Finding inspiration…

I’ve shared many photos of our trip to Spain, but I haven’t said much about how what I saw is working its way into my head design-wise. I was definitely inspired by the color, freedom, and spontaneity evident in Antonin Gaudi’s work. The color and playfulness, combined with a deep understanding of form and function, will stay with me.

But there is more to Spain than the work of Antonin Gaudí. I paid particular attention to the colors of the buildings in all of the cities and villages that we visited.

 

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The colors are generally warm, and tend to be light to medium in value. The overall palette is loaded with beige-neutrals, warm grays, pale yellow to gold, peach, salmon, and pale greens…

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If you are like me, you have stopped noticing what you see every day in your own home town. It’s so much fun to look around and see something new everywhere you look!

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Even the back side of a block of basic apartment buildings is interesting to look at.

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White walls and buildings were less common, but they sparkle when you find them.

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Strong, dark colors were rarer and stood out from the crowd. There are probably lots of deeply colored buildings, I just didn’t find them.

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Gaudí’s mosaics are the most famous, but they are not the only mosaics to be found. These columns can be found in the Palau de la Música Catalana designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner.

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I saw more white walls in the coastal villages. And a lot more blue… blue doors, blue trim, blue water.

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As I think about and remember the places we visited on this trip, I see these colors in my head. I’ve begun drawing my next quilt and I know that at least some of this warm and lovely color palette will be in it.

Park Güell

Antonin Gaudí also designed Park Güell, Palau Güell, and Casa Mila in Barcelona. Park Güell was high on my list of places to visit.

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There are so many whimsical shapes covered with mosaics!!!

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I didn’t love the lion’s head (below), but it’s the only thing I didn’t love.

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There are two levels to the park. The part with the undulating bench is on top, in the sun.

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The bench marks the perimeter of the space. I especially liked seeing the transitions between different tile colors and styles on the bench. And I liked that the drainage holes were well designed and obviously work.

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The plain circles that crop up like dots are really fun!

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You can see the more formal garden in the background in the photos above and below.

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The views of Barcelona were lovely.

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A colonnade holds up the ‘top’ of the park. It is massive, and the columns angle to provide maximum support.

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Stone and tile… everywhere you look! And beautiful ironwork…

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The non-formal part of the park is more organic. Rock work, no tile.

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The whole park feels happy and very alive!

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It was hot summer so the flowers were not as plentiful as they would be in the spring but those that were there, were lovely.

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We arrived at the park early and missed a lot of the crowds and heat. If you go, do that :-).

 

More from the Sagrada Familia

You take an elevator most of the way up and then there are narrow passage ways and stone stairs with the occasional place to stop and look out. Barcelona is beautiful from above!

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This is also where you get to see the mosaics and other building details up close.

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You walk a stone spiral staircase back to ground level.

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You can’t see them, but there were a lot of people up there with us. There was not a lot of time to linger. That made taking this photo more interesting/challenging. Do it too fast and vertigo sets in.

Steve and I hope to go back to visit the Sagrada Familia when it is finished.

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Inside the Sagrada Familia

You have to buy tickets to go inside the Sagrada Familia. Entries are timed to control the crowd. I am Catholic so I did wonder if, or how often, mass is said. Pretty often as it turns out.

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The space is massive and filled with colored light. You find yourself looking up, a lot.

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This space is about light and color. The shapes feel organic and alive, and amazingly modern.

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We also went up into one of the spires. That’s for tomorrow.

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Ever since I learned about the Sagrada Familia in a history of architecture class in college, I have wanted to see it with my own eyes. It really is a spectacular place.

Click here to go to the official site: http://www.sagradafamilia.org/en/. There is more information there than I can possibly include in a post. And here is a link to the apartment where we stayed. This is the view from our window:

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This is not a subtle building. There is something going on everywhere you look. However, the more you look, the more you can feel the rhythm of the place.

This is the newer side of the church that depicts the Passion of Christ. The long columns simulate Christ’s tendons, the shorter white columns above that simulate ribs. The cross and figures at the top of the ‘ribs’ were installed just before we arrived. Workmen were taking down the scaffolding as we left Barcelona.

The statues on this side are more severe and I found them to be very moving.

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The opposite side of the basilica is happier, and more worn. There are depictions of the nativity and of Christ’s early life. The style of the statues is different, less angular.

 

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Catherine, this one is for you :-):

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This is the back of the basilica.

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If I remember correctly there are 5 more spires to be added to the top, plus the ones that will be built on the front. The front side (on the right in the photo below) is the least finished side:

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The scale model shows more spires and a bank of stairs that might go into the street, and maybe into the apartment building across the street. I’m not sure how that’s going to work and, thankfully, it isn’t my problem.

There is a planned finish date, perhaps by 2026. Until then, the work will continue. (Look for the workmen, on the tallest spire.)

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Enjoying every day!

We spent our last morning/early afternoon of vacation at Empurius beach, followed a visit to the nearby ruins.

The ruins are Greek below and Roman above. Steve and Jeff listened to the audio guide… and then I asked them questions :-).

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It was another wonderful day!

We’re back at Mas Blanc now, packing and getting ready for a very early morning. We fly back to JFK at 10:00am. It will take Steve and I about 18 hours to get home, and it’s daylight all the way!

Swimming with the fishes…

Well, I swam with little tiny fishes :-). But first, we walked a bit along the coastal paths near Sa Tuna.

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The Mediterranean Ocean is amazingly clear and blue. Actually, it is many shades of blue depending on the sunlight, the depth of the water, etc. The color changed all day long.

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There are a lot of ups and downs on this walk but it’s not all uphill. You do get to go downhill as well.

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And there is so much to look at that will make you smile!

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There were a lot of topless ladies of all ages and sizes on the beach. So many that really, who cares. There were lots of men in speedos… not a look I love but, again, who cares. These folks appear to embrace the bodies they have. I like that.

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The beach at Sa Tuna is wider than you see here, but that little tiny bit of sand (really, it was smooth gravel) next to the rock in the lower right is where Steve and I sat in the shade. The kids sat more in the sun.

We got there early, while parking was easy and the beach was empty. By the time we left at 1:30, the beach was full!

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We have one more full day of vacation and we are going to another beach. I have so many photos to show you once I get back home. The vacation will live on :-).