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Observations on a New Life in Spain

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A Vignette From My Day

31 January, 2017 (03:41) | Living in Europe

vignette-3a Its a typically sunny but crisp day here today. On my way home from playing padel I notice an art class strewn about the plaça. “That looks like a fun class” I think to myself.

Once home I fling off my clothes and put my comfy muu muu on for “happy hour”, when Mark and I sit on our balcony and take in the always bustling scene below.

I take out my Nikon to shoot the art class in progress. Some of the artists look to be painting our very building.

These 3 artists are busy painting the plaça along the boardwalk.vignette-2
vignettevignette-4These 3 sit facing us. They must be painting our building or perhaps the café life directly below. The guy standing up in the blue shirt looks like he’s into it.

“That guy in the blue jacket is immortalizing our building” I tell Mark. “Perhaps he’s putting the detail on our very own balcony right now. I wonder if he notices the cactus on our table or the garland of lights.”

Mark replies, “Not likely, but maybe…” in that slightly humorous but patronizing tone he uses when I say something silly.

When the guy reaches down to his palette to get more paint I can see through my zoom lens he is doing a good, realistic watercolor of our building.
vignette-7

Unlike the guy in blue, these 2 artist students don’t look like they’re getting good results, at least that’s how it appears from afar through my telefoto:vignette-6

It occurs to me it might be nice to have a photo of the guy’s painting, held up in front of our building like a picture inside a painting (or is it visa versa?). This idea excites me, but I notice that by now the artists are beginning to pack up their gear one by one. I think to myself, “If I just throw on my overcoat and a hat (no bra) and grab my iPhone I might be able to get  there in time for my shot.”
vignette-signingI arrive just in the nick of time, as a man has moved in to buy the painting. I get there just as the artist signs and dates it.

vignette-saleThe sidewalk art patron hands over 25 euros. “Not bad for a few hours work near the sea,”  I think.

The artist is named Joan. I ask him if he can hold his work up in front of the building for me. He’s a little confused – not only does he have a patron foisting money on him, but a demanding documentarian has jumped into his reality. He hurriedly takes a photo of his painting for posterity. Easy come, easy go…

Here’s the painting:

vignette-art


And here’s the shot I came down for:

The artist is in a hurry so I just take the one shot:
vignette-finale

The patron admires his acquisition.vignette-sale

I look around and all the other artists have cleared up, so I go back home.

I hear someone entering the building behind me, so I hold the elevator open. Turns out it is the man who just now paid 25€ for the painting that lured me down off my balcony in the first place. As we ride the elevator up I congratulate him on his purchase and learn he lives 2 floors directly above me. Surprisingly we’ve never met before. Before getting out on my floor I shake his hand, which I think surprises him. Hand shaking is not a Catalan tradition, heh heh heh.

I’m now back in my apartment, wondering if my neighbor the art patron was also lured down from his balcony, the way I was… He may very well have been sitting on his balcony like me, and taken a closer look at the painting through his binoculars, like I did with my telephoto lens. I like to think he was spurred to action only a few minutes before I was.