Sketchbook Nostalgia 1

Our granddaughter, Elisa, age about ten. She later
got a fine-art degree from the University of Granada.


The Sketchbook Copy Project

For years my husband has been threatening to photograph the content of all my sketchbooks. But first we had to find them. One of the fringe benefits of the new shelves from heaven was that a lot of old sketch books turned up. Mike got inspired. He snatched the first book from the top of the pile and took it into his goat-shed studio. A couple of hours later I pay him a visit and he’s teetering on top of a ladder peering through a camera mounted on a copy stand. It turns out that, in order to photograph the larger books he has to raise the camera pretty high. I protest. He replies, “Don’t worry, it’s not dangerous once you get the hang of it.” This is why women live longer than men.

Mike’s intention is to photograph all the sketchbooks and post them here one by one. The photographs in this post are the result of his first trials.

Meanwhile, I get to talk a bit about the importance of sketching, whether in pencil, charcoal or watercolours. Your sketches are your roadmap, your compass, your storyboard, and you should not be without them. No, photographs won’t do. You need live drawings. I find it so distressing when art classes from excellent European schools come to my studio and I find the students copying images from the screens of their cellphones. This is a history clash. I’m way too old. They’re way too young. And there’s no middle ground.

This necessity to have sketches obliges you to make them. For that you have to be prepared at all times. The greatest images appear at the most unlikely–and inconvenient times. So I urge you to get in the habit of carrying a bag with your current sketchbook and pencils, and watercolours if you’re so inclined. At first it will feel cumbersome and conspicuous. Later it will become part of your person. And you will notice the boost it gives to your work. In this recent rediscovery of my sketchbooks I have more that once been tempted to sit down right then and there and turn a 20-year-old sketch into a brand new print.

I could go on and on, but I’ll leave you with the photographs. I’ll be posting more regularly–if my photographer doesn’t fall off the ladder.



Thanks for following, commenting and, especially, sharing.

Shelves from Heaven


A Fortuitous Find

Mike was on his morning walk the other day–in an elegant subdivision, as it has a mile-long uphill section–and discovered this metal shelving in a rubbish tip. It fit in the back of the car with a centimeter to spare on each side. He noticed, as he was loading it into the car, that it had an electrical cable with a plug on the end. He wondered why shelves need a plug.

When he got it home, down the steps(!) and installed in the studio he plugged it in. It lit up like a Christmas tree. It has a strip of LED lighting on the inside of the plastic strip on the front of each shelf. Of course, it was a display case. Now it’s a lovely, orderly space for the things in my studio which have always been hard to find: sketchbooks, special papers, pencils and paintbrushes… If you’re a printmaker you’ll know what I mean.

So, if your husband goes for morning runs/walks, suggest that he do it in an affluent neighborhood.

All the best,


Text and photos by Mike Booth

An Interview with Pakistani Artist/Educator, Iram Wani

Iram teaches printmaking at the National College of Arts in Rawalpindi, an hour’s drive from her home in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad. Last spring the school administrators, conscious of the health hazards and other inconveniences of working with nitric acid, commissioned Iram to search for a professional printmaking studio that used non-toxic techniques, to go there for a month and bring back, first hand, the secrets of not-toxic printmaking. Iram knew where to go.

Eight years ago, in the fall of 2013, she had spent two weeks working with Maureen in her studio in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, outside Granada. Iram, asked how she happened to choose such a far-off place–there are a lot of printmaking workshops between Islamabad and Granada–replied: “I had heard about an English printmaker who did workshops in Spain, so I googled “printmaking courses Spain.” The first half dozen references were to “Maureen Booth, Pomegranate Editions, Granada.” (I later learned that “pomegranate” is “granada” in Spanish, so the city and its province are named after a local fruit.) After following the website for a few months I was impressed by the artists–from all over the world–who worked with Maureen. Also, Maureen spoke English. I had no knowledge of Spanish, but I did have a visa for Spain. That’s how I got here the first time.


Iram’s work in Maureen’s studio was productive from day one.



The following is just some of the work Iram produced when she was here.


This interview took place on October 27, less than a week before Iram was to catch the plane home from the Málaga airport.

Q: What were you hoping to accomplish on this second visit, Iram?
A: I hoped to gain an intimate hands-on knowledge of the non-toxic procedures that Maureen uses in her work, both solarplate and liquid metal techniques.

Q: Did you manage during your stay to achieve any part of this very big assignment?
A: I think I have achieved far more. There’s so much to learn from Maureen. She’s a true “maestra” as they say in Spanish. I’m already thinking of coming back. Besides getting a grip on not-toxic techniques I wanted to experience the procedures and workflow of a well-run studio. I was impressed by Maureen’s insistence on an impeccably clean and well-ordered workspace. You can’t achieve perfect prints without those two factors. I also hoped to create a portfolio of creative non-toxic prints, something I could present to the administrators of the Institute as an example of what can be achieved without acid. And, if the work were to come out exceptional, I will also be exhibiting it. That will be an excellent way of fulfilling my ultimate goal: to introduce non-toxic printmaking in Pakistan.

Q: Were there things that surprised you on your second visit?
A: I think the main thing was just how much there is to learn. Maureen comes up with new secrets every day. I could have learned much more if I had had more time.

Q: You didn’t do any “tourist visits” to the city of Granada, and it’s only eight kilometers down the road. Do you miss that?
A: No, I don’t. Maybe next time…

Q: What do you consider your principal achievement in this month-long workshop.
A: I guess I could sum it up by saying, “truly living the life of an artist for one intense month.”

Q: Can you take that living-the-life-of-the-artist home with you?
A: I can try.

Q: Do you expect your work, and perhaps your life, to change when you get home?
A: It’s changed already. I’ve learned from the master how things should be done.

Q: Did Maureen’s Gallinero artist’s cabin with its big workspace, solitude and tranquility, contribute to your experience?
A: Yes, I was perfectly relaxed. It’s peaceful, truly an artist’s place. I can’t remember sleeping so deeply. Also, I have bad headaches at home. I don’t get them here at all.


Maureen’s assistant, María José, came in a couple of days to help Iran and Maureen print up the plates Iram made during her stay. Diva only weighs 2.1 kilos (4.6 pounds) but she is always in the studio, supervising everything.




You can see more of Iram’s visit to Granada on her Facebook page, with her own photographs, videos and commentary.

Thanks for following, commenting and, above all, sharing this post.

This was an unexpected record turnout here for a book presentation on a weeknight.

It’s the Annual Cultural Week in our Village, the Ideal Time for the Presentation of My New Cookery Book

The release of my little bi-lingual, illustrated cookery book coincided with our pueblo’s annual cultural week, the ideal time to present a new book. If it floats here, who knows, it might float in the rest of the world. Presenting in your own village is a privilege and a challenge. Though you enjoy some pre-existing good will from your friends and neighbors, you don’t want to dilapidate those good vibrations by boring them with pretentiousness or long windedness. You want your story told with agility, grace and brevity.

Ideally you want to win over the folks in the plaza to art and good cooking, and if you can sell a few books, that’s OK, too. For that I asked María José, my assistant in the studio, and her daughter, Silvia to attend a table loaded with books for sale. The number they sold was a delightful surprise. Nobody expected an illustrated cookery book to be a best seller. Attendance looked sparce five minutes before the 9:00 pm starting time, but in those brief five minutes the plaza filled up.

The person I chose to present the book was Ángeles Mora, my dear longtime friend, a wonderful poet and person, who has won two national poetry prizes over the past decade. Ángeles is equally at home in an auditorium full of professors as in a village square, and was ideal for the job, warm and light footed, cultured and homespun. She even read one of her poems that verses on life, love and good eating. I want to translate the last stanza for you: “Apaga la ventana, amor, cierra la luz. Abre la boca.” (“Close the window, my love, put out the light. Open your mouth.”) Gabriel Gómez, our mayor, introduced her and carefully elaborated on her impressive curriculum. When Ángeles finished everybody was refreshed in the head and the heart, and ready for a cold beer. The Pinos Genil village center is the perfect place for that on a summer night.

We, along with a group of 20-some friends, were expecting one of the three bars with terraces on the plaza or the river’s edge to prepare one long table for all of us. But Covid precautions limited each table to just five persons, so we were spread out over five tables. No matter each one created its own fun and everybody stayed late and had a great time. Ours was the exclusively-women’s table where we told hilarious husband stories. Mike’s was the word table with a professor, a librarian, and a journalist. Eduardo, the journalist, came up with the best word of the night: “zorrocotroco.” A zorrocotroco is a hard-headed, inflexible person. He sounds like it, doesn’t he. There are no photos of the post-party. My photographer, with an excellent sense of priorities, dedicated himself to the friends, the beer and the funny words.

I doubt that I’ll have another book to present next summer, but who knows? It’s a lot of fun.


Thanks for following, commenting and, especially, sharing.

(Como surgió este librito)

(Ver la versión española a continuación…)

It’s an Offspring

Maureen’s Kitchen / La Cocina de Maureen, my recent bilingual limited edition of recipes and hand-pulled, hand-colored prints was a response to a year and a half of semi-stagnation, something I suspect many of us have gone through. I was finally able to convince myself–with a little help from my friends–that the way out of the labyrinth was creative work. Get to work and make something beautiful. The edition was limited to 19 portfolios of 16 recipes and prints, because that was all the large sheets of hand-made etching paper I had left in my studio. That sounds ridiculous, but it’s the simple truth.

The invention worked too well. The edition sold out in three weeks. And I still had requests for more–but there weren’t any more. It was the brilliant idea of Ricardo Calvente, our neighbor and the owner of Granada’s finest print shop, la Imprenta del Arco, to publish the content of the portfolio as a book. Using digital technology and incorporating some images from my sketchbooks to add interest, he could print up however many books I required, as the need arose. These books have no fine-art pretensions but I am, nonetheless, delighted with the results.

The smaller format, the spiral binding and glossy paper, encourage the use of the book in the kitchen. On a kitchen counter the open book will lie flat, and if you spill something on it you can wipe it off with a damp cloth. And it can be sold for a fraction of the price of the limited edition portfolio. It’s not the same, of course, but it is an elegant solution to the problem at hand.

Es un descendiente

Maureen’s Kitchen / La Cocina de Maureen, mi reciente carpeta de edición limitada en inglés y español, de recetas y grabados tirados a mano, fue una respuesta a un año y medio de estancamiento/paralización, algo que sospecho que nos ha pasado a más de uno. Al final pude convencerme a mí misma–con la ayuda de mi familia y amigos–que la salida del labirinto pasaba por el trabajo creativo. Pónte a trabajar y haz algo bello. La edición se limitó a 19 portafolios de 16 recetas e imágenes cada uno, porque no me quedaban más hojas grandes de mi papel favorito de grabado. Sé que eso suena ridículo, pero es la pura verdad.

Al final, el invento funcionó demasiado bien. La edición se agotó en tres semanas. Me quedaban solicitudes de más portfolios, pero no quedaban más. Fue la genial idea de Ricardo Calvente, nuestro vecino y dueño de la mejor imprenta de Granada, la Imprenta del Arco, de publicar los contenidos del portfolio en un libro. Usando tecnología digital e incorporando unas imágenes de mis sketchbooks para añadir interés, él podía imprimir cuantos libros que yo necesitara, según surgía la necesidad. No puedo pretender que estos libritos sean “fine art”. Sin embargo, estoy encantada con los resultados.

El formato más pequeño, la encuadernación con espiral, y el papel brilliante, animan a usar el libro en la cocina. En una superficie de cocina el libro abierto se queda plano y si se ensucia, se puede limpiar con un trapo mojado. Y se puede vender por una fracción del precio de la edición limitada. Desde luego, no es lo mismo, pero no deja de ser una solución elegante al problema.

(Click to enlarge, haga clic para ampliar.)

How to Get your Copy of This Charming Little Book

I’m asking 15€ for the book. There are two ways to get it:

  1. If you’re within striking distance of Pinos Genil (eight kilometers from Granada on the old Sierra Nevada road), just drop by the studio and we’ll have a coffee or something and you can take your book home with you.
  2. If you can’t make it in person I’ll be happy to send it to you, and you’ll just have to pay the postage. Drop me an email (maureenluciabooth at gmail.com.) and we’ll discuss the arrangements.

Como hacerse de un ejemplar del libro

Pido 15€ por el librito. Hay dos formas de adquirirlo:

  1. Si puedes acudir a mi estudio en Pinos Genil (a ocho kilómetros de Granada en la carretera vieja de Sierra Nevada) puedes pasar por el estudio, nos tomamos un cafe u otra cosa, y puedes llevar tu libro personalmente.
  2. Si no puedes acudir al estudio, te lo enviaré por correo con mucho gusto. Tendrás que pagar el franqueo. Simplemente, envíame un email (maureenluciabooth arroba gmail.com) y concretaremos el pago y la entrega.

The Presentation

My dear friend, the Spanish poet, Ángeles Mora, will present the book in the Pinos Genil village square on August 4 at 9:00 p.m., during the Pinos Genil Culture Week. You are cordially invited.

La presentación

Mi querida amiga, la poeta de Rute (Cordoba), Ángeles Mora, presentará el libro en la plaza de Pinos Genil el día cuatro de agosto a las 21:00 horas, durante la Semana Cultural de Pinos Genil. Os invito cordialmente.

Thank you for following, commenting and sharing.
Gracias por seguir, comentar y compartir.

This project wouldn’t have been possible without the invaluable help of my
studio assistant, María José Braojos and her daughter, Silvia Romera Braojos,
as well as Ricardo Calvente Chacón, of the Del Arco Print Shop in Granada.
And, of course, Mike, my photographer, webmaster, and husband.

I Get By With a Little Help from My Friends

Much as I have tried over the past long year to stay positive, I confess it hasn’t always been easy and at times events have taken a toll on my morale. The pandemic took us all by surprise. Life was different and we suspected it would never be the same again, but first we had to survive the virus. (We have a friend who did die–briefly–and came back and told us about it.) We couldn’t see friends and family, which in Spain form the cornerstone of life on this planet. We couldn’t go out for a drink and tapas. Or drive down to the beach. Our life was reduced to a recurring supermarket-pharmacy-laundromat routine. Though, I shouldn’t complain too much. We were never without our inspiring riverside walking path, nor the loving company of Cuca, Diva, Bundy, Rosey and Susu, whom Mike refers to as “our little people.”

As I mentioned before, it was María José who inspired me to get back to work in a serious way. Let me tell a bit about her. She has become for me more of a daughter than a helper. We met 20 years ago when her husband, Juan Carlos Romera, was planning the production of a 38-minute short film called “Bive,” (“Live” in semi-literate Spanish). He needed a foreign woman artist for a story set in a fishing village in the Mediterranean province of Almería. As soon as he saw my studio he said, “You’re the one… and we’ll shoot the studio scenes in here.” María José was his assistant on Bive. Working on the film with Juan Carlos, María José, and his professional crew from Madrid was all new to me. It was hard work during a hot summer, but intensely interesting, and included some good fun. (You can see the complete film here on YouTube.) But I’m meandering again. What makes working with María José so gratifying is her limitless good humor, her sweet demeanor, her careful work, and her readiness to learn. She’s one of the most positive people I’ve ever known.

It Turned Out to Be a Healing Process

So we decided to start on the prints-and-recipes project. I prepared the originals on acetates and when they were all ready María José stepped in to help me burn the plates and pull the prints. That was our usual procedure. What was new in the process was the hand coloring (“illuminating” is the delightful traditional term) of all the prints, for which her help was invaluable. It was an extremely limited edition of 19 portfolios, but each one had 16 prints and they all had to be colored by hand. It was a demanding, meticulous job that required concentration to the exclusion of everything else. That exclusion included all forms of worry, anxiety, or stress.

A few days after we finished illuminating the prints and had wedded them with the introductory texts and the portfolios (which I made to measure myself), and sold the first few books, it occurred to me that I was feeling quite a bit better. People liked the portfolio. I was full of pride and optimism, and had some money jingling in my pocket. I even had some new projects fall into my lap, a couple of portraits and a big job for our village’s new Sierra Nevada tram museum. It seems I have been renewed by a combination of art, work, and loyal friends. I have always prided myself on being a working artist, and this is just one more proof of its miracles.

I wonder if this simple formula might not work for you, too.

P.S. There are still a few portfolios left. If you need one you can contact me via email: maureenluciabooth (at) gmail.com.


Thanks for following, commenting and sharing.

Now Comes the Hard Part; What Will You Think?

Here you have it, a project that has been rambling round my head for years and finally got started three months ago when my assistant, María José, suggested, “We’re not doing much else, why don’t we start on your recipes-with-prints idea? Suddenly, getting up in the morning in the boring and confusing life under Covid controls began to have meaning. It’s true, happiness is a project.

The recipes are my own  personal favorites. Some of them I inherited from my mother and grandmother, some from friends and some of the best local dishes from our pueblo, Pinos Genil.  I have included some vegetarian dishes and some are my own  creative  experiments. I hope you will find them interesting.  This has been an inspiring learning experience for me and I’m happy to see the result.

Preparing an edition is, beyond the image making, a lot of work. The Spanish would say it’s a combination of “arte y artesanía.” Once you’ve refined your sketches and burned them onto plates, you’ve got all that printing to do by hand. Though this edition is a small one, with only 19 portfolios, each one has 16 prints. Add to that the hand coloring of all of them. Then there was the text. As it is impractical to handwrite the recipes in English and Spanish on plates, the answer was a print shop and all the complication that entails. For both of these problems I had extraordinary luck close at hand. They are named María José, my near-daughter whom you have already met, and our neighbor, Ricardo, who owns one of Granada’s most exquisite print shops, la Imprenta del Arco. I’m forever thankful for his patience with all my changes and his excellent criteria concerning my doubts. And I don’t want to forget María José’s lovely daughter, Silvia Romera Braojos, who did the translation into Spanish and the formatting of the text.

Young Old Friends

So each DIN-A4-sized recipe has Ricardo’s offset text on one side and my hand-pulled original print on the other. One of the advantages of living in the same place for 50 years is that you know whom you can rely on. And our pueblo, Pinos Genil, is a great place to live. I have an added advantage here. In the late 1970s I used to give painting lessons in the town square to all the children who were interested, and today I am privileged to have all of those children as 40-and-50-year-old friends.

I haven’t had much feedback yet, except for our old friend, the doctor/painter, Rafael Sánchez, who dropped by last night for one of his amusing visits. He saw the portfolio, said, “This is art on the outside and art on the inside,” and took one home with him. That was encouraging, Rafa, thank you.

As for how to enjoy/display/use these prints is up to the owner. You would have to have a pretty big kitchen to frame and hang 16 prints. You could leave the portfolio on a coffee table (along with a pair of white cotton gloves). Or enjoy figuring out your own creative solution. If you think you might like to have one of the 15 remaining portfolios (discounting one each for María José, Ricardo and me) you can email me at maureenluciabooth(at)gmail.com.


Thanks for following, commenting and sharing.

We’re Approaching the Launch

It’s been an eventful month and we’re approaching the end of the Maureen’s Kitchen project, hand coloring the prints. It has been a lovely team experience. Ricardo, our neighbor from down the hill, has a print shop in Granada. He does wonderful work, including a recent exquisite book on our pueblo. I was concerned about printing the recipes (in English and Spanish) on textured etching paper but Ricardo said, “no problem” and they came out perfect. That text was on the left side of each DIN-A4 sheet (210 × 297 millimeters or 8.27 × 11.69 inches). On the right side of each paper my assistant, María José, and I hand printed the plates on the small etching press in my studio (which was given to me years ago by my dear friend, Mararo, and now use more than the big one). The result looks like a marriage made in heaven. (See Mike’s photos, below.) It only remains to make the portfolios and assemble them and decide on a cover design. I’ll let you know.

Here’s Some of the Finished Color Proofs

You Like Luxury? Try a Family of Little Birds Outside Your Kitchen Window

One of the most delightful things we discovered over the last month was a pair of tiny birds building a nest near the top of a small cypress tree outside our kitchen window. As the Gallinero, where we spend the winter (at 40 meters from our house) is on a steep hillside and the cypress grows on the downside, when we look out the kitchen window we’re looking at the top of the tree, where the birds are working just six or seven meters from the window. Not that we can see them building the nest, as that happens inside the dense branches of the tree. We just see them coming and going. They know what they’re doing.

We still don’t know for sure what class of birds they are. As close as we can get they look like the family of the European Black Caps or American Chicadees, most likely the 11 cm. Willow Warbler but maybe the Chiffchaff (called that because of their call: “chiff-chaff.”) I’ll post some pictures here of what we found on the Web and what their nest probably looks like inside that cypress.

How My Garden Grows

My miniature garden started out early this spring with eight or ten boxes. Suddenly it’s up past twenty. And Mike found a nest of lovely plastic boxes sitting outside a local supermarket last night, waiting for the bin man. So now my garden will soon be bigger. This is what the Spanish call “vicio,” and it takes a lot of different forms. It’s not that we don’t eat something from my garden almost every day. Whether it’s the lovely sweet peas, a few spinach leaves in a salad, some Swiss chard in a stew, or the latest surprise: big, bright red strawberries. What a thrill.

Our Grandson Claudio, Looking Like a Footballer at 14

I Hope This Spring is Being Kind to You

I have a suggestion for at least making it feel kinder. Instead of scheduling youself one long walk daily, try two short ones. It was something Dr. Salvatierra (“Save the Earth”), my arthritis specialist, suggested and it works, both physiologically and psychologically, though I’m not sure why. He recommends starting with 20 minutes each walk. See if it doesn’t work for you.

See you soon. Now I’ve got to go down and illuminate a few prints.


Thanks for commenting and sharing.

If this picture looks contrived it’s because it is. That girl in the corner is a correspondent for Andalusian television who came to do an interview, and Mike thought it would be nice to put some of my sculptures in the foreground. The pomegranate tree outside my studio door was bearing beautiful ripe, colorful fruit, so why not include that, too? The Spanish would call a mess like this a menjunje or a batiburrillo. The Spanish have some wonderful words. P.S. “Granada” is Spanish for “pomegranate,” in case you were wondering.

Another Sort of Printing, Which Was Also Important(!)

This one-hour video about the birth of Gutenberg’s printing press is only marginally relevant, but we liked it so much, also for Stephen Fry, that I’m sharing it with you here. Just thinking about the effect that Gutenberg’s press and moveable type had on every aspect of life in the entire world makes one dizzy.

Spring Is in the Air

First come the almond blossoms, then the baby ducks in the river. I no longer have to cover my box plants at night, we use much less firewood. The light coming through the glass-pane doors in my studio is gayer and I essentially don’t have to turn the lights on. The animals (we call them the little people) are more active, almost as if they were coming out of hibernation. They do love to hibernate.

I had the second Covid Injection a few weeks ago, so I’m supposedly immune, but until Mike has his second shot in a couple of weeks, we won’t be out of the woods. We’re looking forward to making a big paella and having some friends over. Like the old days. Remember them?

The animals seem to have played a larger role in our lives over the past year. I suppose it’s because we’re living in closer quarters, with a normal-size bed in our Gallinero cabin. Our animals are well loved. You can tell just how well by how much we let them get away with. Ours–two dogs and three cats–get away with murder. Bundy, our young tom cat takes diabolical delight in pawing things off tables and workbenches. It’s usually not too serious, though. They eventurally turn up under a cupboard or a sofa within a couple of months. Cuca, our 14-year-old shi-tsu/grifon cross, was given to us by a friend when she was 10 months old because she resented him going to work. She is an excellent communicator. To inform him of her discontent she would jump up on his bed and pee on his pillow. He was so happy when we told him we’d take her off his hands.

Our animal history hasn’t always been so joyous. Once we gave a kitten to friends. We were happy to do it because they had two lovely children under the age of eight and we thought it would be good for them. The first thing the family did was to lock the kitten in the garage with sufficient kibble and water and took off for a two-week holiday. When they got back and saw how frantic he was they returned him to us. He was very happy to be home. And that wasn’t the only charming pussycat anecdote. Another friend asked for a cat to keep down the rats in his henhouse. So we gave him a half-grown kitten. A month or so later he wanted another one. So we gave him another one. When he came back for a third I said to him, “What are you doing with all those cats?· “Nothing,” he said nonchalantly, “the foxes eat them.” I won’t mention the names of the people involved. The Spanish say, “Se dice el pecado, no el pecador.” “You name the sin, not the sinner.”

Some of Our Animals Over the Years

The little boy with the big dogs is now a 48-year-old geology professor.

More Recent Photos, Fewer Animals

Remember the Cookery Portfolio?

I’ve decided to call it, Maureen’s Kitchen (in Spanish, La Cocina de Maureen). I’ve been working on the recipes and the plates for the prints. I think I’ve got them all ready, but I want to pull some proofs before I made the final decision. The proofs are so important. They can be printed in so many different ways and the decisions on those proofs can make or break a project. I’ll show you some here when I get something nice.

It Sounds Silly But…

Now that it no longer freezes at night my garden in boxes is growing by leaps and bounds. I’ve added a few more boxes and am looking for more space. Mike suggested under the roof overhang of the Gallinero, but I think it would get too much direct sun in the summertime. We have a strategy for the month of August. That’s our month for late nights (una delicia), early mornings, long siestas (more delight) and long drinks. The hard part is going to bed late and getting up early. But you soon get used to it. The long siesta helps.

The beauty of the box garden is that you can pick them up and put them in the shade when necessary. When I started out I was looking forward to just the fun of having little vegetable plants in boxes, like potted flowers. But it turns out that you can actually eat the crops. There are always some leaves you can snip off to brighten up a salad or a stew, and you can pretend that the tops of the red onions are chives. We’ve just started eating the peas raw. Sooo sweet. If you decide give a box garden a try I have a warning for you: You will get hooked. How do I know? At the place where I go to buy plants I coincide with other people who have box gardens and we swap stories enthusiastically. They’re hooked just like me.

An Homage to Spanish Medicine

I’ve just arrived home from my twice-a-year appointment with my reumatólogo–that’s an arthritis doctor. I’ve been visiting him for 12 or 15 years, so we’re old friends. He turned my life around from the first visit. Thanks to him I can live a virtually painless life doing what normal people do–except pole vaulting. Since we don’t pay doctors or hospitals in Spain, I like to show my appreciation with a little gift, so I take along an etching to my appointments. When we finished the consulta this morning and I was about to leave, he said, “You’re always giving me lovely gifts, Maureen. I’ve got something for you I think you and your husband might like,” and he goes to a cupboard and brings out a box that says, “Consejo Regulador de la Ribera del Duero,” Spain’s most prestigious wine region. Between one thing and another, I love going to the doctor.


I Love My Sketchbook

But I Too Often Lose Sight of It

Sometimes I go weeks or even months without sketching, and I’m not sure why. Considering it seriously I think it comes down to three factors: distractions, just plain sloth and the Great Pandemic Excuse. I don’t have to tell you how many ways there are these days to be distracted. We are living in the Age of Distraction. That’s what came between the Iron Age and the Age of Extinction. Formerly, to be distracted you had to have a shower, change your clothes, get in the car an,d go out. You saw people and places, movies and shows, the beach, the library, the golf course and the tennis court, the gym, the birds and all the other creatures that creep and run, including your grandchildren. Nowadays there’s very little of that.

Big Communications has seen to it that, for a price, they can provide you with versions of almost all those things you used to do in person, without setting foot outside your house, And it’s a good thing they did. Where would we be during the Covid 19 lockdowns if they weren’t providing us with YouTube and Netflix and all the rest? Nevertheless, they’re still distractions and have to be managed as such. As for sloth, that’s easy. It comes automatically. I discovered a long time ago that the less you do, the less you can do. How do you break that chain? You do something, of course. Then, poco a poco, you do a little more. The handiest, easiest, healthiest and most rewarding thing to start with is walking. Mike used to be so annoying on the subject. He never let up. Finally I started walking with him. Then I started feeling better, with more spring in my step and in everything else. Now I badger him to go walking.

Is Your Essence in Your Sketchbooks?

Having been around art and artists for many years I have seen a lot of sketchbooks. I often find the work you see in them is better than–or at least different from–the stuff they frame and hang on the wall. Fresher, more daring, more fun, more portable… Mike loves my sketchbooks. He thinks I should publish a book of facsimile copies of the best images in them. That sounds like too much work, but I would consider posting some of them here. I wanted to know more about what painters and printmakers do with their sketchpads, so I googled “publishers of artists’ sketchbooks,” and there are a few of them. So, if the spirit moves you…

The site I found most fascinating belongs to a guy called Danny Gregory. He has a long and distinguished history as an advertising art director but some time ago he left advertising in order to dedicate himself to his own art and an online art school site. I found him very engaging. You might, too. Here’s a link to his self publishing site: from there you can find more material that you might find useful. Before I forget, here are some images Mike captured off my latest sketchbook:

How’s the Virus Treating You?

I hope you’re being careful and looking after yourself. The stakes are so high. We had a nice note today from Gina Miller, Ross Miller‘s wife. They live near Melbourne, Australia. She paints and he sculpts. Gina says they’re just coming out of a five-day lockdown but now everything’s OK as cases and deaths are back down to zero. What envy. How is it that some countries have the virus under control or virtually exterminated, and others have become giant mortuaries? The virus, itself, doesn’t play fair, either. It keeps moving the goalposts. Even so, there’s still room for optimism. I had the first Covid virus vaccine shot last Friday and had no unpleasant after effects. We shall see.

Aside from that, it’s business as usual here. Our big galas are every other Monday when we do a supermarket, laundromat, car wash commando raid. (Mike insists on the latter, says it maintains his mental stability. Boys!) María José, my helper, and her lovely daughter, Sylvia, were here today. We worked on the text for my upcoming portfolio of favorite recipes, illustrated with prints. (Before it was a portfolio it was going to be a book, but that started to look complicated. The portfolio has the advantage that you can add more recipes whenever you like.) We all had our best masks on, of course. We looked like bank robbers in a western movie. Mike made lunch. It smelled so good when I walked in the door. In the end it turned out to be a big tin of fabada asturiana, an Asturian bean stew. And there was a lovely green salad with it.

So, may your beans always smell great and your salad always be green. Take much care and I’ll see you next time. I’m looking forward to the time when I can say, “We had a great time last night with a lot of laughs with friends at our favorite fried-fish tapas bar! Come and join us.”


Thanks for sharing.

Staying Sane in Hard Times Requires a Little Fun

The pandemic has been messing with our minds and bodies for almost a year now and, instead of getting better little by little it’s getting worse all of a sudden. What are we supposed to do? I suggest that our first priority be to stay alive, by taking advantage of all the pertinent survival measures. You know what they are. Just apply them rigorously to yourself and your loved ones. Here in Spain we’re entering into the “third phase,” which promises to be the most virulent.

What lauched the virus’s latest improvement at the end of last year was the sentimentalism of the Navidad familiar, the family Christmas. How many grandparents were sacrificed to those joyous holidays. That period of Christmas cheer and deadly danger are even more dangerous here, as the Spanish celebrate 14 days of Christmas, from December 24, when they have their Christmas dinner, till January 6, the Epifany, when the los Reyes Magos, Melchor, Gaspar and Baltazar (The Three Wise Men) bring the children’s gifts. All of which doesn’t make much sense since the kids don’t get their presents until the day before they go gack to school. Perhaps this explains the rising popularity of Papá Noel (Santa Klaus, Father Christmas) here. He delivers more than two weeks in advance.

What’s Next Then?

If you’re reading this you have probably gotten through the joyous season alive. What next? As I see it, what’s next depends largely on you. In the case of my husband, Mike and me it revolves around three things: a project (or more than one), a sense of humor and an appreciation of simple pleasures. And I almost forgot the fourth factor: a loving pet, even if it’s your husband. I’m lucky enough to have both, and they’re both capable of making me laugh and cry.

We each have our own projects. He writes and makes photographs, and also cuts firewood. I’m painting a couple of portraits and working on my favorite-recipes portfolio of prints. We share the housework. Mike does the ironing, says it’s like meditation. I’m so glad he feels that way. I’m still cultivatinge flowers and vegetables in boxes. I’ve always had lots of flowers in the garden and loved them, but these little pansies and lettuces, the tomatoes and kale plants, and the tiny little pea plants, are something different. For one thing they’re mostly up on tables and walls, so they’re closer and you don’t have to bend down to tend them–and appreciate them close up. In all it’s a lot of fun. If you don’t have a garden, you can still do it on your porch or window ledges. Just wait till you cut the first frilly leaves of kale to adorn the top of a bean stew. Then you’ll understand.

Necessary Diversions

Before I forget, I want to mention the joy of Internet. It’s getting a lot of bad press lately because of sinister interests taking unfair advantage of its wonders. Even so, I consider it a blessing for mankind, especially during stressful times. It enables us to maintain contact–immediate personal contact–with family and friends regardless of distance. That is so enriching. And, as you probably have some time on your hands, it permits you to renew your contacts with friends from the old days, or even find new friends whom you find charming on the Web. Not to mention Google and Wikipedia, which make everything instantly look-upable. Think about it for a minute. How did we ever live without these two miraculous research resources? They make us so much smarter. And let’s not forget You Tube and its endless music offerings, and its wonderful documentaries.

As I mentioned in a previous post, we also get a lot of fun from cooking. As we go shopping much less frequently we often find ourselves short of ingredients, so we have to improvise, You can substitute apples or kiwis for tomatoes in a salad just fine.That shortage of ingredients also inspires creative cooking. The results aren’t always fully successful but usually they are. We made a delightful discovery lately. The little woodstove in our kitchen has a shallow compartment at the top, under the lid, where we found we can roast squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes and, mmm, apples. The other day we roasted half a chicken with sage and onion stuffing. That wasn’t bad, either. Does all of this good cooking put on weight? Hmm, yes.

The Essential Medications–Walking, Laughing and Helping

We do get a bit of cabin fever. That’s where a sense of humor is essential. If you can still laugh you’re probably going to be OK. We also try to get in an hour’s walk every day. That’s good for everything that might be wrong with you. We’re lucky to have a lovely walking path along the river (Río Genil) that runs below our house, through the village and on to Granada.

Another thing that will brighten your days is helping people out. Everybody has needs these days and there’s always something you can contribute, even if it’s only a sympathetic ear. We’ve got a big lemon tree we planted outside the kitchen window many years ago and now it bears so many lemons during six months a year that there is no way we can use them all, even though I make tons of our grandchildren’s favorite pancake and toast topping: lemon cheese, or do you call it “lemon curd?” Mike picks the extra lemons from time to time, puts them in bags and drops them off at our neighbors’ doors. He also leaves them at the bars and restaurants in our village.

We have a lot of bars for the size of our little town (pop. 1,250) because it’s a popular place during most of the year for people from the city which is just 8 km. (5 miles) down the road. They come out for the cool on summer evenings and the hearty food in winter. This local tourism started a few decades ago when a forward-thinking (or lucky) mayor dropped some ducks in the river where it passes through the town square. Soon the granadinos started bringing their children out to feed them dry bread (the ducks, not the kids.) Once the families got here they discovered a local bar whose owner, Marina, served up a powerful plate of arroz caldoso, the local-style juicy paella. Now we have 8 or 10 bars and restaurants and they all serve something. Today our river is full of big, beautiful white geese.

It’s a Winter Holiday

Did I mention that in wintertime, when I seldom have artists coming, we move into my Gallinero artists’ cabin at the end of our garden? It’s a lot cozier than our old stone house and easier to heat. It’s also quieter and has better views from its little terrace. In a way staying here is like being on holiday. We like it a lot except for the normal-size bed which is a bit too small for Cuca, Diva and Bundy to fit in with us comfortably. It’s a constant battle for space. Never mind, whatever inconvenience they cause, they more they make up for it in laughs, especially the chihuahua, Diva, the 4.5-pound (2.1-kilo) tyrant of the house. All in all, no complaints.

So take the best possible care of yourselves, don’t forget to laugh and, if you like, send me the stories of your own projects and I’ll post them here. And don’t forget that you and I have something in common. We all belong to the ideal world of painters and printmakers, which is a unique space of wonderful people, just for us.

Big Spanish-style hugs and kisses from Maureen.


Switzerland’s Prestigious TASIS School Exhibits Prints from Their Work in My Studio

Art classes from The American School in Switzerland (TASIS) have been coming to my printmaking studio to learn printmaking with me since 2015 and, over time, have accumulated a body of work. Their art teachers, Martyn Dukes and Frank Long, always anxious to promote their young artists, many of whom go on to university art programs, help them put together a collective show of their work here over the past five years. What follows is a brief article they published recently on the TASIS website.

¡Hasta la vista, baby!

December 1, 2020

Print Exhibition featuring student artworks from TASIS Visual Arts Academic Travel Granada Print Workshop, 2015 – 2020

 Now on view in the Ferit Şahenk Art Center’s Horst Dürrschmitt Gallery on the TASIS campus in Montagnola, a small village overlooking Lugano, is an exhibition of student prints from solar plate etchings and gravures made in the print studio of master printer Maureen Booth in Pinos Genil, Spain, near the city of Granada. The show celebrates the diversity of student work and the wonderful opportunity that a week-long, immersive art-making workshop provided to TASIS students in the Advanced, AP, and IB Visual Arts courses.

 In addition to individual student prints, the exhibition features three collaborative Artists’ books made in February, 2020 and short videos on the gallery screen that show the printmaking process in the studio.

 Students from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2020, and 2021 are represented in the exhibition which features a wide variety of subjects and styles, all encapsulated in the Solar Plate technique. Intaglio etchings in various colors of ink and featuring Chiné-colle applique are seen alongside photogravure and design gravure examples.


The exhibition will remain on view until January, 2021. View images of exhibit fullsize. (Scroll down to second feature. For another TASIS article with more photos, scroll down more.)

Thanks for following, commenting and sharing.

Is It Possible?

The limitations imposed by the coronavirus crisis have not been too hard on us. We live in the country and enjoy the garden, the sunshine and fresh air, the pets, the night sky, the river walk… What we are lacking is human contact. We hardly see our friends and family and when we do we can’t give them a hug and a kiss, a Spanish custom that we have taken to whole heartedly. The other custom that is one of life’s pillars in this part of Spain–Andalusia, in the south–is the tapas bar, our three-times-weekly multi-purpose feelgood experience.

It’s a magical mix of irresistable food in enticing quantities, much of it eaten with toothpick skewers. In the great tapas bars returning clients are treated like family. Our favorite one, in a nearby village and frequented by townspeople of all stripes, from campesinos to local gentry, whole families including babes in arms and grandparents, horse traders and sleek señoritos with beautiful women. When we arrive I’m welcomed with a kiss from Monica, the lovely Gypsy waitress, usually followed by a conspiratorial tip for insiders: “Today we have torta de quisquillas, crunchy little patties filled with tiny whole shrimp…” Or little plates of paella, or exquisitely fried fish, all wiggly fresh from the wholesale fish market in the port of Motril, less than an hour’s drive down to the Mediterranean coast.

A few little plates of those mini-delicacies washed down with a chilled dry white wine, or icy draught beer make the world an infinitely better place. My husband Mike likes to sit at the bar, where we have the opportunity to meet new people and learn new tricks from great bartenders, like leaving the last finger of wine in the bottom of the bottle so as not to tip the lees into your drink.

What triggers these festive, culinary, fraternal outings? Any pretext works: “I don’t feel like cooking.” “Neither do I.” “We’re out of olive oil.” “It’s Friday!” “I’m bored.” “Me, too.” “I’ve worked enough today.” “Me, too.” We have a big lemon tree that fruits during six months of the year, so we often take a basket of tree-ripened lemons as a gift for the house. That cements relationships, too.

Beans with Everything

So, suddenly deprived of all of this, what do you do? You have to be creative. As I think I’ve already told you in a previous post, I started making sourdough bread and pancakes. It took me about a month to perfect the process, and during the times my dough was rising I had time to dabble in cooking experiments. Our freezer is always full of ingredients for siege cooking–ground beef, pork loins and ribs, vegetables of all sorts, chickens for stews and stocks, frozen cod and prawns and life-saving leftovers, which just need reheating.

The main results of this fiddling with food preparation were two tendencies:

  • Quick, varied, tasty, tapas-like meals. The secret of these is homemade chicken stock, which enriches everything. We make a big vat of it about once a month and freeze it.
  • And hearty pots of stew. Mike calls them “peas porridge hot” as they tend to get reincarnated from day to day. The Spanish call this comida de cuchara, “spoon food,” and it has become our regular fare, frequently with no meat at all (we hardly miss it), but always with at least a couple of varieties of beans. Here’s how that happened: Mike was making his chili con carne one day and discovered we were out of pinto beans. So he used a mixture of red and butter beans. That was great and now he makes his chili with all three. It gains in taste and texture and is even better looking.

The Shock of Confinement

Once I was over the initial shock of the confinamiento it occurred to me that I had the time to work on projects that I had been putting off for years, such as the artist’s book of favorite recipes. María José, my assistant in the studio, reminds me of it from time to time. So a couple of weeks ago I finally got started. It’s going to be bi-lingual English and Spanish, illustrated with a limited edition of solar-plate prints, and include not just my own recipes but some others well loved by our kids and grandkids, including some traditional Spanish and English dishes and some from friends.

We’ve always made jams, chutneys and conserves but now, with more time, we make more. We have a few fruit trees and berry bushes in our garden so we’re not short of fruit.


One of our favorite bases for both sweet and savory preserves is quince, which looks like a cross between an apple and a pear, and has so much character that you can’t eat it raw. I never saw it in England and Mike says he never knew it in America, but it thrives here mainly for making the traditional quince jelly (carne de membrillo). We cook it sliced in sugar syrup to make a compota and chop it fine, add sugar–and sometimes fruit– for jam. To make chutney you just use less sugar and add chopped onions, vinegar and lots of spices. You might try this at home if you can find any quince.

My mini herb garden began with two tomato plants in a pot last summer, then expanded to more–herbs and vegetables planted in pots, discarded wooden boxes and old drawers–gives me unending satisfation. Right now, as I sit by the fire writing this, I hear autumn’s first rolling thunder and feel the joy of anticipating the rain on my little garden. There’s nothing like real rain, especially in our arid climate. We ate the tomatoes at the end of summer, a total of eight. In early fall I planted more herbs–coriander, basil and two varieties of thyme–and some winter plants–lettuce, radishes and two colors of kale. Now I’m preparing some boxes for early spring planting. The joy of a miniature garden is more concentrated, like the difference between a mastiff and a chihuahua, though we love them both.

I’m still reading a lot and enjoying it immensely. I started with Tolstoy, and War and Peace led me directly to books on military history–Napoleon Bonaparte and Julius Caesar–and also the other great Russian writers: Turgenev, Gogol, Pushkin, Chekhov… I haven’t gotten to Dostoyevski yet but I’m looking forward to him. Never before have I felt so strongly that reading is uplifting. And, inevitably, I’ve come to sorely regret the crass and unfair way Russians have been marginalized by Western society.

The Joy of Going to the Hospital

I went to Granada’s new hospital the other day for a minor operation and was reminded of the excellence and actual loveability of the Spanish health service, which starts just down the hill with our village doctor and nurse. It goes far beyond mere professionalism, though there’s no shortage of that. Everybody’s medical history resides on a network and can be accessed by any hospital, local clinic or pharmacy in Spain. But what makes the big difference from other efficient systems is the levels of kindness, patience and thoughtfulness you experience throughout. I think this has to do with the Spanish character. The surgery that attended me was 100% feminine. In the past couple of decades Spanish medicine has been richly endowed with brilliant women, perhaps, because they’re generally better students. So, I walked in and walked out–new–after just two hours, which included a general anesthetic. The only cost involved was paying the parking lot, which Mike thought was exorbitant at four euros.

While we’re on the subject of economy I want to mention barter. With so little cash around lately, we’re going back to barter whenever we can. The other day, Victor, the lad who supplies us with firewood, stopped by and asked if I could paint a portrait of his four-year-old daughter. I said sure, happy to. He asked how much I would charge him. “As you’ve got firewood and we need some, let’s do a swap.” He was delighted and brought us two splendid loads of almond wood nicely cut to fit in our stoves. I’ve done a lot of barter over the years–for clothes, furniture and rugs, dentistry, home improvements… I love the homespun elegance of it. No money changes hands.

Other Places We No Longer Go, Things We No Longer Do

For years we’ve gone to our spa pool at seven a.m. three times a week. The warm water and the high-pressure massage jets were so revivifying we called it “the fountain of youth.” The spa happened to be in La Zubia, a nearby village with a wonderful old-fashioned coffee shop, la Cafetería Mavi, By “old-fashioned” I mean they rise at 4:00 a.m. to bake the day’s bread. rolls and buns on site, and bring them out still warm at 8:00. We would go there for breakfast on our pool days. Mike says their napolitana de chocolate is the closest he’s ever come to a religious experience. We thought life was impossible without this Monday-Wednesday-Friday morning ritual. As you have already guessed, we don’t go there any more, not to the coffee shop and not to the spa.

Instead we do morning walks along the river path that runs beneath our house. It was widened and de-brushed last year, and extends nine kilometers, all the way to Granada. It’s not quite the spa and the Mavi on a chilly morning, but it’s still great and we take our little Diva, with us.

Nor do we drive down to the beach on summer mornings. We used to do a nice walk with two or three swims included, then return to the beach restaurant for a breakfast of coffee and toast with olive-oil, fresh tomato and mountain ham. We would be back home before noon. We felt so clever leaving home at 8:30 a.m. with no traffic and returning around 11:00–also no traffic.

We don’t go shopping except for groceries. Or to restaurants. And we no longer invite friends and family for paellas or barbecues. That is what hurts most. As for getting on a train or an airplane, or even a bus, forget about it.

Bottom line: Is our life worse? In some ways yes. We miss our family and friends sorely. In other ways it may actually be better, as I’ve tried to explain. What it is, beyond all else, is different. Can we cope with these differences? I read somewhere that learning to live with change keeps you young. The trickiest part is not knowing the duration of the emergency. We may be in for an even-longer haul. I shall do my best and keep you informed. I hope that you too are managing to cope, and that we will soon see the day when we can get together again.

Thanks to my husband Mike for his photographs.


And thanks for following, commenting and sharing.

Note: This is a story I wrote two years ago, durante this exhibition, and forgot to post. I just discovered it today in the files and will post it now–better late than never.


Maureen and Inma Exhibit in Town Hall During the “Semana Cultural”

The friendship between Maureen and Inma started more than 30 years ago when Maureen was giving outdoor painting lessons to the children of the village. Inma was one of the most promising young artists. She was 14 years old. Fast forward thirty-some years. Inma invites Maureen to exhibit with her in the Pinos Genil town hall during the annual summer “Semana Cultural.” What Maureen discovered during the show was that, in the intervening years, Inma had become an artist and the best-loved person in the village. Maureen said afterwards, “After exhibiting with her I realized it was the most pleasurable show I ever participated in.”

For the occasion the mayor renovated the exhibit hall with fresh paint and swanky new lighting, and commissioned a local designer to produce a nice tryptic. He even laid on the refreshments and sent the village truck round to pick up the framed work, all of which made it a pleasure to show “at home” in Pinos Genil, a village of 1,200 people. The opening-night crowd was a mix of locals and people from Granada and the UK. The Granada artists who came were impressed by the exhibit space and the professional air. They’re now lining up for shows in Pinos Genil, the new cultural Mecca of greater Granada.

The show is on through the month of August. Here are the pictures of the opening night:

Thanks for liking, commenting and sharing.

What Now? Just Keep On Keepin’ On

Seven months with three cats, two dogs and a husband, and no place to go, gives you some time to think. That’s one of the luxuries of the coronavirus threat. The first thing that occurs to you is how superfluous a large part of your life has been. You begin to think about what’s important, what keeps you afloat, what’s worthy of  your time, and what will keep your spirits up during this atypical experience.

The first thing I did was to sit down. I found myself stuck between confused and despondent. I just wanted to stay sitting down. I picked up a book and started reading. I started with Tolstoy. After 20 pages of War and Peace I couldn’t believe I hadn’t discovered him sooner. A couple of hundred pages later I realized that he had not only  introduced me to Napoleon, he had lifted me out of the doldrums. I was back. So much to do. So many more books to read, and so much more.

My first new project was sourdough bread. It took me about a month of experimenting to get it under control. But it was never tiresome. It was full of suspense, fascination and the joy of seeing the bubbles come to the top of the brew. Then the bread. After a few inevitable failures I started making proper bread. Then superior bread. And there was a delightful side benefit: sourdough pancakes. Every morning. With different homemade jams. Can life get any richer?

I soon found that I had more time for the house and–gasp–my studio, which is on the hillside just below our house. I made some watercolor sketches around the garden–which always reminds me of Monet, doing some of his most wonderful paintings of the pond in his garden. I began to see things clearly again. Was it Tolstoy or Monet helping me? Or both? In the evenings around sunset Mike and I like to sit overlooking the valley and watch the wild ducks flying upriver to the reservoir where they spend their nights. Occasionally we have a bonus and see a big heron (garza real) flapping sedately by. Yesterday evening we saw a peregrine falcon sail-hunting high over our valley. That is an indelible experience, a true luxury that doesn’t require a limousine or precious jewels. It’s free.

Click to enlarge

Reading, Cooking, Nature, A Sense of Humor

Click to enlarge

Sketching Is Less Like Work

I don’t know about you, but for me the sketchbook is where most of the magic happens. It’s freer, more spontaneous, less ponderous that putting paint on canvas or etching a plate. It’s actually fun and if you mess it up it doesn’t matter. By the way, the day you least expect it you can turn some of those sketches into paintings.