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The Art of Derek Dohren

painting, writing, photography




Posted on October 21, 2009 at 5:15 PM


May I offer my most humblest of apologies? (rhetorical quesion).


Our internet line's been off like since about like two lifetimes ago. It sucks. I've had to keep going on a diet of American high school English and some pigeon Spanish - "quatro cerveza por favor, and heavy on the tapas, that's a stout fellow".


There's so much I could tell you. Suffice to say I'm alive. I've now taught 3 times, once to a beginner's group, once to elementary students and once to 'upper intermediate'. I had my class paint an abstract painting tonight. It was so cool. I split them into two teams - Team Pablo Picasso and Team Salvador Dali and they had to complete the rather astonishing abstract I'd already started for them. Dali's team had the best ideas. The last hombre to step up to the canvas took a blue bic biro and scribbled all over it. Sheer class. The Spanish are so cool.


I get reviewed tomorrow morning for that class. I'm not holding my breath but what the ****. They learnt some English and maybe a bit of art rubbed off on them too. Why the hell else am I here?


The Big Brother experiment that is 6 Americans, 7 Brits and a mad Hungarian is holding up. No one has been knifed in the back or front - yet. I may even love all these people. 


Anyway meteorological update: The memory of balmy days last week are as nothing but a thread of silk in an icy blast. It's now winter. We had a violent thunderstorm last night and when we woke this morning the brooding Sierra Nevada range that hangs over Granada was cloked in snow. It's chuffing freezin. I've only got summer gear with me and I'll need to kit myself out.


Hasta manana, or as we say here, until tomorrow.


Tommy Cooper's face in a pie crust

Posted on October 15, 2009 at 4:58 PM





Time : 22:59


Date, weather, blah blah - Whatever.


Well, just back from the pub and some much needed rehab after yet another underwhelming chapter in the pamphlet of horror that documents my life.


They say you should never take your first ever English as a foreign language class if the said class is plagued by a continuing stream of late arrivals, the classroom suffers a series of unexplained power cuts and you allow a blind Frenchman to wander in with his friend ten minutes into the lesson from whence you proceed to let him obliterate your carefully prepared whiteboard presentation.


But I just don't listen do I.


So it's my own fault.


Oops, not that I should ever use the word 'so' again. Not when I'm teaching anyway. I might get asked what it means and not be able to answer and suddenly wish the power cut thing would happen again or the blind Frenchman would poke someone's eye out with one of his sticks.


I have to face a panel of my peers tomorrow. That'll be fun. The one's who p1ssed themselves laughing during the 'show' are sure to give me good marks. I hope to be able to do the same for them on Monday.


Anyway you get off to bed. I'll be up til 3 am filing the four different reports I haven't yet done that need handing in tomorrow. Serves me right for going to the pub and eating some food.


Art update: I went to the Alhambra yesterday afternoon to see the art. As it happened I didn't get to see any of it so I just bought a rather fetching white floppy hat and went back home.


Tommy Cooper RIPies



Beer and dogfish

Posted on October 13, 2009 at 1:22 AM

Date - 13th Oct 2009

Location - blah blah

Time - ungodly. It was just gone 7am when I looked.


Can't believe I'm awake. Hardly any kip and no homework done last night. I'm already heading for a fall. Saw Granada bathed in an orange sunset last night then sat outside a tapas bar as shooting stars streaked across the blackened sky.


Dogfish marinaded in adobo sauce is good with a cold beer. Good food, good chat. Simple pleasures are the best.


Right then, here's that airport picture thingie I promised. Nuts eh?



Posted on October 12, 2009 at 12:49 PM

Date - Monday Oct 12th

Location - ( still Granada - til further notice )

Local Time - 18:55


What a tough first day! It's been made clear to us how much work we have in front of us during the next four weeks. I suffered half of it on an empty stomach too. I didn't get to the apartments until after 21:00 last night and hadn't eaten for about 6 hours. I then had to endure the first few hours of induction ths morning with no breakfast.


Anyway that little problema got fixed by midday ( Spanish omelette sandwich anyone? ).




It is so hot. Temperatures must have been in the 80s today in the Albaycin area. All those whitewashed buildings and little suntraps. I nearly melted this afternoon as we filed out for an elongated break.


I glimpse the Alhambra on a regular basis too. It peers seductively over red tiled rooftops, barely half a mile away. It's tantalising.


Hang on - massive gunfire is ringing out. It's a national Spanish holiday today and I guess it's all part of the fun. I can now see plumes of white smoke rising some distance from my open shutters.


Ha, it's stopped.


My thoughts are turning to the artistic delights that await. This town's a cultural hot spot. I need to get on top of my course work from day one ( er, that's today ) so I can winkle some leisure time.


Anyway I leave you with yesterday's overriding treat - a shot of Madrid's Barajas airport terminal 4, and architectural wonder. It made a long journey almost enjoyable...



Ok I guess the picture upload didn't work.


Never mind. I'm going out for some early evening sunshine.







Going Places

Posted on October 12, 2009 at 12:42 PM

Date - Sunday October 11th 2009

Location - Granada

Local Time - 22:30


... the spotlight is firmly on career. Changes are brewing in the workplace and there is potential to take a giant leap forward ... you are going places.


I never read my horoscope. It's a load of garbage isn't it? Yet there I was sitting at an Edinburgh airport departure gate convinced those words were speaking solely to me. They weren't cynically bashed out by some junior hack trying to work his way up the journalistic ladder and aimed at the wider one twelfth of the population sharing my birth sign. No siree. They were carefully considered facts, words weighted and customised for me alone. They had to be. Changes were brewing for me , oh yes. In fact they'd brewed up already and I was certainly going places. London Heathrow to start with, and by the end of the day via the Spanish capital Madrid I'd be unpacking my suitcase in the ancient Andalucian city of Granada.


The spotlight is firmly on career.


Thirty years after starting work in a relatively fledgling IT industry I've found myself redundant. I'm taking the hint and have decided to go and do something else. Yes, becoming a full time artist is the real dream, the end game if you like, but until such times as I get hundreds of eager buyers knocking my studio door down to come and buy my work I need to earn money the old fashioned unglamorous way. Hence the trip to Spain and a four week training course on teaching English as a foreign language ( TEFL to give the accepted acronym ).


It's no soft option. My understanding is that an intense four weeks awaits. I'll keep you posted. Anyway, some sixteen and a half hours after leaving home this morning I've arrived. Granada is bouncing and the old town centre, The Albaycin, where I'm to be based is absolutely thronged with people. Tomorrow is Spain's national day and it seems celebrations are starting early, or is it just what they always do on a Sunday night? I don't know. I feel like I don't know anything just now, like why it is I'm even here. Oh yes, I'm taking a giant leap forward. That's what my horoscope said. And it's true. It is.