Back from a 3-week whirlwind trip to Europe! It never ceases to amaze and comfort me how differently time moves when I’m traveling. It slows back down again, becomes full and rich. 3 weeks in my home routine just zips by, cheap and disposable.
May 14, Herb and I left for France for a family trip with my parents, sis and brother-in-law. Not our usual cup of tea, but hard to be too resistant to the notion of a week in the South of France drinking pastis, eating cheese, and taking portable toilet photos.
Also, the old farmhouse we stayed in had an enormous cherry tree in the front yard. I have never in my life plucked delicious, sweet cherries off a tree and popped them right into my mouth. (Still deep in my Prince obsession, I had to appreciate that Under the Cherry Moon was filmed not far from where we were. And we were, quite literally, under a cherry moon each night at our place.)
Following France, everyone went their separate ways, and Herb and I decamped for Barcelona. Having not been there in over 20 years, I loved getting to know the city again. Highlight: La Sagrada Familia. I felt more of an obligation than an interest in seeing it, given that I used to teach about it in Art History as a high school teacher. I knew that there had been significant progress on it since I was left there, but I was wholly unprepared for the unearthly beauty of its interior. The outside was fine and well, but my jaw actually dropped once we were inside.
It didn’t, and still doesn’t, feel real: like something from another planet or dimension. I’ve seen a lot of beautiful churches and temples in my life, and never felt any inclination to declare a favorite…until now. I actually burst into tears when it was time to go, because I didn’t want to leave its beauty. Not being religious, this is as close to a religious experience as I’ve ever had in church.
And then it was the Netherlands! We stayed in The Hague for 4 nights while I gave a talk and did a visit at the Royal Academy of Art there, courtesy of new friend and art/media/design program director Shanti Ganesh.
Had a decent couple of days in Amsterdam: every time we passed the Haarlem train station en route, Herb would start whistling “Sweet Georgia Brown,” the Harlem Globetrotters signature song, since we’ve had basketball on the brain. We also had a great afternoon exploring Rotterdam’s fascinating, futuristic architecture, and then it was off to Prague. Having not been back to Prague since I moved away in 2011, I had some trepidation about returning to a place that had often been painful for me. It was a brief but glorious visit, though, and restored much of the affection I had for this beautiful city.
In the midst of the kind of travel I usually like to disappear into, I found myself still tethered to Bay Area obligations, thanks to an escalating situation in the NBA playoffs. That lark-y illustration project I began in April with some drawings I posted on Facebook after GSW’s 73rd win had evolved into a challenge to post a new illustration after every playoff/finals win.
Problem is, those games came on in Europe at 3 am, and didn’t end until almost 6 am. So for 3 weeks, I was waking up at extremely odd hours to check scores and post new illustrations.
At this point, certain images have gone totally viral, like the Riley Curry one. I’ve definitely been freaked out by this, but it’s certainly been an interesting window into fan mania and meme culture, and has probably done more to get my art (even though attribution has totally slipped) in front of a far more diverse crowd than it usually gets in the fine art/gallery world.
Still, I never thought I’d been that weird fan, making drawings and keeping odd hours for her team.
The things you learn in Europe.