Berlin yesterday, Amsterdam next.
Among some interesting stuff we saw here in Berlin yesterday were some early Warhols and a fantastic monumental abstract stainless steel sculpture called Rolling Horse which resides on the northern side of the Berlin main train station. The sculpture is about 32 feet tall and weighs about 35 metric tons. We also saw the Dome of St. Stephan’s church from the inside and on the outside there were great views of Berlin.
Amsterdam will be our next stop from today through Wedsnesday. Thursday we’ll be heading back to California and our trip will be at an end.
Today we went swimming and tanning at the beach after some shopping, eating, and getting tickets for two Gaudi houses. During the day we went to Casa Batllo and in the evening we went to the Casa Mila here in Barcelona. This picture I took in the attic shows Katinka Van Dyk examining an extensive set of models of the building based on Gaudi‘s drawings. One model using chains and a mirror demonstrates catenary arches, which are the shapes of the attic vaults. The highlight of the visit was the tour of the rooftop and the projected imagery.
On our last day in Barcelona we visited an antiques market and the cathedral. We drank too much really good Sangria at the beach then swam in the sea and worked on our tans. We finished the day with a French Catalonian dinner of lobster paella, duck confit, pork in orange sauce, a fine red wine and deserts. It was a great finish to both our visit to Barcelona and Spain.
Goodbye Barcelona, we will miss you and we want to come back.
The most recent stop on our European Tour has taken us to Barcelona, Spain where our apartment looked out on one of the most fascinating structures of the past 200 years, the Sagrada Familia church. It was begun in 1882, largely destroyed during the Spanish Civil War, and is scheduled to be completed in 2025, 100 years after the death of its designer Antonio Gaudi, my favorite modernist architect.
On the left is an image of myself pointing at a relief of a turkey on the wall of the Sagrada Familia. To the right I am inspecting the stained glass windows inside the Sagrada. This is one of the most original architectural spaces I have ever been in. I came to Spain in 1986 and missed so much I returned to catch up. It was worth it.
Last Tuesday we embarked on a European Tour with plans to visit Paris, Bilbao, Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona, Vienna, Berlin and finally Amsterdam.
Paris is famous for the Louvre Museum, the Eifel Tower, its food and so much more. Bilbao is famous for the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum. This trip is all about art and food!
Two nights ago we ate at Le Train Blue at the Gare de Lyon, Paris. It was an amazing meal. Veal, lamb and cod with a nice Bordeaux wine and chocolate desert. After the manager gave us a tour of the kitchen and we were introduced to the chef. A fantastic event that ended after midnight.
Today we are heading to Bilbao, Spain to see the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum. After Bilbao we are off to enjoy some paella, Spain’s national dish.
The painting on the easel is the 60 X 48 inch oil on canvas begun April 30 titled Prometheus Inspired. It is based on a photograph from the internet of Polish bikini fitness model Małgorzata Mączyńska with a male model. The composition is so well constructed that I chose to interpret it with minor changes and create a totally new arrangement of the background and its relationship to the figures. Changes are the cropping to the top of the female figure, opening of the figure’s mouths and the position of his left hand away from his knee. Along with the geometrical shapes in the background are details of water, wings and a fire. Prometheus was said by the Greeks to have given man fire, provoking the ire of the Olympian gods leading Zeus to have him chained to a mountain where a vulture came each night to eat his liver, which grew back each day. At the right of the painting is the still unfinished Athena’s Dilemma.
Richard D. Serros
Come visit my studio during the
Open Studio Tour
Saturday, April 25, 2015
Sunday, April 26, 2015
11:00 AM to 5:00 PM
2004 Hickory Ct. Modesto CA, 95356
(near Prescott Rd. and Bangs Ave)
Oil painting, acrylic paintings, drawings.
Art, music, hors-d’oeurves
and a good time.
Stirred Not Shaken – The Fire Down Below, is a 30 X 40 inch oil on canvas painting I completed March 21, 2015. I spent about 35 hours total on it, making it one of the quickest I have produced in many years. It is based on the stylistic ideas I developed ten years ago in the 2005 painting titled Fireworks, which was a further development on the style of the large 1999 painting titled Satyr’s Dance. The model for the figure is a young dancer friend of mine that modeled for me in my studio last autumn. A male companion composition of the same size is in production. The twelve color limited palette used on this piece is based on that of William-Adolf Bouguereau. I chose this palette to see just how abstract and psychedelic a work could come from such a limited but perfectly balanced set of colors. It is amazing to me to see how far from his particular style one could go using the same set of paints, but using Liquin (alkyd based) as the medium, laying in numerous layers and thinking about other, more relativistic aspects, of reality.
I spent the days of March 12th and 13th working until midnight with Francisco Franco (far left) and Suaro Cervantes on the newest mural to go up in Modesto. This 37 X 12 foot acrylic mural, titled Corazon del Valle (Heart of the Valley) was designed by Franco and focuses on the agriculture of the valley around Modesto with the Modesto Arch displayed above a setting sun. It is located on the west side of Dews restaurant at the corner of 15th and J streets. We had a great time painting and talking with the people going by and the manager of Dews brought us out a couple of bottles of champagne to celebrate its completion. Many people stopped by to take pictures and I let one woman put a stroke of paint on the wall. Katinka van Dyk and Amy also assisted on Friday evening and were greatly appreciated. Amy became one with the bricks to the left of the composition, while Katinka worked on the running children and the background mountains at the left and right of the valley at center. I worked mainly on the valley and the children. These photos were taken by my wife Wanda, who came by on Friday the 13th at 4:30 pm.
I just wanted those of you that have not met me personally to know what I look like.
The photograph above was taken by a member of the MJC Visual Arts Club in January 2014 while I was curating an exhibition at the MJC Art Gallery.
The photograph below was taken by Kathleen Linderman in November 2014, following a presentation to the MJC Visual Arts Club on the necessity of establishing an art museum/gallery here in Modesto. I am now half finished with my sabbatical year and am in a much more relaxed condition. I also just turned 60 on Jan 5th and am now a few years from retirement. Modesto Needs a Museum. Remember that Modesto is a city of near 300,000 people and it has no publicly supported art museum, while other such Central Valley cities as Bakersfield, Fresno, Merced, Stockton, Sacramento and Chico do have well established museums or art galleries with which to encourage and enlighten their communities. Establishing a properly designed and permanently committed to art gallery would help get our city off of the lowest scored locals on the ‘best cities to live in’ assessments annually published.
I will be exhibiting two of my older, larger works (Traversing the Orb and The Depths II) at the Mistlin Gallery in downtown Modesto January 6 to January 30, 2015. This show is open to all new members as of the last three years. Also exhibiting interesting works in this show are my friends Carson Grubaugh, Leo Bratenas, Katinka van Dyk, Jaime Sandoval and Alex Walker. I hope to see you at the Third Thursday, January 15th, 5 to 9 pm.
I have opened a Pinterest site with some highly magnified details of a number of my paintings. I hope you will take a look at these. Some of them are detailed enough to see the paint application and canvas weave clearly.