What happens when an Irish painter misses his flight

 

Gerard and his wife Agata spend ten beautiful days on the sunny coast of Spain. When the voyage comes to an end (because, sadly, it does even in Gerard’s world), it happens that they “miss” their return flight to London. It isn’t the typical kind of miss to be fair. Somehow the airline 'forgets' to inform its passengers that when a flight is some minutes past midnight it technically means that the flight is scheduled to leave a day before.
 
What happens as a result? Well, two things.
The aircraft takes off without Agata and Gerry. At that time of its departure, completely oblivious to what they are about to find out in a few hours, they happen to be sipping vino tinto on the terrace with the most spectacular sea views.
 
That gives them one whole day more in Spain.
And to Gerry, twenty four whole hours means that literally anything can happen. In 24 hours he gets to see some exceptional street scenes and ends up sketching the Cathedral Tower in Malaga.

Gerard Byrne sketching plein air streets of Malaga, photo credit Hans-Juergen Sommer

Gerard Byrne sketching plein air streets of Malaga, photo credit Hans-Juergen Sommer

It is another opportunity for unarranged occurrences and out of hat plain air sketches. Throughout sketching Hans-Juergen Sommer, a fellow artist, stumbles upon Gerry and takes a photograph of his newly discovered sketching style - not on a canvas, but on vertically positioned block of paper used for watercolour paints.

HJ Sommer Photography

 

Whilst in Spain, Gerry had also visited Cordoba. He charcoal sketched the Mosque Cathedral of Cordoba on the famous Patio de Naranjos (Orange Tree Courtyard).
It is the type of architecture which could be considered illegal to paint. Not once Gerry had begun to paint similarly impressive architecture. Casino in Monte Carlo, or Trinity College Dublin, or South Street Seaport in New York, or Dublin Castle. Only to be interrupted halfway (or sometimes even less) and informed of the “crime” he was committing.
It appears that this is not the case in Spain. Two (heavily armed) security guards with the “tranquilos” expression on their faces only asked Gerry not to splash too much paint on cobbles. But otherwise they stood there and admired (just like any modern impressionist artist should be admired).
 
It was an extraordinary experience for Gerry to be painting under his favourite shade of blue sky amongst lemon and mandarin trees and surrounded by so many Asian tourists, who probably found the Irish artist painting live outdoor a far better attraction than the Cathedral Mosque itself.

Architectural charcoal sketches from Spain