Sketching Trip in The Sierra Nevada – 02 –

25th of July 2010


“In Trevelez you will touch the sky”

….is written at the entrance of the town.What they forgot to say is that you have to be quite fit if you want to touch the sky here! The town is divided into 3 parts: the low, the middle and the high. Logically, the sky is the closest to the high part, but even there stretching your fingers won’t be enough to touch it, you still have to climb higher. Quite close though!

This of course makes the village very interesting to sketch. Interesting but difficult, a real challenge. Steep narrow streets running up and down, houses all over the place invading all space dimensions, outlines crossing each other wherever you look… well, I am quite used to crazy buildings and weird villages, but I must admit having had a tough time sketching in the town. I didn’t get anything right, all perspective and dimensions were wrong, Not that I am a fan of sticking to dimensions and perspective, quite the contrary in fact. But everything I tried went wrong! Not wrong in that charming style which looks like as if you did it on purpose. Simply wrong,  and totally unprofessional.

My God, I felt so ashamed!

Many people were around, it was a Sunday,  tourists from all continents trying to touch the sky, and of course I was quite an attraction sitting on the road and sketching! Thankfully most of them didn’t bother to look at my pad, probably too exhausted from climbing. Anyway, as an old hand at the art of sketching in public, I had taken the precaution of sitting against the wall, with no possibility for anybody to come from behind and look over my shoulder. People think  they are very clever, they think I don’t get at all what is going on around me when I sit there,  so concentrated and focussed on my motif. They always try to fool me. Yes, I am very concentrated, but I also always  feel like a tracked wild animal, all senses open, aware of every tiny movement and smell around me. I notice everything… Also, you can’t imagine how often these “papparazzi” are taking photographs of me while I am sketching, believing I don’t notice it. They think they are incredibly clever, strategically placing one of their number not far from me, feigning a holiday photo. I know the trick, I use it often enough myself when I want to photograph somebody without getting their permission first.

Whatever… I bravely kept on sketching, fighting against all these adversarial elements, but eventually I gave up, in the meantime being in a much too horrible mood to go on. The feeling of failure was extremely deep. It is rare by me, not that I rarely fail, but I had to learn wisdom through all these years of sketching outside and painting. I don’t expect much, just trying to enjoy the process, not thinking of the result. I have become quite good at it. But here in Trevelez, it really took me by surprise, never felt so crap like that before in my entire life as an artist.

Is that what they mean by “touching the sky”?

Because I sincerely think I touched HELL!

But still, I would recommend this place to everybody, Painters or no. Trevelez is a very special town, unusual, with splendid views and an original layout. And for those who love the Spanish ham, the famous “jamon serrano” – well, it will be heaven for them here. I guess this is what they mean by “touching the sky”: Thousands of hams are hanging all over the town, and the smell too!

What is weird though is that you don’t get to see one pig. Many horses yes, lovely peaceful horses grazing in the fields at the foot of the mountains. But not one pig…. They are probably all dead and hanging in the shops…

PS: as I went back to the motorhome that day, unable to settle for defeat, I started at once working on the sketches trying to save them. I used pastels, it made it easier to cover all the problem lines and angles…  🙂

In the end, surprisingly, I am quite happy with the result!

These paintings are available directly online as Giclee prints in many different dimensions, on paper or canvas, and also as greeting cards. Just click on the widgets below to access my FAA store

Art Prints

Art Prints

Art Prints


And more generally you can see all the stuff I paint by going to my gallery “Miki’s Enchanted World”


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