The Arquito holy arch of Posadas village (Cordova)… and gold leaf in painted glass

Today is the 13th and this reminds me of the legend of the mystical arch — el Arquito — that we have here in our local village of Posadas. This Little Arch, dating back to the Gothic 13th century was also known as Puerta del Levante, The Eastern Gate of the castle that once stood on this land. It is located in the Morería neighbourhood of Posadas village, which dates back to 500 AD, and was an area formerly occupied by the Jews and Moors. In 2006 it was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest (BIC), also forming the stage set of many films such as Guerreras Verdes (Green Warriors) starring Carmen Sevilla and Sancho Gracia.

El Arquito — the medieval arch which once formed the Eastern Gate of a former castle

Below this medieval archway lie the remains of an old door of the former medieval castle, the last towers of which fell in 1791. There was also a window with a turntable where, in more recent years, abandoned children destined for the Charity Hospital were placed. They were either adopted or left to suffer a worse fate…

You can see the little window with a grille where there was once a turntable on which abandoned babies would be placed

Above The Arch there is a balcony with a railing behind which is a little shrine presided over by the Virgen de los Remedios(The Virgen of Remedies).

The Virgen de los Remedios shrine

The statue dates back to the 16th century, and the shrine adjoins an old former chapel also of the same antiquity, La Capilla de la Caridad (Charity Chapel). This now houses the beautifully-kept, whitewashed, rustic, wooden-beamed tourist office. (I wonder if I’ve got my adjectives in the right order?…)

The building with the old wooden door was once the Charity Chapel, La Capilla de la Caridad, and is now the tourist office. You can see the green ribbons hanging from the shrine above

Certain mystical qualities are attributed to this Arquito and many fervent prayers are offered to The Virgin Mary by devotees asking for cures and protection from bad luck.

The special day to make such supplications is any Tuesday that coincides with the 13th, on which day the devotee will pass under the archway three times, each time reciting the Hail Mary before making their petition. If their prayer is answered, then they hang a green ribbon from the balcony railings in acknowledgement and gratitude. (Sure enough there are numerous little strips of green material fluttering from the balcony!) Flowers are also deposited before her on her saint’s day, and on each second Sunday of October she is paid a visit.

There still exists the saying in Posadas: ‘Ese es más viejo que el Arquito’, which means ‘Him — he is older than the Arch’.

For a more detailed and very interesting account of the Arquito and its intriguing history based on authentic documents from the early 19th century (as well as more on the history of Posadas village) see the blog of Gabriel Martín entitled The Abandoned Infants of the Foundling Home of Posadas in the 19th Century. (Good practise for your Spanish but I think you can use Google translate. The black and white photos do summarise its sad story.)

There are other mystical legends pertaining to the neighbouring villages of which I have already written about in previous blogs: Hornachuelos (the enchanted convent of Santa Maria de los Ángeles) and Almodovar del Río (the haunted medieval castle). However, suffice to say that these villages (as well as Cordova town) have their share of intrigue and certainly a lot to offer, be it in the way of nature, sport, culture, history and tales. The people a very interesting mix of Latin-Iberian with strong Arabic roots (seen also in their cuisine) are warm, friendly, welcoming, laid-back, though at the same time hard-working.

However, to finish on a similar spiritual note, I just wanted to share with you the effects of gold leaf behind glass painting, such as a religious-themed one I did yonks ago and am thinking of repeating (this technique — that is, if my glass paints haven’t all dried out over the long, hot 45°C summers!).

I stuck the gold leaf with mixtion behind the glass once I had finished the painting (using glass paints applied via a pipette, and lead contour paste). I then sealed the gold leaf with a couple of coats of shellac varnish. The gold leaf has the beautiful effect of illuminating the jewel-coloured paints when the light or sun falls on it and is reminiscent of the golden letters in the Illuminated Manuscripts which were produced in monasteries between 500 AD and 1600 AD, and the highly-decorated Book of Hours — a devotional book ‘crucial to the development of Gothic illumination, produced in the 13th century. Really worth a peruse and serving as an inspiration for colours, gold and intricacy!

Happy painting! Take care xxx

Caterpillars, Cordovan roof tiles and Wordsworth’s daffodils

Hello again! I hope this finds you all well.

As usual, I’ve been busy these days both flicking off caterpillars from my plants and painting (not at the same time though), as you can see in the following photos:

And here they are! Steadily munching their way through my broad bean plantlets!!!
Ouch! My poor iris, suffering a beheading from the merciless jaws of the caterpillar. (What wonderful in-focus photography, ha ha!)
But I did manage to rush to the iris’s rescue before it was all devoured, taking it inside with me to safety! (These are the tall irises, not the dwarf ones irises that I talked about in my previous blog.)
And being inspired by all the springy buds that are opening around me, I couldn’t resist trying to immortalise these by painting them on an old clay roof tile

And while recalling this ‘host of golden daffodils‘, how could I not end with the daffodil poem written by the English Romantic poet, Wordsworth.

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud  by William Wordsworth  (7 April 1770 – 23 April 1850, Cumberland, England) 

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed—and gazed—but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

————————————–

Thank you for visiting — take care! xxx

Happy St Valentine’s!

A copy of John Everett Millais‘ — The Huguenot, which was one of my first oil paintings that I had a bash at. I used oils on wood, though I made the mistake of diluting them too much with turps which had the effect of matting the colours — but not bad for that first attempt a few years ago. The height is about 1.5 m

Happy Valentine’s Day…

… although the above painting , however tender and sweet it may seem, might not really be so… Read on…

The Huguenot was painted by John Everett Millais in 1852. It is also known as A Huguenot, on St. Bartholomew’s Day, Refusing to Shield Himself from Danger by Wearing the Roman Catholic Badge. 

The Huguenots were French Protestants who were persecuted because of their religion. This painting refers to their massacre of 3,000 Protestants in Paris (and 20,000 in the rest of France) on St. Bartholomew’s Day in 1572. In order to protect themselves and escape the danger they had to wear white armbands, one of the Roman Catholic symbols. The rise of Protestantism in France in the sixteenth century resulted in hostility from the Catholics which eventually gave rise to a series of religious conflicts knows as The French Wars of Religion.

I think the painting speaks for itself. Though soft and sweet in its appearance, especially where the girl is devotedly tying the ‘catholic’ armband on her lover to keep him out of harm, if one analyses the painting, it is not so sweet and simple: the main colours are dark, except for the brightness of the white band, which depicts that this is the only light and hope, shining out from the surrounding darkness and uncertainty, and without this there is death. The fallen petals that lie on his shoe and on the ground indicate hopelessness and the deathly fate of their love, while the Canterbury bells signify faith and constancy…

And here is a photo of the artist himself:

John Everett Millais (England 1829-1896) Wiki

John Everett Millais was a child prodigy who, at the age of 11 was the youngest to enter the Royal Academy Schools and later was one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood ( a group of English painters, poets, and art critics, founded in 1848 who painted abundant detail, intense colours and complex compositions of Quattrocento Italian art, basing many of their themes on romanticism, nature, history, legends, stories, fables and religion).

See more of his lovely (subjective!) paintings here

One of his paintings (oil on canvas, painted in 1886) was later used as the original advert for Pears soap:-

Bubbles‘ Millais (Wiki)

Hurrah for Pre-Raphaelite paintings!… but I’m sorry that my Valentine’s Day theme had a bit of morose side to it…

Anyway, here’s to hoping that you have a nice Valentine’s Day, not forgetting that originally Valentine cards were made by children for their MOTHERS!!!

xxx

Art, art and more art in the village of Posadas and Cordova town!

Hi folks! Hope this finds you all in good health and spirits!

ART‘ has been the key word for Cordova (Córdoba) and my neighbouring village of Posadas these last couple of weeks.

Let me explain: the whole ‘art thing’ kicked off two weeks ago with the annual fast-painting competition in Cordova. The objective was to paint a picture of one of the town’s iconic patios in a maximum of eight hours. As you might already know, the patios of Cordova are famous for their balconies replete with hanging geraniums, pot plants, fountains, orange trees, pillars etc. (You can see my earliest blog for photos of typical patios, houses and courtyards.)

There were many talented, long-standing artists — and then there was my daughter too. (She likes a challenge, but I think she was also motivated by the first, second and third prizes of 5000, 3000 and 1000 euros!) At the ripe old age of twenty-two, she had never entered an art competition before, neither used acrylics, nor painted on a big canvas (56 cm x 70 cm, I think). Needless to say, she didn’t win, but I just couldn’t resist putting up the photos of her painting!

Starting out — a nice array of acrylics
Artist at work, painting in one of Cordova’s typical patios decorated in white and bluey indigo
Getting there…
Her friend’s panting propped up against the well in the background…
… and this little fella was wandering around, presumably trying to help!
The final product, after 7 hours of painting and later hung on her wall, alongside her ‘father-in-law’s’ watercolour of the entrance to the Great Mosque/Cathedral

But this was not the only art event. Last week there was an invitation to the artists of the village of Posadas to display their works. This included items of crochet (photos of which I included in my last blog), as well as graffiti art, paintings on buildings and on the underpass below the rail tracks. (Posadas is well-communicated, with the train taking only eighteen minutes to Cordova, or in the other direction, fifty-five minutes to Seville.)

A crochet ‘banner’ hung on the façade of the Ermita de Jesús

Here are some photos of the street paintings — they were taken by one of the locals of Posadas, Paco Martinez Herrera, a great painter, photographer, nature-lover and hiker! I asked his permission first, knowing that his photos are a class above mine (he has some lovely shots on his Facebook). Anyway, here are some of the village paintings:

This was painted on one of the council buildings

The above and below paintings were on one of the buildings in the periurban park of the Sierrezuela in the hills adjacent to Posadas.

The underpass below the rail tracks was also painted using spray paints:

And in more detail…

There were even bird cut-outs flying above the Plaza de la Estación (Station Square), where my good friend Rosa runs a little bar, ‘Las Ciervas’ (The Deer), on the corner. The trees, by the way, are melias, commonly known as Pride of Persia. (But more about the nature, culture, history and my life here in Posadas and Cordova, in my book An English Lady in Cordova — the ‘Alternative’ Guide, if you like…)

And now for my humble effort at photography: the bird below was painted on the water tower of the neighbouring village, Rivero de Posadas, which lies at about 9 km (9.6 mi.) west of Posadas:

So over the last few days we have been treated to these beautiful works of art which will remain, decorating the village. Over the many years that I have been here, I have come to learn and appreciate the talent that you can find among the locals — from those who pursue art, crochet, needlework, lace-making, basket weaving to actors, musicians, singers, astrologers, mycologists, sports people, anthropologists, botanists, authors, etc., etc., etc., — and all found within a populace of approx. 7,350! One doesn’t get bored here! I’m eagerly waiting for my crochet and lace-making classes with the ‘abuelas’ (grandmothers) to restart…

And here’s how to get to Posadas: (taken from the city council’s page):

Posadas is just 35 km (22 mi.) SW of Córdoba and approx. 100 km (62 mi.) NE of Seville

Anyway, by the time I got home, as if to wind up the lovely, colourful day the sky had also decided to display its own work of art…

The view from my country abode when I arrived home
‘Night all!

Well, that’s it for now!

Thank you for reading — comments and questions always welcome — and take good care of yourselves! xxx

And my thanks once again to Paco Martinez Herrera for lending me his artistic photos and to the ‘ayuntamiento’ (council) for hosting the show!

What I’ve been up to these days (in and around my country abode of Posadas in Cordova)

Hi folks! Firstly, I hope this finds you all in good health and spirits — these are difficult and testing times that we are living. We all have to get on as best we can and keep our spirits up, not just for ourselves, but those around us. After all, we are all brothers and sisters, aren’t we?

Anyway, I haven’t written for a while because I have fallen in love…

… fallen in love with these acrylic paint pens that I bought a little time ago and I just can’t be parted from them…

They are waterproof and non-toxic

So I wanted to share with you some of the things that I’ve painted since last I wrote…

Some of the smaller ‘golden’ stones with the flower motifs would be good as mosaic pieces, while the larger ones could serve as paperweights. I have written a description of where I got the stone from on the back, as a memento:–

Though the paint is water-resistant, I will be varnishing them before I then put them up for sale on my online shop and also a tourist shop in the Judería (Old Jewish Quarters) in Cordova town — that is, when the shop reopens again. Fingers crossed! (If you’re interested in any, then do let me know!)

We had a couple of promising cooler days last week where the temperatures only reached 33° C (= 91.4° F) so I painted outside in my D-garden. As you can see, I had some help (?) from my faithful friends, Sebastian and Little Grey.

However, temperatures have since risen to the 38° C mark (104° F), so I paint upstairs in my craft room, surrounded by heaps of inspiration, even if it is a little noisy due to the whirring and whining of the two inverters that have just been screwed to the wall and coupled up with the solar panels we have. (The price of electricity is EXORBITANT in Spain, notably so if you have 3-phase agricultural supply like we have. Our socialist president, Pedro Sanchez, really should do something about it, especially if he wants to win the next elections, which might be sooner than he thinks due to his handling of the Covid situation.)

Anyway, since painting stones has also involved quite a bit of sitting down, I decided that it was high time I went for a brisk walk, heat or no heat. So being a Sunday, I got up quite late, at around 8. (Also I slept late not only because of the evening heat that lingers, but because these days I usually end up doing some time of night-time vigil, watching over my vegetable patch as the wild boars still loom large. I usually hear the familiar grunts, but luckily the vegetables have remained unscathed. Fingers crossed again!)

And the aubergine’s steadily and safely growing, away from the boars’ tusks (even if a little out of focus!)

So I just thought I’d share with you a couple of photos from my dry, dusty walk in the neighbouring hills of the Sierrezuela. (If you’d like to know more about this area or see more photos, then you can check out some of my earlier blogs with Sierrezuela in the title. Sorry, still haven’t worked out how to put ‘Here’ to direct you straight to the link, unlike the many other of you who have managed to work it out…)

Last but not least, here are a couple of photos of last evening’s sunset.

Well, I think that’s all for now. Thank you for reading and as usual I welcome any of your comments or questions.

Bye for now — take care! xxx