Tag Archives: ancient olive trees

A place conducive to the creative process…..

capturing shadow play on courtyard steps – Olhao Portugal – watercolour hit://www.artinthealgarve.comP1160782If ever there is a place conducive for exploring the creative process….it’s the school in Olhao, Portugal.   http://www.artinthealgarve.comP1150689Situated in the middle of the old fishing town of  Olhao, and just a few minutes walk from the waterfront, market, shops, cafes, restaurant, etc. this school allows those who visit to completely immerse themselves into the creative process.

After being picked up at Faro Airport by Nuno the taxi driver, twenty minutes later, we enter the School house to find a very relaxed dining/sitting room area…It is in this inviting  space that we receive delicious freshly cooked food from the superb kitchen….all overseen by the wonderful Margarida.   It is also a place of many interesting conversations.P1120438I took this photograph of Margarida last year.    I was leaning over one of the upper balconies, as Margarida posed in one of the lower courtyards.P1170645What is it that makes a place conducive to the creative process?    

I believe there needs to be a sense of harmony and cohesiveness.    I find that when people are running all over the place, never settling…there is fragmentation….which in itself can destroy the flow of creative thought and production.

The studio – which sits next to the external courtyards – allowing for a free flow of work regardless of weather or time of day. ImageSituated on several different levels, attractive accommodation is found throughout the building.      There are plenty of places to enjoy the company of others, and at the same time all sorts of private nooks and crannies where people can go off on their own to paint, write, or simply be.

Looking down into the Pool House courtyard which is connected to the School House.  Last year a doorway between both buildings was introduced allowing further free flow throughout the school.   There is also a small pool on the roof of the School House.P1150733 There are countless sketching and photographic opportunities within minutes of the School.      Fish and vegetable markets are housed in two large buildings on the waterfront.   On Saturday mornings, there is a vibrant market filled with local produce and the wonderful faces of farmers, fishermen and locals.

Flowers for sale at the Saturday Market.    ImageAnd of course wonderful fresh fish………..ImageDuring the stay, a visit to Armona, one of the beautiful outlying islands is always a treat.   This is a fifteen minute boat ride away….. an opportunity for more sketching, or swimming, and of course always more good food. P1160130  I take a techno break when away….allowing me to focus fully on the creative process, and although technology is always available, for the most part I feel removed from all the interruptions of daily life – all of which is conducive to creative living.

Looking down through the one hundred and fifty year old olive tree into one of the ground level courtyards. Image

I plan to post one more time next week…..and then will leave on the 18th of April.

Meanwhile, I leave you today with a magical hummingbird….soaring above all the madness in the world….focusing on curiosity, observation and of course the creative process.

976253_10151660779970396_1579837650_o-2 no sigA Bientôt…..

 

 

 

Olive tree in Olhao Courtyard

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This is one of the series of watercolours I am painting based on the shadow play and the olive tree in the courtyard at the school in Alhao, Portugal.  http://www.artinthealgarve.com

I worked quickly with this painting…and because I had to allow some drying time during the process, I also worked on two other paintings at the same time.     The is the way I choose to work and recommend others to do the same.      This method alleviates over working an image.

Using yellow ochre I sketch out the basis of the composition and add some loose colour in the background  to suggest shadow play,.

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I then begin to add strong colour to the olive tree trunk….I am using a mix of Winsor & Newton  Sepia, burnt sienna, yellow ochre, naples yellow and  Daniel Smith Raw Umber Violet.     

The blue in the painting is Winsor & Newton gouache Cobalt turquoise Light. 

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It is important to note that I always have the whole painting in my mind’s eye as I work.    Remember everything is interconnected, and so the shadows are of equal importance as the actual olive tree.    One can’t exist without the other.

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I have added some of the same blue and some Winsor & Newton Gold Green into the background as well as the trunk of the tree.     This creates harmony, rhythm and balance into a composition.

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All the whites are dry, white paper….indicating in this case the white walls of the courtyard….a perfect place to observe shadows.

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A Bientôt