The purpose of this workshop is to absorb our surroundings by painting from observation every day. We will be tourists, but not passive ones. The emphasis is on improving your skills in perspective drawing and capturing atmosphere through light and shadow and on gathering ideas and notes for works created in the studio.
I'm excited that all of you will have a chance to see a bit of Madrid. It is a beautiful and exciting city, full of art, parks, and great food. I will be at the airport to meet those of you that will arrive by 10 am on Wednesday, June 5th. Airport map is here.
If you would like to hire a travel agent to book your room and your travel to Valencia, Ellen Flynn at Connoisseur Travel has been highly recommended to me.
Transit from airport to downtown Madrid:
The metro is inexpensive and efficient. (Just beware of pick-pockets! I had a passport stolen there once. I should have been wearing it in a pouch under my shirt). The metro station to downtown Madrid is located in Terminals 2 and 4. You can download and print a metro map here, though it doesn't have the street names on it. And you can download and print a tourist map here. If you are coming in on Wednesday morning, I will be able to help you purchase your metro card and navigate the route to your hotel. Here is a guide on using the metro. You may consider buying a pass for 1, 2, or 3 days that will give you unlimited access to buses and trains. However, there is so much to see on the streets that you may want to walk. The Prado needs no introduction, but don't miss Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. There are too many museums to list, but the Sorolla Museum should be on your short list, too.
A cab from the airport to downtown should be 30 euro, but you should make sure the driver turns his meter on when you enter the cab so that you're not taken advantage of. You can book a ride in advance with "Welcome Pickups."
Be sure to contact your bank to let them know you will be traveling so that you can use your debit and credit cards in Spain!! You can use your card almost everywhere, as you can here, so you don't need to exchange money, but you must let your bank know you'll be abroad first. You can read up on use of debit cards abroad here. The short version: Merchants will ask if you want to pay in Euro or US dollars when using a debit card. Choose Euro so that no additional exchange rates can be applied by the merchant.
European electrical outlets are different than ours, so be sure to bring a converter with you. It would be a pity not to have use of your camera and map on your phone. You'll want something like this (make sure your phone model is compatible.) You could try it out at Best Buy or possibly Target or buy it online.
You'll need this when we're painting on location
Train from Madrid to Valencia
Those that wish to travel as a group will meet at the Puerta de Atocha station in Madrid on Saturday, June 8th and take the 11:10 am train to Valencia (Jaoquin de Sorolla station), arriving at 1:35 pm. I will be at the station. Atocha station is very large, the ticket lines can be long, and the ticket vending machines have been closed down due to credit card skimmers, so I highly recommend buying your ticket in advance. Take advantage of the senior discount if you qualify. We will meet by our track- (number to be determined) at 11:15.
Renfe is the company, make sure to choose the AVE (Alta Velocidad Española) train. Tickets on the AVE (highspeed) rail are between 45-55 euro and are not available this far in advance. The trip takes over 6 hours on the regular train.
I have assembled a "wish list" on Dick Blick, so that you can easily order everything you need. You may have some of these things already, so no need to buy all of it. The list will help you determine if you have what you need.
Here's what you'll need:
watercolor paper (either 8x10 or 9x12, about 15-20 sheets)
watercolor brushes: at least have these three (synthetic or natural- your wallet, your choice)
- a small, round for thin lines
- a 1/4 inch flat
- a one inch flat
watercolor travel kit: (should include the four earthtones, as well as the primaries and secondaries)
watercolor pencils: these are more versatile than colored pencils. Bring a few to experiment with or buy a set of 12.
natural sponge: a really great tool for painting on location with watercolors
pencils: HB, 2B, 4B or higher,
ONE or more micron pens, your choice of size/color. I like sepia and black.
I have put a hot press watercolor pad on the list because I prefer a smooth surface, but you may prefer cold press. AVOID Leows-Cornell brushes. Simmons brushes have gone way down in quality, too. The bristles are decent for a while, but the enamel falls off the handle very quickly. They must have changed their formula or producer.
Email if you have any questions!
And here is my favorite website for travelers- Atlas Obscura! They'll help you find offbeat attractions almost anywhere in the world.