Some days unfold in a way you could never predict. So it was one sleepy Sunday morning as I strolled through the cobbled streets of Sitges, near Barcelona.
I had ventured out to capture the stillness of the streets before the throngs descended for the spectacular Festa Major later in the day. The narrow Calle de la Carreta alleyway caught my eye as it wound its way up the hill towards the church, a profusion of flowers in hanging boxes adding splashes of colour to the old stone buildings. I met Sitges artist, Manuel Blesa, as he opened the doors of his gallery, and stepped inside to view the fine art paintings of antique ceramics that adorned the gallery walls.
His artist studio at the top of the building is a light, open space with piles of artifacts and fine pottery, as well as wooden shelves bearing the antique ceramics he paints.
The easel with partly completed painting presided over the studio (below left). Portrait of Manual Blesa (below right).
The tablet of vibrant oil colours next to the easel (below).
I noticed a number of guitars around the studio and discovered that decades ago Manuel Blesa played flamenco guitar for a living. I asked if he still played but he seemed doubtful. With a little encouragement, however, he left to find his favourite instrument, and, to my delight, began to play. I love live music and relish the little I know of the melody, sadness and duende, or soul, of flamenco music. The experience of listening to an ex-professional flamenco guitarist providing an impromptu performance in this fine setting was magical.
He seemed to enjoy the experience and almost an hour flew by before I realized it was time to meet friends. What a fine prelude to lunch.
February 8, 2011 – 6:15 pm Claussniazi@yahoo.com – Ohhh, sounds like a very special morning! Beautiful pictures!
February 9, 2011 – 10:37 am Christian Lukey – Hi Jackie Absolutely great, as always, very well done…
February 9, 2011 – 4:32 pm Helen Bunch – Jackie Great photos, I can see the little street in Sitges now, great to be on the inside of the apartments and such character and colour. Gorgeous as always. Helen x
February 10, 2011 – 8:10 am Pooja Kishnani – These are beautiful Jackie, you’re definitely an inspiration
February 10, 2011 – 10:19 am jackierado – Many thanks for the comments, such a beautiful place and only enhanced with a fine splash of flamenco guitar!
February 10, 2011 – 6:26 pm Leila – Hi Jacqui,I really enjoyed this article plus I love the way you captured the light in the photos. All the best
February 12, 2011 – 2:55 pm Mike English – Nice pictures and comments. I really look forward to you having a book of your travels and pictures printed. especiaslly if they also have your narative on your feelings showing the mood of the time to go with them.
February 17, 2011 – 10:50 am Polly – Fabulous photos as always ……… & what a treat to stumble across such an individual, I need to come travelling with you! Superb, as always. I love the colours & the paintings look amazing to be stacked in his studio!
February 23, 2011 – 4:40 pm jackierado – Leila, thanks for your lovely comments. Mike, a wonderful thought, will keep you posted if it ever comes to pass! Polly, you bet – can’t imagine anything better than your delightful company!
March 30, 2011 – 9:33 pm Medyum – Fabulous photos as always ……… & what a treat to stumble across such an individual, I need to come travelling with you! Superb, as always. I love the colours & the paintings look amazing to be stacked in his studio!
December 28, 2014 – 12:23 pm Dan Tindall – We has a similar experience back in 1997 (I think) and still have the wonderful little painting we couldn’t help but buy from this talented artist. A truly warm, very interesting and talented man! We love this little piece of art and consider it the best memory of our trip to Spain!