An early cold morning is a good time to paint in the park.
I went to the plaza de Marmol because I was there the day before. The previous day, this beautiful little plaza was full of bright red geraniums. When I got there the next day, the gardeners had pulled all the flowers and I had a completely different scene to paint.
Although I was really looking forward to painting this fountain with red flowers, I decided that the Retiro Park gardeners would be fun to paint. While I was painting, it started drizzling more and more. I hurriedly finished the watercolor with pen and ink and decided I would come back another day.
Capricho park in Madrid is a gorgeous historic park. I signed up for this fast-painting competition because I like to paint in the parks here in Madrid and this one is fabulous.
I set up in front of a fountain. Painting fountains are my favorite subject matter in the park. I like to hear the water trickling and try to capture the look of it as it falls. The water sparkles and glitters as it falls and this is what I like. Here is a picture of the fountain. It’s a simple, yet beautiful fountain.
The photograph doesn’t even come close to the stunning variety of green colors.
The painting competition was from 9 to 2. Usually, I can never finish a painting in such a short time. I tried really hard to finish this time or a least to make it look finished. Below is a photo of my painting.
I turned in the painting on time and although I didn’t win any prizes, I am happy to say that my painting was selected for the exhibition.
I was number 40.
Here it is hanging on the wall at Cultural Center Gloria Fuertes in Madrid. It will be hanging there until the 25th of November 2022.
Here is a little clip so you can see the ambiance of the Capricho Park Fast Painting Competition.
For me, remembering everything about the human figure isn’t like riding a bicycle. I felt a bit of ‘people in perspective rustiness’, so I picked up an Andrew Loomis book and started to study ‘Figure Drawing For All It’s Worth’. Yup, that’s the name of the book. If I could go back in time and tell my younger self what to study to improve my art skills, I would tell myself to study the book I just mentioned by Andrew Loomis. I recently discovered it and I am going to share a little drawing I made of the Puerta del Sol in Madrid, Spain.
This is one of my favorite small watercolors. It is my favorite because I had a fun time while I was drawing and painting it. It was right after the crazy snowfall we had here in Madrid. It was freezing cold outside and hardly anyone was outside because of the Pandemic. I was sitting in a cafe on the rooftop of Callao with my one and only art student who was brave enough to go out once a week and paint Madrid with me. I think this kept us sane in an insane time of confinement and uncertainty. I remember our conversation that day as if it were yesterday. That is what is so special about painting the moment. Watercolor is like a long photograph and you remember everything.
I have a little clip of the moment when I finished the painting. You can see it if you click here.
The Mediterranean wildflowers that I painted in this red vintage bottle show up in the spring, and add little dashes of color around my neighborhood. Every year I try to get them to grow on my terrace. Sometimes I succeed. This year, I got the little violet flowers, a few poppies, and little white daisies to grow in a pot on my terrace. I got this red vintage bottle at a second-hand store in San Diego. I love to paint it over and over again with the pretty flowers I find in Madrid.
I just finished this painting today; it’s still wet. When the colors dry and settle down. I will varnish it and take another picture. Thank you for reading my little story. Enjoy the colorful flowers around you too.
I named this painting Red Roses in a Glass Herb Liquor Bottle. I like this glass bottle because it has smooth edges and it is transparent. The roses are from my terrace. I have had this rose bush for many years. I take such good care of it so I can paint the beautiful red roses.
These flowers just showed up on my terrace one day. I didn’t plant them, but one day to my surprise a bunch of irises bloomed. I painted them as soon as I found the time.
Sometimes I use flowers as an excuse to paint my favorite bottles. I still remember the day I laid eyes on this beautiful blue bottle. It was in my grandma and grandpa’s liquor cabinet. I asked if I could have it and I’ve been painting it ever since.
This one is called Iris in Red Vintage Whisky Bottle. I have had this bottle for years. It has a deep red color that looks so pretty in the light. I don’t have this one anymore. A nice couple came to the plaza and got it for themselves.
I got this vintage coffee pot at a street fair. When I got it, I could imagine red roses, almond blossoms, red poppies, and all kinds of colorful flowers inside. When those irises popped up on my terrace, they went right into this old gooseneck coffee pot.
I went on to make a few more watercolors. Here my sapphire bottle is with a depression pink flower-shaped ashtray with a few scattered seashells. I like to put them in front of the window to let the light go through them.
In this watercolor I had a coral tea rose in the blue gin bottle and red roses in the clear liquor de hierba bottle. I love to paint these beautiful bottles with different backgrounds and the flowers I have on my terrace.
This ceramic vase is a Talavera vase. My grandmother rescued it and glued it back together. I am so glad because this is my favorite vase. I put a branch of roses inside and painted them.
Here is another one of my favorite vases. I like to paint the facets on the crystal. I painted a lot of roses because there are a lot of roses on the terrace.
Here is another one of my favorite vases in the watercolor behind me. My watercolor found a new home with this nice couple. You can find me at my stand at the Plaza de los Pintores located in Madrid at Plaza Conde de Barajas. I am there every Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm. Come by and see me when you are in Madrid.
What? The Plaza de los Pintores (An Outdoor Art Market) When? Every Sunday from 10am to 3pm Where? Plaza Conde de Barajas – In Madrid.
Today was a sunny day with some big clouds and a bit chilly. I really enjoy painting the monuments in Madrid.
The history behind them is really interesting.
The bronze statue represents Eloy Gonzolo and it was created by Aniceto Marinas. It was placed here in the Rastro in 1902.
While I was painting there was a couple having breakfast at an outdoor terrace. This is a typical scene here in Madrid, so I just had to include it in the painting.
I love painting couples.
The gaslamps are all over Madrid and remind me of a long ago time when they lit the streets with a warm light at night.
I like to take a photo of my watercolors outside to show the true colors. My hand also serves as a size reference. I have a little clip of the watercolor on site. Click here to see it. If you would like more information about this watercolor you can contact me here.
Thank you for reading about my little art adventure, Victoria
I made this watercolor of Plaza del Parterre in the early morning of August 2020. I got to my painting spot at 7:30 in the morning. The morning light was glorious. We had been confined in our houses the whole spring. In the month of August we were ‘allowed’ to go out if we were working. I considered myself to be working because I was painting with my student.
It was still somewhat dark outside because it was early morning.
A starling came by to visit a few times during the morning.
Here it is in natural daylight.
The Plein Air watercolor served me to make this studio painting later.
I am so happy to say Plaza del Parterre was granted World Heritage status July 25th, 2021 by UNESCO. The Spanish collection is called Paisaje de la Luz, in English it’s Landscape of Light.
Thank you for reading my little story. Enjoy your day, Victoria
These are early February branch flowers. They are the first to bloom in Madrid after our cold winter. Shortly after painting this small painting, we were all confined to our homes during the entire spring.
I have a lot of fun painting the Crystal Palace. I paint it often. In July it was granted World Heritage status. I am really happy about that.
This is a small format. Small format is great because I can finish in one session.
Here is my set up. I got this picture thanks to someone who sent me the picture. Thank you Javier!
I try to paint in the shade, since I am standing in the same spot for three or four hours. It’s either shade or wear a hat. I brushed off a few spiders from my shoulder that were dropping down from the shady tree.
This painting is called Fuente del Ángel Caído. I painted it on site in August, a verrrrry hot month here in Madrid, haha.
Here you can see the statue in the background. I also have a short clip here if you click on ‘clip‘.
This unique statue, created by Ricardo Bellver is incredibly beautiful. It represents the moment that Lucifer falls from heaven as described by John Milton in the first pages of his epic, Paradise Lost. The statue has been granted World Heritage status by UNESCO in July 2021.
Here is a shot of the painting on site, when I finished. If you come to Madrid, don’t forget to visit the Glorieta del Ángel Caído. Thank you for reading my short story. Enjoy your day, Victoria
Pinto en el Parque del Buen Retiro a menudo. Uno de mis edificios favoritos es el Palacio de Cristal. Lo he pintado muchas veces porque se ve diferente durante todo el año. El Palacio de Cristal fue declarado Patrimonio de la Humanidad por la UNESCO el 25 de Julio 2021. Volví a pintar este hermoso Palacio de Cristal en Agosto de 2021.
Mientras estaba pintando, alguien me dijo que se vería hermoso si lo dejaba los cantos sin terminar. De hecho, dos personas me dijeron eso el mismo día.
La selección del Parque del Buen Retiro y el Paseo del Prado, patrimonio de la humanidad, se llama Paisaje de la Luz, por lo que el borde blanco que se deja sin pintar sirve como un halo de luz. Es muy apropiado y una buena idea para la serie que estoy pintando con el mismo nombre. Estoy feliz de haberlas escuchado.
Palacio de Cristal, el primer cuadro de la serie, Paisaje de la Luz, está en muy buenas manos.
Ya está en la pared junto a una gran obra de arte. Hoy mi cuadro tiene casa. Gracias por apoyar las artes.
Y ya tiene marco blanco con paspartú. Me encanta! Victoria
The Crystal Palace here in Retiro Park has been granted status of world heritage in July 2021.
This is the first of a series of paintings that I plan on making of Paisaje de la Luz. In English, Landscape of Light. Here is a little clip of the painting and the Landscape.
As I was painting, someone I had just met that day gave me the perfect name for my series and named it ‘Landscape of Light’. Nice idea Carmen, Thanks.
I got up really early this morning to continue with my series of paintings. Monument to Alfonso XII has also been granted the status of world heritage. It is not surprising at all; the monument is so magnificent. Here is a little clip of the painting with the monument.
I’m not finished yet, so I’ll be going back tomorrow.
I was so stoked to see water falling from the fountain dishes in the first week of June. They had been off for a full year and counting as well as the drinking fountains that are all over Madrid.
I was lucky enough to hear the Orquesta Atipica Del Retrio while I was painting the Artichoke Fountain. It was a lot of fun to paint them too.
This young couple started dancing to the tune of the band and it was so sweet. It only lasted a few moments until they were off to something else.
Here is a little Video of the ambience with the quint playing at the Retiro Park. Click on the photo above or Click here.
Here is a size reference photograph of the line and wash called “A Beautiful Day in June 2021” in full sunlight.
It was such of a beautiful day in June; I painted this line and wash too. The artificial lake with the blue row boats is called Lago Estanque. The monument that you can see in the background with the equestrian statue is called Monumento a Alfonso XII.
Here is a size reference photograph of the line and wash called “El Estanque en Junio 2021” in full sunlight.
It was a really special day here in the Retiro Park in Madrid, Spain. Thank you for reading my little story, enjoy the sunny weather.
There was a big blue sky over the Retiro Park and long shadows on the ground. It is really hard to see the beautiful Nymph fountain because the usual glittering water spilling off the dishes is just not happening.
I made two line and wash paintings. They are a lot of fun to do and the time goes by so quickly.
It’s nice to have two.
I like to take a photo of the watercolor with the model.
I can’t wait until the fountains are turned on again. At least there is water in the pond, so that is nice.
I like painting flowering branches in watercolor because watercolor is a medium that allows me to paint quickly enough to try to capture the feeling.
These are the branch blossoms that bloom in February here in Madrid. The first three flowers I see after the cold winter are almond blossoms, Japanese quince and yellow retama.
Here is a closer view of the Japanese quince and yellow retama in pickle jar half filled with water.
These three early bloomers grow on twisting branches reaching out in every direction, so that’s why I like to put them in a pickle jar. I want to be able to paint the submerged flowers on the branches.
The blue curtains are in the background. I opened them up and the light came in illuminating the yellow retama.
Here is a picture of the watercolor in full shade. My hands serve as a size reference. Thank you for reading my little watercolor adventure report.Victoria
This is a watercolor of la Plaza de la Paja. (The Plaza of Straw). The name, Plaza of Straw, comes from the 15th Century, a time when straw was sold at the Plaza.
La Plaza de la Paja is located in an area known as Madrid de los Austrias, in the historic center, within the neighborhood of La Latina.It was an important market in the 13th and 14th Century.Nowadays, it is a great place to have a bite to eator to just hang out.
Overlooking the Plaza, is Sacramento Church. Since 1980, it is the Military Cathedral of Spain known as Catedral de las Fuerzas Armadas.
These 19th Century constructions are either painted or covered with exposed brick. The narrow wrought iron balconies accentuate the buildings in this neighborhood so beautifully.
The antique gas street lamps that once lit the neighborhood with soft glowing lights are so picturesque.
Can you see a door on the back wall?This jewel is one of Madrid’s secrets.
Through this door, are the Gardens of the Prince of Anglona, one of the few examples of the noble gardens from the 18th Century of Madrid. If you are ever in Madrid, do not miss this hidden garden.
It was an overcast grey day, and the tree branches were still nude. Even so, anyday in Madrid is a good day to paint.
Here is the finished watercolor in the light of day, shown against the brick colorso typical in many parts of Madrid.
Thank you for reading this little story about Madrid de los Austrias.
The Cathedral Santa Maria la Real de la Almudena is simply called la Almudena. The Virgin of the Almudena is the Patron Saint of Madrid, Spain. The Almudena in this watercolor is portrayed in Autumn. In Madrid, Autumn is spectacular. The leaves at a certain time of day look like gold. These colors resonate with the lapis lazuli blue domes of the Almudena Cathedral. The rusty and golden colors of the foliage also reflect in the water and complement the color of the cobalt blue sky reflected in the water. The bridge that crosses the Manzanares River is called the Puente de los Franceses. The name of the bridge came about because most of the engineers who directed its construction were French. The Madrilenians began to refer to it as “The Bridge of the French”.
Santa Maria la Real de la Almudena is popularly known as the Almudena Cathedral. The Virgin Mary from the Almudena avocation is the patroness of Madrid, Spain. A major festival in the city celebrates Madrid’s Patroness on the 9th of November. This is the view I caught from a distance when walking from Casa de Campo swimming pool into the city on a hot summer day.
The Retiro Park is a family favorite. The Estanque (Artificial Lake) is a great place to spend an afternoon all year round. It is most popular in the spring and the hot summers of Madrid. You can see couples, friends and family on the lake splashing, laughing and enjoying themselves in the blue row boats.
Everybody goes to see the Crystal Palace in November because even though it was freezing cold the day I was painting outdoors, I would almost say that this area crowded. I was painting in the area for two weeks and the colors were amazing. The leaves really looked like gold at times. This studio painting is part of a series called Momentos en Madrid.
The Fallen Angel Fountain is located in the Retiro Park in Madrid, Spain. Ricardo Bellver first created the sculpture in plaster in 1877. The figure is mannerist in style and is inspired by verses of Paradise Lost by John Milton. If you have ever read Paradise Lost by John Milton, you can tell that this sculpture depicts the beginning of the epic which starts in the midst of things as epics typically do.
The Plaza Parterre is one of the most visited gardens in the Retiro Park. The entrance is Felipe IV Gate. The skyline in the background includes the Casón del Buen Retiro. The main enjoyment I get from painting in the park is looking at the beautiful scenery in Madrid.