Day 3 of Virtual workshop on beautiful Armona Island

Peace and tranquility on Armona Island. – Tombow Pen and watercolour20200417_081921

After breakfast we walk to one of the Olhao docks where we meet another NUNO who will ferry us to Armona Island, where his family have lived for generations.    Nuno is a marine biologist and so well placed to tell us a great deal about the ‘lagoon’, the local fishing industry history  and the Ria Formosa National Park.   If the tide is low on the way out, we see the local fishermen farming the delicious clams from the area.

Armona Island is one of those places where I would love to stay for a period of time to quietly paint and write.     THERE ARE NO CARS, beautiful beaches and the lovely sounds and smells of boats, birds and salt water.      

NUNO on his boat with his beautiful dog to the left of the picture….On the way to the Island we always learn a great deal from NUNO     20190419_102133    The restaurant where we will eat overlooks the beach where we dock.    The fish will be freshly caught today and straight off the grill.

Before lunch feel free to explore – it’s virtually impossible to get lost.:)    We will. re-group at the restaurant after a mornings sketching.    

Remember quick sketches with notes that you can work from either back at the studio or when you return home…. DON’T GET BOGGED DOWN WITH TOO MUCH DETAIL…..20191004_160801Tessa and Bobby from Oz sketching.  – This is all about OBSERVATION20191004_115930Plein air painting/sketching can be challenging.   Wind, sand, sun etc….which is why its important to work very quickly to capture the essence of what’s in front of you.    If you want more detail and are lacking in time.  you can do very fast sketches like this one, along with photographs for future reference in the studio.      

Trees and cottage at the back of the beach….20200416_111749Sketching with Dora, an artist on my last course…..note my small box of paints and one brush.    No kitchen sink here……IMG_0890

After lunch we are allowed to stay under cover of heat and sun in the restaurant…and continue to paint.     With open sides it’s as good as being outside only inside.

As the group sketches, I take this opportunity to do some quick portrait sketches using my Tomboy sepia pen working on a previously grounded paper in my sketch book. 20191004_151601

Working from a previously prepared orange ground in my sketchbook, I use my Tombow sepia water soluble pen.    I then use a wet brush to soften and pull out certain areas…..leaving some of the dry ground showing through.  

The key is to work very quickly.     We are not looking for perfection…

20200416_123717A quiet moment of sketching for one of the group. 18403517_10155206867690396_5892022252939504336_nWhen I look at a scene like this I see a jigsaw puzzle of lights, darks, and wonderful shapes…very much like the world we live in.     Remember don’t get bogged down with too much detail. 20200416_112026This is from a tiny little pocket sketch book – perfect for travel and every day life. 20200416_111841There is a quietness and stillness on Armona Island, much like the feeling that this boat evokes.     Working off white paper, I am using a water soluble Tomboy pen, pulling out some areas with a wet brush.   

20200416_125644I begin to add soft washes to the NEGATIVE SPACE surrounding the boat. 20200416_130023There was a lavender hue on the water and sand the day I sketched this. 20200416_130334Strengthening the tones and adding some texture.     (Tombow pen)


After a lovely day…we return to the School for showers and to get ready for our evening meal.

David Clark, the wonderful and visionary founder of the School sadly died three years ago.     Along with the School,  he owned this building which houses an excellent bar and restaurant just across the road from the famous Olhao fish market.    We call it ‘David’s Bar’.    This is where we will be eating tapas tonight.

This is just one of many wonderful old buildings in Olhao.   20200416_174357

Remember to carry your little sketch books with you at all times, including to restaurants….you never know when you might be inspired:)


As noted yesterday, I am receiving comments from two WhatsApp groups, plus the blog, FB and Twitter.     

It would really help the process if participants put their comments on the this blog so we can all benefit from one another’s thoughts and ideas.        All you. need to do is ‘follow’ the blog.   Don’t be shy…….

Admission.   I am NOT very technically savvy.     After this course my friend and computer fixer Richie is going to give me some tutorials via Skype.       (I hope you are reading this Richie:)     

Also, I am already receiving some excellent examples  of work that’s being done by the participants from this virtual course.- very exciting for me to see.        I will show this work  on Tuesday 21st and Wednesday 23rd.      

Tomorrow we enjoy the hustle and bustle of the Olhao Saturday Market.   Make sure to have sketchbooks and cameras at the ready. 










11 thoughts on “Day 3 of Virtual workshop on beautiful Armona Island

  1. Liz Grant

    I’m filled with nostalgia!! All the islands are fabulous….wonderful places to paint and so serene! I specially love your boat…..I think I’m going to try my own version of that, hopefully without recourse to looking at yours….at least…not too much!! Oh…the aroma of those fabulous sardines….freshly caught and barbecued right next to you. Add a fresh salad……heaven!!…..oh, and a GLASS OF WINE, OF COURSE!! Maybe a swim or at least a paddle after lunch. Can you say hallo to Nuno for me, please?

    Liz x

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning Liz….you have painted a the perfect picture in words….and yes please do the boat….I was hoping people would take my lead. Make it your own and do what you will. I am very excited to see anything you are working on right now…as you are clearly on a creative roll. Nuno say hello Back:)X


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