A wonderful week at the School in Olhao Portugal http://www.artintheargarve.com

‘Creativity can be described as letting go of certainties’.    Gail Sheehy

This watercolour was painted by Ginny, one of the group in Olhao Portugal last week. 20-11-15 - 1 (285)Throughout my years of painting and teaching, I have heard so often the frustration of those who would like to explore their creativity, but who always seem to find that life gets in the way!

The School in Portugal is a place where we can immerse ourselves into the creative process.    Water colour warm up exercises at the beginning of each session, along with sketch books enable us to let go of all the stuff we carry around in our day to day lives.   We are able to explore possibilities and take risks, not worrying about outcomes.

We were a harmonious group of twelve with two additions.    Geoff Levitus, an Australian artist http://www.geofflevitus.com, who is tutoring a group this week joined us for meals and conversation,  and during the final two days Keith, Ginny’s husband joined us.    Both brought a great deal to the week.   IMG_7071        We had lovely sunshine and warm temps for most of the week, plus one night of storms which made for interesting and very paintable skies, and one day of rain…..but did we let it deter us???….not at all!     I love this photograph of us on our way to the Saturday market:)    IMG_0603We spent a perfect day on Armona Island and as always was treated to a delicious lunch of fresh grilled fish and vegetables at Armona 4 restaurant.       sketchbooks were in full use.

Armona Island – 15 minute boat ride from Olhao.    11187445_10153252694165396_2243442094541078611_oAfter a delicious breakfast, thanks to Joanna, each day begins with demonstrations.    The group can then choose to paint in the School or around the town.    Some prefer to paint alone and others in a group.     Lunch is served at 1 p.m. and then we have a two hour free period.     We meet again at 4 p.m. when I give more demonstrations and the group continues to work until approx. 6.30.

Those who have followed my blog will know that I often refer to the School as having a touch of Faulty Towers.     One of our group Deborah had just returned from India and said she thought the School reminded her a little of The Marigold Hotel…..and she is right.     It is a perfect place to explore creativity, to let go and to laugh a lot.

From the top level of the School with pool overlooking the rooftops of old Olhao.     There is another pool in one of the downstairs courtyards. 20-11-15 - 1 (832)I find the School to be one of the best places to explore the creative process.    Set on many levels with all sorts of areas for private or group work – it is perfect.    Added to that is the wonderful family atmosphere provided by the team…….I love seeing Joanna and Margarida’s children growing year by year…..

Joanna, Margarida and Camilla…..A fantastic team21192388_1633115536721920_90386551072864859_nWatercolour, painted by Jayanthi showing a lovely sunny day in the park. IMG_6664We had some lovely and unexpected surprises.    Dora Keogh, another of the School’s tutors had an exhibition in the town.  http://www.dorakeogh.com      Dora’s work is excellent and we all enjoyed the evening.    30742261_10215513701455379_6786450564252172288_oAll Dora’s paintings were based on Olhao. 30707018_10215513696175247_1227137379840557056_oWe were also introduced to the Republic Community Centre – A beautiful old building with superb gallery space plus a bar and terrace and a really lovely large courtyard.       The paintings on display were of a high calibre….and it was much fun to meet more local artists who like many who attend the School come from around the world.

I like the shadow play of these trees against the yellow ochre/sienna walls in the courtyard at the Republic.     Definitely a place to paint next time. 20-11-15 - 1 (257)Minutes from the school is 4Elementos Ceramics & Azulejo – a shop and studio owned by artists Celia and Oswald.    They very kindly allow members of the group to paint in the charming patio behind the studio and over the years have become friends.

Celia in her studio….at 4Elementos Ceramics & Azulejo15822793_1458821127492187_3689521458487455520_nThe patio behind the studio at 4Elementos Ceramics and Azulejo20-11-15 - 1 (241)Given the techno charged fast pace of our lives today, it often seems that our collective senses are being deadened.

As we constantly try to fill the ever widening holes within us with more and more frenetic activity, frustration levels grow.

When we take time to feed our senses through the creative process, in all its many forms,  miraculous changes can and do occur, leading to a sense of well being and fulfilment.

Looking down into one of the courtyards from my room 20-11-15 - 1 (120)watercolour by Olga20-11-15 - 1 (295)Our final day coincided with the Carnation Revolution celebrations….Here are some of the group celebrating the occasion. 20-11-15 - 1 (506)I can’t write a blog without mentioning the Magical Hummingbirds.    They were clearly with us all the way on this trip.      I enjoyed a really meaningful conversation on my way to the airport with, Peter, one of the visiting Australians and (this is a bit of an inside joke for those attending this week)   I had a beautiful little eleven month old girl sitting next to me on the plane.:)

Also, as a lovely blob of icing on the cake, I got to see my friend Vicki Snaddon who runs the lodge in Belize http://www.pookshilllodge.com      A magical place filled with hummingbirds.   I will  be seeing Vicki again in September.



There are many more photographs of the groups work…which can be found on the facebook page of Art in the Algarve. 

I am off to Boston on Thursday morning and will be gone from here until June, at which point I will catch up with the blogs of all my friends.

OBSERVATON OBSERVATION OBSERVATION – and remember to carry a sketch book at all times. 

A bientot

Janet                                                   http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk

35 thoughts on “A wonderful week at the School in Olhao Portugal http://www.artintheargarve.com

  1. Timi Townsend

    Dear Janet, I am so glad that you had such a wonderful time, although I knew that you would, because your attitude would not permit anything less. 🙂 And the place! And people! WOW! 😛 Your photographs and narrative shine through, matched only by the luminosity of your new artworks. Bless you! ❤ –Timi

  2. Jayanthi

    Blissful week, dear Janet. Definitely connected with your own attitude of bringing in the best vision in everything. Our group was certainly very harmonious. Great ambience – all making it such a perfect place to get in touch with one’s own creativity. Have a wonderful time with your loved ones and friends. Much love, Jayanthi.

  3. Bushka

    Super post! Pleased you had a wonderful time…You always seem to have a great time here. The joy and pleasure are apparent from the images in the post. Great fun by the looks of the post. Welcome back. Hummingbird Hugs! ❤

  4. Teagan R. Geneviene

    Dear Janet, heartfelt thanks for this post. I so enjoy your visits to the school (virtually that is). With my agoraphobia I know that is the only way I will ever go, so these posts are special to me. I enjoyed seeing paintings by the students too. Wishing you safe journeys and a delightful stay. Hugs on the wing!

  5. snowbird

    Oh…..how marvelous it all sounds, such fun and just letting go…..Love it! I did enjoy all the paintings, so many lovely styles, you have a talented group, loved you hummers too, as always. I do enjoy a good storm, good to see you all getting out rain or sunshine! Have a wonderful time, I look forward to hearing all about your adventures when you get home! Until then, you take good care of you!xxx

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      HI Dear Dina….just back from the States and now catching up with blogs, etc. I have a couple of yours in my e mail in box which I will get to soon. I have said this before, but you would love this place in Portugal…maybe one year. Sending hummingbird hugs Janet xxx

  6. ShimonZ

    Marvelous pictures of happy grownups having fun; watercolors, and scenes of inspiration; what more can we ask. Looks and sounds so good. And miraculous changes too! Sounds like such intense creativity, that life has no chance to distract us… said with a smile, and wishing you many such days. xxx

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Thank you for this lovely comment, Shimon. Yes, miraculous changes, indeed…..life is good and the creative juices are flowing, and now I catch up with blogs etc. after a wonderful trip to the States. Sending you and Nechama hummingbird hugs – Janet 🙂

  7. davidjrogersftw

    Hello, Janet,
    I do so like Ginny’s delicate watercolor. I love her colors and I like empty spaces in painting. That picture of all of you waiting for the rain to stop is a blast. Jayanthi’s watercolor takes me back to an early autumn afternoon I spent with a ballerina in a little park five decades ago–the conjuring powers of art. Olga’s work is so beautifully simple. What a pleasure this post is. It is just so relaxed, its mood is sublime.

    I should let you know that Meir now is enrolled in an excellent art school where the instructors are being very helpful to him. He is doing truly fantastic work that is far beyond what a six year old should be able to do. You were probably like that. An artist friend who illustrates children’s book took him to her studio for a day. She told me, “Meir is really talented.”

    Diana played the cello and Meir’s father Eli, our youngest child, also plays the cello–and now Meir is taking cello at a good school. But art still comes first. He is taking sculpture and loves it. He told me to say hello to you.

    Thanks again for all the beauty and color and ideas and good spirits your posts always bring.
    Best wishes,

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning David, I have returned from what was a fantastic trip and am now catching up with blogs….I have all of yours in my e mail in box and will get to them slowly but surely.

      Thank you so much for this comment and I know that Ginny, Jayanthi and Olga will appreciate it very much, as do I. The whole week was much fun and to boot everyone produced lovely work, and yes the day in the rain was a blast indeed:)

      I am so happy to hear about Meir being enrolled in an art school and am not in the least bit surprised that he is very talented. By the way the cello happens to be one of my favourite instruments. It seems to me that it evokes great feeling and emotion.

      I hope that you and Diana are enjoying a lovely summer….and that the writing continues to flow.

      Best wishes

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Thank you so much and yes you are right. It is one of the best places ever…..Just returned from a month in the States and so am now catching up with blogs, etc. Janet 🙂

  8. Jet Eliot

    I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the artists and creativity at the Olhao art school, Janet, as I do each year. It is easy to see, in your writing and the photos, how energizing this experience is for you. The watercolors you shared are grand, and I liked hearing about the experiences, too. I hope you are having a wonderful time in Boston, and how fortunate for you to be going to Belize in September. Thanks for sparking up my day with so much color and liveliness.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning dear Jet, I have returned from a really wonderful month in the States with family and friends and am now catching up with e mails, blogs, etc.

      Thank you so much for this comment…In fact I will be back in Portugal in September and then after the course with my friend Vickie Snaddon who has a house in Portugal to talk about future trips to Belize….I am part of an exhibition in China this autumn, which I will write about in September. Unfortunately I wont be going to China, however, the Chinese are coming to Paris where the exhibition will travel next Spring and so I will meet them there. Life is busy but very good.

      I continue to think about you and hope that work on the house is coming along and that it wont be too long before you can return home….I’ll bet that word sound lovely. For now I send you hummingbird hugs…Janet

      1. Jet Eliot

        Dear Janet, welcome home, and thank you for this lovely exchange. Warmest wishes for a smooth transition to your home, and many thanks for your kind words.

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