Overview of week with Art in the Algarve. http://www.artinthealgarve.com

This is the first of three blogs about my recent visit to the school in Olhao, Portugal – http://www.artinthealgarve.com.   The first is an overview, the second will show sketches/photographs from the group, and the third will be about my second week with my friend, artists Bonnie Dutton and Vicki Snaddon.

watercolour/gouache of Saturday market – Olhao Portugal. 20181008_130843My workshops are all about loosening up, letting go and getting into a flow and rhythm of work and most importantly enjoying the process.

The school at Olhao is set up in such a way that allows for the creative process to blossom….and although each course is only one week, much is accomplished.

The group dynamic is always important.     To date, everyone I have met adds something special to a course and this week was no exception.    What a great group!

These two photographs were taken when we were (all cleaned up on our way to dinner) in front of a black and white mural on the side of Pingo Doce the local super market in Olhao.    The mural depicts the lives of  the hard working fishermen and their wives.     Olhao is a working fishing town. 



Four Australians, two from Perth, two from Sydney….a wonderful couple from Iceland, and some lovely Brits made up this group.     They were all great fun and most importantly accomplished a lot, especially in their sketch books, which I put a huge emphasis on.

Having arrived on the Wednesday – Thursday starts out with a loosening up demonstration.   It is a time for people to begin to feel comfortable within their new surroundings.    By the end of the day everyone feels like they have been there for quite a while…..

The sitting room in the Pool house leading out into one of the internal courtyards.  20-11-15 - 1 (165)On Friday we spent the day on Armona Island.    Nuno, a scientist and environmentalist takes us on his boat (approx 15 minutes).      He is extremely knowledgeable about the Lagoon and the Ria Formosa National Park.    From Nuno we also learn about the history of the fishing industry and folklore in and around the Algarve. 20180921_164238There was much sketching on the Island and at one point in the beach Cafe at the end of the Island, we sketched and sang along to sixties music.    Unfortunately I don’t seem to have pics or a sound track of that moment…….

Maggie May, Linda and Dorothy sketching after lunch at the really lovely A 3 wine bar and beach restaurant.     A new venue for us, but one the group thoroughly enjoyed.  20180921_144016After sketching, Joan and Dorothy take reference photographs.20180921_121813Maria from Iceland, sitting in the shade at the A-3 restaurant.     Maria filled her sketchbook and made many other watercolour studies….  She and her husband John were lovely additions to the group.  20180921_153527Lunch at the A-3 wine bar and beach restaurant.    A place I definitely look forward to returning to.    42292016_10217464505912458_7726417140667908096_nOne of the delicious dishes at the A-3 wine Bar and Restaurant. 

20180921_133715Saturday is market Day in Olhao.     Positioned in front of the two permanent market places, it runs along the water’s edge.     Filled with colour and energy, it is a place to ignite all the senses.    20181007_083252I took some of these peppers back to the school.   You will see in my next post that they were used creatively by members of the group.

20180922_095315Sunday is a studio day….where we begin to see the coming together of our observations, sketches and studies.

Plus, and this has become a new thing for my groups, we now go to Cafe Cantaloupe around 5.30 p.m. so that we can enjoy the superb Jazz (different groups each week)    Cafe Cantaloupe sits by the water and is the perfect venue for listening to good music…and of course sketching………afterwards dinner at Ria Formosa.

Linda, Lois and Angela sketching during the jazz performance. 20180923_182842   The pianist/singer from Bali was sublime, as was the rest of the group.     There are different groups every Sunday. 20180923_185441Monday we spent the day at Fuseta.     Some of the group thoroughly enjoyed this and others would have preferred to stay in Olhao to work.    I will  be talking with Camilla and Margarida about the possibility of a Free day for Mondays.    Those who wish to visit elsewhere could, others can stay in Olhao.      I think many feel that the getting to a from a place disrupts the flow of work.

I asked the group to pay special attention to the shapes, lights and shades of the boats and their reflections. 20181007_084216Along with daily demonstrations to get everyone’s juices flowing (this one focusing on shadow play) – I emphasis the need to warm up before each and every session.

Newspaper is excellent for warming up.…as are our sketchbooks.    Like athletes and dancers, painters do need to exercise each and every day.   By the way, Lizzy ….Please do send me your fabulous sketch of peppers on newspaper…..:)  42229931_10217458903932412_5798085856803684352_nGiven that the School is set in the middle of the old town of Olhao…everything, including the fish/vegetable markets, water, marinas, shops, cafes, etc are within minutes walking distance.        This allows for people to have a sense of independence.   Should they need a break they can sketch in the surrounding alleyways or by the water….or sit in one of the numerous local cafes sketching the interesting faces of the local people.

A face I found of particular interest.    Nut brown from the sun and a lifetime of hard work.     So much character. 20-11-15 - 1 (199)Some of us even got to do a little dancing……my oh my what fun…….:)

I think this photograph of Lois sums up the mood off the week.




20180924_131554 And last but definitely not least…none of this could happen without the hard work and humour of dear Margarida, Joanna and Camilla…..thank you all very much.    21192388_1633115536721920_90386551072864859_nMy next post will feature more photographs and some of the work accomplished by the group.    I will post this tomorrow.

A Biento

28 thoughts on “Overview of week with Art in the Algarve. http://www.artinthealgarve.com

  1. Bushka

    Wow! Super post Janet. Lovey pictures of the group. Jolly lot, to be sure. A great time was had by all. And so say all of you. 😊👍🏽 Hugs

  2. Writing to Freedom

    I love the places you go to paint, teach, and play. Who wouldn’t be inspired at these places! And as I said in my other comment, I appreciate your teaching style as well as your paintings. Thanks for sharing Janet! I might want to borrow one of your paintings for another poem! 🙂

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      HI Brad….thank you so much and any time you want to use one of my paintings, I am delighted. I am now here for a few months and so hope to catch up very soon with all my blogging and everything else 🙂 janet

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Hi Dear Louella…yes another lovely group…and I must say very hot weather (unusually so for October) not a cloud in view. I want want to find out how your exhibition went. Janet 🙂

  3. ShimonZ

    What a wonderful record of a blissful tribute to art. They look like such a fine group of happy campers. I do hope that we’ll get to see Lizzy’s fabulous sketch of peppers on newspaper. Because they were inspiring in your photo as well. And to think of you all painting to the sounds of Jazz. I appreciate your comparison of making art to athletics. The group portraits are wonderful. I wish I could see a shot of that great black and white mural behind them. And just loved the watercolour/gouache of Saturday market.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning dear Shimon. I have been leaving your blogs til after I get organised (sort of like a good pudding:) and will be writing over the weekend. Thank you so much for this comment. It was a fine group of people and much fun was had by all. I wish I could show the whole black and white mural, but given that it stretched a long way, I couldn’t quite fit it all in. I will google to see if there is a picture that i can show later. It’s very important because it emphasises the fact that Olhao is a working fishing town. The people that live and work there are hardworking and also very lovely – friendly, good people. They put up with tourists and especially with all of we art school people and are so gracious and kind to us. I am glad to say that I am pretty much in London for the next few months, painting, writing etc. and so will get into more a rhythm of work. Many times I thought that you would have enjoyed photographing certain elements of the trip…..Hope you and Nechama are both well. janet xxx

  4. davidjrogersftw

    Hello Janet. It is such a pleasure and a delight of the eye to see you and your friends there in the bright sunlight. I enjoyed everything about this lovely, calm, wonderfully-spirited post,, the sense of artists serious about their work gaining warm feelings (always conducive to creativity) and sustenance from the environment, each other, and your help and guidance. It must have been great. I love the pictures and your narrative. Best wishes.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Thank you so much. Given that many of us were meeting for the first time…it’s incredible what a bond the creative process provides. It’s such a wonderful way to explore creativity in a very conducive atmosphere. Than you so much. Janet.


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