Today we took a day trip to Ronda, which is a larger village in Málaga Province. It is another white village, but has a population of about 40,000 people, which is huge compared to Júzcar with its current full-time residents of 140.
This morning we painted the bridge called El Puente Nuevo (the New Bridge) from a vantage point below the bridge. I love the bridge from this viewpoint. It is great to be up on the bridge looking down at the valley below, but for painting, there is nothing better than being in the field below. The huge rocky cliff face extends from both sides of the bridge, and I've painted compositions looking away from the bridge as well.
Drawing the bridge correctly and carefully is not easy when your time is limited. We had a little less than two hours at this location this morning, and the light was changing rapidly as the clouds moved across. I sketched the subject quickly, and then painted the sky and clouds as fast as I could before the formation changed. As I worked on the cliff formations and the bridge, I watched for the chance to catch the light as it hit specific areas, and incorporated it into the painting as I could. Eventually I had to just go with what I had in the way of light and shadow patterns, though, and not make any more changes. After just at an hour I finished my field study.
The class scattered across the field, and while most of them painted the bridge, some chose to paint the rock formations or the olive fields below. All too soon, the bus returned to pick us up, and we went up the narrow winding road to the village of Ronda. We found a wonderful tapas bar for lunch, and then explored the town, some people shopping and some hiking or finding subjects to photograph. After a while some of us stopped for a cup of coffee. It was a great day and it was enlightening and educational to see all the paintings after we returned to the hotel and set them out for our daily review.
It's challenging when you go to a new place and try to paint a totally unfamiliar subject and landscape. It forces you to really observe, to paint what you see since you don't necessarily know what everything is. It pushes us out of your comfort zone of familiarity into something new, and hopefully that will energize our paintings long after we leave Spain and return home to paint familiar landscapes once more.
Left, El Puente Nuevo, 9x7, Pastelmat, ©Maggie Price.