Sobre la noche azul – Less than a month left

Noah Heil
November 28, 2017
El grito, watercolor and pen on paper 2017

Even though I can hardly believe it, in four short weeks I will be heading back home to the states. When I think about this, I immediately try to occupy my mind with something to distract myself from this sad truth. Whether it be to think about all finals that I have to work on before I leave, or even if it’s just looking forward to all the things that I still get to experience while I’m here; I get to visit friends in France, and while there also visit the Louvre, I get to have a final exhibit of my watercolors from the semester, I get to visit the Alhambra (yeah I know I’m kinda saving that until the last minute), and I just get to enjoy the fact that I AM IN SPAIN. I’m really thinking about focusing my time on making use of every last chance I have while here to have fun and learn and aprovechar all that is Spain.


Last week the professor of my watercolor class (I call her Reina, because she is one) gave us the sketchbook assignment of “el español típico,” with the idea that we paint or draw three things that really signify Spain according to each one of us. I still have nooooooo idea what I’m going to end up painting, there are sooooooo many possibilities I could choose from. One thing that comes to mind is the blue skies. Nothing is more crisp than the intense azul of the sky I that can see from Granada on a day with bright sun and no clouds. I think I am beginning to use a lot more blue in the color schemes of my paintings because of this, I have it all around me all the time. My original intention of filling up my sketchbook completely this semester looks like it’s probably not going to happen, but I’m sure I will able to do so shortly after arriving back to Macalester. Right now, my sketchbook is filled with all sorts memories; sketches of breakfast, portraits of my friends, gardens I have sat in, some of my favorite buildings in Granada, sights I saw while in Morocco…  the most recent addition is a sketch of a crowd of people standing outside the High Court of Andalucia at an event which took place this past weekend.

The 25 de noviembre was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. There was a huge event in el centro of Granada, with a march down Gran Vía and a gathering afterwards in Plaza Nueva. I woke up later than usual on that Saturday but was still able to make it to the last hour of the event, and found it extremely empowering. For me it was very reminiscent of the Women’s March at the state capitol building in St. Paul on January 21, 2017. Definitely a smaller scale event, but the plaza was more full than I’ve ever seen it with students, children, young couples, older couples, men, women and everything in between. Flashes of purple were everywhere, on people’s clothing and on flags and also on the homemade signs people waved in the air, saying things such as NO ES NO, Libertad no es tener miedo, and ¡Lucha feminista! At one point of the demonstration, a big circle gathered in the center of the huge assembly of bodies, and different people took turns approaching a microphone to say a name into it. Then, they would walk into the circle and place a poster which read the said name, followed by “asesinado por violencia machista,” in a large grid formation on the ground. As you can imagine, it was an emotionally heavy experience with a lot of strong energy in the air; grief and sadness and frustración, but above all it was filled with the sparkling energy of solidarity. Through this event, I was able to see and feel as clear as ever the impact created by the inclusive and aware communities that exist in Granada. Below is one of the lists of chants that were being passed around and were filling the air as I had the fortune of being at this special event.



Later that night, I saw my first play by Federico García Lorca (it was also my first time seeing el teatro of Spain!). This representation of La casa de Bernarda Alba, Lorca’s final work, was every bit as dramatic as when we initially read it in class, but seeing the performance and unique interpretation in front of my very own eyes was another experience. I thought all the actors delivered well, especially one of the orientadores of my program who was of course amaaaazing, and I was also really impressed with the stunning flamenco performances which were in between acts. They added an intriguing dynamic to the already intense story. It was nice to have the chance to see a work by someone as influential as Lorca, who I have grown to really adore during this semester. The pintura that I did above was for my class about the literature and life of Lorca. For my final project, I painted/drew three little interpretations of Lorca’s poems from his collection Poema del cante jondo. I painted subjects that remind me of my time here in Granada, and used symbols and colors that are significant in Lorca’s poetry. También, I was inspired by the style of Spanish artists that I have grown fond of, including Joan Miró (among others). This pintura is based on the poem El grito, and was done with watercolor and pen.

Bueno, I hope you enjoyed reading about the last couple weeks of my life here in Granada. To write this, I took a break from working on my final projects and papers that I’m trying to finish up esta semana (or at least make some progress on, we’ll see how it goes) so that I can enjoy my last few weeks here without extra stress. Por lo menos some of the things I have to do will be enjoyable; paint, and the things that I’m writing about I actually do find interesting. I know that no matter what I will enjoy the little time I have left, even with homework.


The next time I write will be one of my last blog posts before returning home! Ahh! Will fill you in on more travels and experiences then.





*PD: I almost forgot to add this, but last week my program hosted a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner, with a touch of a Spanish flair. It was delicious. I am thankful for all the staff in the IES Abroad Granada program and all that they do for their students, I feel so lucky to be here this semester.


Noah Heil

<p>Hello! I am the type of person who always likes to keep busy and having fun. I am a Minnesota native and go to school about a 45 minute drive from where I grew up. Recently, my summers have been spent traveling around in the United States; for the last two years, I have spent the entire summer in Vermont working as a camp counselor and as an art teacher. I love being surrounded by wilderness and natural beauty, with quick and easy access to more 'urban' life and culture nearby. I love working with and mentoring kids, particularly having the opportunity to get them interested and invested in visual arts. Aside from these recent happenings in my life, I like dancing and singing in the shower, meeting new people, and making things!</p>

2017 Fall
Home University:
Macalester College
Northfield, MN
Explore Blogs