Welcome to The Cuckoo Jar, a blog by Nanna Koekoek - illustrator, music- and flea market junkie.
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15 July 2012

Best about Bilbao

Sorry for the lack of posts! I escaped the grey skies and went on holiday to Northern Spain to visit friends in Santander. I was very happy to see my friends again and to catch a bit of warmth and sunshine (though Northern Spain isn't as hot as you might think, the weather is pretty temperamental and they do get quite a bit of rain. Which means it's very green; the landscape is just stunning!)

We started off our trip in Bilbao. Best things: €1.20 for a glass of good wine and the pinxtos, sort of like the Basque version of tapas. They are served on the top of the bar and you just have your pick. Most of them include ham, seafood and/or tortilla. Mmmm!!

Equally as good are the museums in Bilbao. Of course The Guggenheim is the most famous, but we also enjoyed the Fine Arts Museum, where we visited an exhibition of etchings by Goya (entrance is free on Wednesdays!).

Frank Gehry's Guggenheim is worth a visit no matter what's on. But as it happened David Hockney's exhibition A Bigger Picture was on show! I had missed this exhibition at the Royal Academy in London, so I was thrilled that I was offered a second chance. 

The exhibition focuses on Hockney's fascination with the landscape. It shows his latest iPad paintings, as well as older works that has lead up to these works. Over the last 10 years Hockney, who has lived in California since the 1960s, has spent a lot of time capturing the scenery of his native Yorkshire. I was especially impressed by the watercolors he did there. He has a great technique and the colors are so vibrant for watercolor. It was also amazing to see that he used a gadget like the iPad for a theme that is so traditional as the landscape, and that he managed to paint on the iPad in the same way as he would on canvas; they are undoubtedly Hockneys.

A few of his (large format) watercolor sketchbooks were on display as well. I personally find it difficult to draw or paint the 'bigger picture' (landscapes, rooms, environments in general) and I found his sketchbooks so inspirational that I bought A Yorkshire Sketchbook. The sketches are quite simple, but very effective and convincing.

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