In 2004 Nicole and I ventured southwest of Barcelona to the small village of Santa Coloma de Cervello to visit the Eglesia de la Colonia Guell, the village church designed by Gaudi and built in the early 1900’s. From 1898 until construction began in 1908 Gaudi worked on developing a system using hanging strings and bags filled with pellets to determine the arch supports needed for his organic, irregular design of the interior columns. The success of his method in Santa Coloma de Cervello led to the design and construction of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

On the outskirts of town, the ruin of a castle, the Torre Salvana of Santa Coloma de Cervello captured our curiosity. It sat high on a hill above sun-parched fields. The root of a gigantic tree carved a lace-like pattern out of the bleached blue sky. The castle spoke of an earlier time when the air was not filled with a muffled silence. There was something about the castle that drew us nearer to it and caused us to linger for well over an hour. To get to the castle we had crossed over the parched fields from the road that led away from Gaudi’s Eglasia de la Coloma Guell toward the train station. We left the ruins by way of an ordinary path that led to a road that led to a formal entrance upon which hung a sign that indicated that we had trespassed. Oh well. The castle inspired a sense of starkness. Rather than paint an image of the Salvana Tower, the main feature by which the castle is know, I have chosen to focus on the abstracted features highlighted by that early afternoon sun.

While researching the castle I stumbled upon a few blogs written by individuals who have visited Barcelona and the outlying areas. Once again I am reminded of how important it is to take more careful notes when traveling abroad, especially when experiences evolve into paintings. I totally misunderstood the information I gathered at the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia. I did not realize until my recent research into the history of the Torre Salvana that the interior of the Sagrada Familia and the Passion Facade on the east side were not actually designed by Gaudi. The amazing tree-like columns of the interior are a cross-mix of more modern design and the original intent taken from Gaudi’s notes. One of the pieces in my upcoming show Unveiled-The Anatomy of a Painting is inspired by those enormous tree-like columns. Another painting (shown here), inspired by the Passion Facade on the west side of the Sagrada Familia should be attributed to Subirach, not Gaudi.

First Image – Charcoal drawing on canvas – Torre Salvana in Santa Coloma De Cervello, Spain
Second Image – Underpainting – Raw Umber and White
Third Image – Oil Painting of a portion of The Passion Facade of the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

Link to page on website featuring progress of architectural paintings