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 eat or 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 color so typical in many parts of Madrid.
Thank you for reading this little story about Madrid de los Austrias.
Firefighters have been on Paseo de la Castellana many times, putting out challengingly dangerous fires in the tall emblematic buildings on this main street in Madrid.
A decisive moment bound by time.
This red fire truck is so impressive.
Here is another truck coming into the scene on a side street.
This view in the background is Puerta de Europe, also known as Torres KIO. This is the Financial District of Madrid.
I like to hold the watercolor up in the sunlight to see the true colors. My hands serve as a size reference.
Thank you for taking the time to read my little story.
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.
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