Sorolla, el pintor de la luz

One of my favorite´s  place to sketch  in Madrid. The Spanish painter, Joaquín Sorolla was born on February 27, 1863 in Valencia, Spain. The artist’s house and was converted into a museum after the death of his widow. It is situated at Paseo del General Martínez Campos, 37 -Chamberí – Madrid.

Sorolla’s work is represented in museums throughout Spain, Europe, America, and in many private collections in Europe and America. In 1909 he made a successful debut in the United States in a solo exhibition at the Hispanic Society in New York City. The resulting critical acclaim won him a commission to paint President William Howard Taft in 1909. In 1933, J. Paul Getty purchased ten Impressionist beach scenes made by Sorolla, several of which are now housed in the J. Paul Getty Museum.

In 1960, Sorolla, el pintor de la luz, the master of depicting sun and water, a short documentary written and directed by Manuel Domínguez was presented at the Cannes Film Festival.

In 2007 many of his works were exhibited at the Petit Palais in Paris. In 2009, there was a special exhibition of his works at the Prado in Madrid, and in 2010, the exhibition visited the Oscar Niemeyer Museum in Curitiba, Brazil.

From 5 December 2011 to 10 March 2012, several of Sorolla’s works were exhibited in Queen Sofía Spanish Institute, in New York. This exhibition included pieces used during Sorolla’s eight-year research for The Vision of Spain. His style was a variant of Impressionism and whose best works, painted in the open air, vividly portray the sunny seacoast of Valencia. Sorolla was from a poor family and was orphaned at age two. He displayed an early talent and was admitted to the Academy of San Carlos in Valencia at age 15. After further studies in Rome and Paris, he returned to Valencia.

Upon his return to Spain, he purchased a beach house in Valencia, on the Mediterranean shore. For the rest of his career, he drew his inspiration from the dazzling light on the waters by his home, and his beach scenes are marked by sharp contrasts of light and shade, brilliant colours, and vigorous brushstrokes. That´s why he is called the ¨painter of the light¨ (el pintor de la luz).

The Museo Sorolla – The building was originally the artist’s house and was converted into a museum after the death of his widow. Designed by Enrique María Repullés. The principal rooms continue to be furnished as they were during the artist’s life, including Sorolla’s large, well-lit studio, where the walls are filled with his canvasses. Other rooms are used as galleries to display Sorolla’s paintings, while the upstairs rooms are a gallery for special exhibitions. In 2014, these rooms held an exhibition of David Palacin photographs of the ballet Sorolla produced by the Spanish National Dance Company.

It´s nice to see the actual place where he lived and produced so many of his artworks. There is also a nice entrance garden with a fountain where you can just seat there and make some sketches while admire the flowers and statues.

Don´t forget to visit this small museum if you have a chance on your next trip to Madrid. You won´t regret it!!


St Valentine’s Day in Spain

It’s not a traditional holiday in Spain, but most of the places in the world celebrate it with the traditional bouquet of flowers and romantic diners. the closest concept about it is from people of Valencia and their most romantic day of the year is, in fact, October 9th, when they celebrate both; the Day of the Valencian Community (Sant Valentin) as well as the Day of Saint Dionysius (Sant Dionís), locally known as the patron saint of lovers. This is a public holiday marked by many festivities and colorful costume parades held in the main plaza of every town and village.

A distinctive tradition on the Day of Saint Dionysius is the custom of offering ladies a Mocadora (Mocaorà) as a sign of love and appreciation. This traditional gift consists of a nice package of marzipan figurines handcrafted by local confectioners and then wrapped up in an elegant piece of silk.

In the Land of Cervantes, you don’t need a reason to get caught up in the fire and romance of Spain. The whole country is teeming with spectacular parks and gardens that inspire love.

Here is the recipe.

150 grams of ground almonds
135 grams of sugar glass
1 egg white
30 grams of mashed potato
Pastry dyes and flavor extract of each fruit. Cocoa powder
If you have too much thickened water
Some pine nuts to decorate

Start boling a potato and make a very fine mashed potato. Set it apart to use later. Beat the egg white to the point of very compact snow. Until the container is turned over, it stays well attached and does not fall. Add the icing sugar and mix well taking into account that the point does not get off. Add the mashed potato and almond flour and knead well. Distribute the dough in as many portions as we want to make different figurines and add to each portion the fruit dye, the flavor extract and let it rest for a while before making them. Take the dough and mold with the fingers the desired figures. Place in a tray and let dry a few hours and if you want to follow the tradition, wrap them in a neck scarf and give them away. If you have more dyes and flavor extracts, you can make pears, lemons, oranges, strawberries … Go on, you are totally allowed to just play with them and make fruits for the ones you love!


Santiago de Compostela (El camino) or The Way of St. James

This is my first blog in 2018. My last one was in June 2017. I had my personal journey fighting against cervical cancer last year and I had no energy whatsoever to post anything. Well, I’m still here! But after surgery in July and the beginning of chemo at the end of August, I’ve manage to travel to  Galícia and visited the city of Santiago de Compostela and the surroudings cities, Muxia, Ézaro, Carnota, Corcubión, Muros, Noia and also Finisterre, the last post of pilgrimage. I confess I didn’t do the whole “camino” but, you know, due to the circumstance at that particular moment of my life, I was happy just being there and somehow feeling blessed. Spain is a wonderful country to travel, full of history, wonderful food and spectacular wineries. It’s an energetic country to feel alive and enjoy living!! Something like “La Fiesta” therapy.

I love traveling by car. From Madrid to Santiago de Compostela is like 5.2 hours driving and the sightseeing change completely from the arid weather in Castilla La Mancha to a humid and ultra green meadows in Galicia. And I love eating fresh products from local producers. I specially recommend “O Graneiro de Amelia” ( where you can buy grains, species, dry nuts, teas and herbs. The colors, the smell of species and honey…. indescribable!!! And don’t forget to eat the Almond Tart, also a local food tradition.

There are eight main Camino de Santiago pilgrimage routes in Spain:

Camino Frances – the busiest route.
Via de la Plata – the longest Camino.
Camino del Norte – along the sea.
Camino Ingles The English Road – the shortest Camino.
Camino Portugues, (finishes in Santiago de Compostela but starts in Portugal).
Camino Primitivo. the original one.

Even if you don’t do the Camino, visit the city, the Cathedral and also Santa Maria la Real de Sar, a medieval church from XVI Century. From the cathedral’s balcony you can contemplate the beauty of the roofs and the city’s skyline. Unfortunately the frontal cathedral’s facade (The Obradoiro) is being restored and only will be re-opening on 2023. Well, I’ll have to come back somehow!

The Way of St. James (El Camino) was one of the most important Christian pilgrimages during the Middle Ages. Legend holds that St. James’s remains were carried by boat from Jerusalem to northern Spain, where he was buried in what is now the city of Santiago de Compostela. (The name Santiago is the local Galician evolution of Vulgar Latin Sancti Iacobi, “Saint James”.)

The Way can take one of dozens of pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela. Traditionally, as with most pilgrimages, the Way of Saint James began at one’s home and ended at the pilgrimage site. However, a few of the routes are considered main ones. During the Middle Ages, the route was highly travelled. However, the Black Death, the Protestant Reformation, and political unrest in 16th century Europe led to its decline. By the 1980s, only a few pilgrims per year arrived in Santiago.

Most pilgrims carry a document called the credencial, purchased for a few euros from a Spanish tourist agency, a church or parish house on the route, a refugio, their church back home, or outside of Spain through the national St. James organization of that country. The credencial is a pass which gives access to inexpensive, sometimes free, overnight accommodation in refugios along the trail. Also known as the “pilgrim’s passport”, the credencial is stamped with the official St. James stamp of each town or refugio at which the pilgrim has stayed. It provides pilgrims with a record of where they ate or slept, and serves as proof to the Pilgrim’s Office in Santiago that the journey was accomplished according to an official route, and thus that the pilgrim qualifies to receive a compostela (certificate of completion of the pilgrimage).

The “Way of St James” is marked by a scallop shell, a symbol of humility that also served practical purposes for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago. The shell was the right size for gathering water to drink or for eating out of as a makeshift bowl. The pilgrim’s staff is a walking stick used by pilgrims to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela.

Most often the stamp can be obtained in the refugio, cathedral, or local church. If the church is closed, the town hall or office of tourism can provide a stamp, as can nearby youth hostels or private St. James addresses. Many of the small restaurants and cafes along the Camino also provide stamps. Outside Spain, the stamp can be associated with something of a ceremony, where the stamper and the pilgrim can share information. As the pilgrimage approaches Santiago, many of the stamps in small towns are self-service due to the greater number of pilgrims, while in the larger towns there are several options to obtain the stamp.



La Ardosa

Bodela de la Ardosa, Madrid

SRapallo BodegaArdosa, watercolor, 2017.
SRapallo BodegaArdosa, watercolor, 2017.

Calle de Colón, 13, Malasaña

One of the first bars we visit when we arrived in Madrid. It´s a old bar with excellent salmorejo (cold tomato soup made with bread, oil, garlic and vinegar) and croquetas or tortilla de patatas (potato and onion omelette). You have to try it!

As a decor I specially love the grotesque  Goya´s drawings hanged all over the walls. Most of the people don´t even notice them. They have two ambient s;  one in front and the other at the back of the bar, you have to pass below the counter top.

A brief history

In 1892 Rafael Fernández Bagena, owner of vineyards in the region of La Ardosa, Toledo, created and founded the chain of Bodegas La Ardosa in Madrid, which would have 36 establishments. Some are still open in the streets Sta. Engracia, 70 , Ponzano, 10 and Abtao, 32.

Gregorio Monje, a butcher by profession, acquired La Ardosa in 1970. In 1979 he began working there with his wife Conchita, who presented the tavern to the most prestigious tortilla competitions, and his sons Rafael and Ángel.  At the death of Gregorio. In 1995, the distributor  was sold and the children continued with the brewery business. Currently, La Ardosa is run by Ángel, assisted by  his wife, Concepción, and by a team that he trained and educated to serve beer with the same dedication and devotion as always.

During the 80’s he specialized in beers, becoming an institution. They worked the English Bass brewery, the German Warsteiner and were pioneers in importing Czech beers like the authentic Czech Budweiser and Pilsner Urquell. Ah, they also have Guinness and Bombardier.
This place is crowded on weekends, well… in fact every night – the Spanish way of life. They are pro…. they drink Monday to Monday.

Continue reading “La Ardosa”

Bluebird´s Nest

Bluebird’s  Nest

SRapallo, Bluebird's Nest
SRapallo, Bluebird’s Nest

I totally forgot to fetch my pencil case at home when I came to work today, as I usually do. The only available pen in my bag was a Montblanc Meisterstuck filled with a turquoise ink, which I also like very much – the pen and the ink.

Today´s prompt is ¨Woody¨… well, blue is not a woody hue, so the solution was to make a Bluebird´s nest…. so I could work both ways, the little blue sketch on pencil and later on, at home, paint the nest with watercolor. Well you have to play with what you have in hands, right?

Lucky me… even the eggs were blue!! Thanks Bluebird…

Playlist: Bluebird, Paul McCartney from the album Band on the Run







Hoje esqueci totalmente de colocar na minha bolsa o meu estojo de lápis como sempre o faço. A única caneta que eu tinha era uma caneta tinteiro, a  Montblanc Meisterstuck , carregada com tinta turquesa, que eu gosto muito, tanto da caneta quanto da cor.

O tema de hoje é ¨amadeirado¨, bem, como azul não é obviamente um tom de cor amadeirado, a solução encontrada foi fazer um esboço de um ninho de passarinho azul, o Azulão, assim eu poderia cumprir com o requisito amadeirado mesmo usando uma cor completamente distinta. Pois é, foi um pouco de esperteza minha, mas acho que a gente tem que usar o que se tem nas mãos, certo ?

Para sorte minha, os ovos do Azulão são, obviamente, azuis….Beleza!

Trilha Sonora: Bluebird, Paul McCartney do álbum Band on the Run







Shine on your crazy diamond

Shine on your crazy diamond

The only thing I came up to fulfill the prompt for World Watercolor Group was Pink Floyd… Well, my generation! Here is the lyrics for one of the greatest songs from Pink Floyd, from the album I Wish You Were Here, 1975.

SRapallo, Crazy Diamond, 2017
SRapallo, Crazy Diamond, 2017

Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun.

Shine on you crazy diamond.
Now there’s a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky
Shine on you crazy diamond.
You were caught on the cross fire of childhood and stardom,
Blown on the steel breeze.
Come on you target for faraway laughter, come on you stranger,
You legend, you martyr, and shine!

You reached for the secret too soon, you cried for the moon.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Threatened by shadows at night, and exposed in the light.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Well you wore out your welcome with random precision,
Rode on the steel breeze.
Come on you raver, you seer of visions, come on you painter,
You piper, you prisoner, and shine!

Nobody knows where you are, how near or how far.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Pile on many more layers and i’ll be joining you there.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
And we’ll bask in the shadow of yesterday’s triumph,
And sail on the steel breeze.
Come on you boy child, you winner and loser,
Come on you miner for truth and delusion, and shine!

Playlist: Pink Floyd’s 1975 concept album Wish You Were Here.