfst, but you get it on your own.
Lunch is set out buffet style from 1PM and will stay
there til 5:30PM, we help ourself, no formal time to
eat together until dinner at 8:30PM with drinks and
Tapas at 8PM. No washing dishes, but it all gets
carried to the next room and placed in a bin for the
helper to load into the dishwasher. We put the
leftovers in the refrigerator, because the staff
leaves as soon as dinner is put on the buffet table.
Laundry is also done for us, but the system is a
howl. We all place our dirty clothes in the same
basket, and when it is washed and put out on drying
lines down in the garden, we get to pluck our own
stuff days later….so, very much a cooperative family
I’m getting past jet lag and almost back to
normal,whatever THAT is and feeling quite happy to be
The Library at Fundacion Valparaiso is quite
extensive, with walls of books organized by language
and then alphphabetically.
A 1960 paperback of the history of Mojacar and this
region has been passed from one artist resident to the
next as something of interest…and it is interesting!
Sunday, we walked up the narrow switchback
streets in this whitewashed pueblo of Mojacar,
awaiting the Easter procession. The marching band
could be heard only when it left the church, and later
when it was returning.
It took an hour for the bearers’ slow, swaying,
shuffling gait carrying the elaborate statues of the
Madonna and Jesus to circle back up the hills to the
New Plaza. The procession stopped for a few moments to
have the villagers join them in a traditional song,
and then proceeded up the hill and around another
corner to the church. Applause was heard as the
procession ended. (I’m attaching several pics)
Every city in Spain seems to have their own variation
of this heartfelt ritual, only much more elaborate
than this .
It’s been rainy and cool, with occasional moments of
sunshine…very unusual for this time and place. Good
for hunkering down to work in our studios. Mealtime
are wonderful exchange times, info, stories and
creative approaches and then sillyness and fun. We
have been swapping our music as well and I have been
hearing some totally (unknown to me) amazing sounds as
I work at my computer.
We even had an energetic dance session one evening to
a 60′s mix Liz had brought.
We went on an overnight trip to Granada on Tues, got
back in time for 8pm dinner yesterday…an amazing
drive through the mtns, altho I had to drive thru rain
on the return. Granada is a lovely city, full of
charm and interest…esp. going up the mtn to the
Alhambra and spending all morning there. Anywhere one
pointed a camera was a beautiful picture…hard to
I haven’t started making ART yet from this latest
batch of downloads, working on a series of Portraits
of my fellow artist/writer residents that incorporates
what they do with my take on their personalities. Only
one declined to participate
All the others were both enthusiastic and pleased,
and allowed me into their work spaces to photograph
them and their work, offering me helpful suggestions
and THEIR photos to assist in this project. I feel
honored in return to attempt such an idea.
The grounds and the interior of Fundacion Valparaiso
are spectacular in all kinds of light. I’ve taken
hundreds of photographs (T.G.it’s digital) and been
able to create 12 or so surreal combination
compositions. I have printouts pinned to 2 lg bulletin
boards, and SEVERAL may actually stand the test of
It’s really amazing to see how productive one can be
without distractions. I’m well on my way to have the
makings for more than one solo show…at least in the
digital format that will still need fabric layer
All in all, a remarkable experience… although
sitting at the computer for hours is tough on the
bod…I do try to remember to get up and stretch
regularly. A massage therapist came Monday and set up
her folding table in kind Lise’s room…she has the
largest room and works in a sep. studio. However, 3
scheduled massages in a row had her feeling
“homeless”. Of course, we will reschedule massage as
often as we can. The writers are feeling it too.