Tag Archives: bonnie halsey dutton

My second week in Portugal

The second week began with the arrival of my good friend the artist Bonnie Halsey Dutton http://www.bonniehalseydutton.com      Bonnie, who had travelled from the Black Hills of South Dakota with her group, was to give the next weeks course at the School in Olhao.

Bonnie Halsey Dutton – artist – http://www.bonniehalseydutton.com    Bonnie Halsey-Dutton 2018 4x6   During the thirty years I have known Bonnie we have shared many experiences and on occasion have worked together.     Extremely talented and organised she always does what she says she will do – something I really appreciate.    Next year she will  be running a workshop in the Black Hills of S. Dakota.    I will write more about this at a later date.

Bonnie’s group in Olhao.     Interestingly I had met at least one of the group when I visited and worked in Spearfish, S. Dakota about 20 years ago!  Small world. ST Group with JanetTogether with Bonnie in Deadwood, S. Dakota – 1998.    Just about to hold up the local bank!  

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After a day of rest another artist friend, Vicki Snaddon arrived at the School to take me back to her farm, about an hour and half drive north of Olhao.

Although I stopped driving 25 years ago when I returned to Europe, sometimes I enjoy being a passenger in new territory, as was the case this day.      So much to see.

Being in the lovely and private setting of the farm gave us the opportunity to relax and talk….about art, life in general, and of course Pooks Hill Lodge where hummingbirds abound and where Vicki spends half her year.      http://www.pookshilllodge.com

Pooks Hill Lodge – http://www.pookshilllodge.com – Belize. 20286788_1650204498324154_7558641117066166373_oA lovely place to stay…..right in the midst of Mother Nature’s bounty. 13147623_1204718832872725_2256505133500364186_o

Vicki Snaddon – at the farm in Portugal – a place where I could spend much time painting. 20180930_112814The light was so lovely. 20180929_101923After a morning of sketching, the following afternoon we drove to the Marina de Lagos Art Academy for an exhibition.

When in Portugal, Vicki goes to the Academy every week for life drawing sessions,  given by artist, Kasia Wrona, who I met and liked very much.

 

A great picture of Kasia and Vicki at the exhibition20180929_185745The work on display was by photographer, Jacek Ulinski (to the right of the picture).   The Marina is in the background….All in all a very smart space,  a very different vibe from the the School in Olhao.       42887279_1178263239017684_658336809083731968_nSunday we drove back to Olhao just in time to join Bonnie and her group for the jazz session at Cafe Cantaloupe where we enjoyed  Miguelo Delgado Motu Cordis.   What a great jazz venue this is. 20180930_193206In my first ‘overview’ blog about the trip, I showed my group in front of a black and white mural which is on the side of the local super market.   It depicts the hard working fishermen and women who inhabit Olhao – a working fishing town.

The following are better pictures of some of the panels…..Unfortunately because of the way it is set up I can’t take the whole mural in one image.    I am trying to find out who the artist is. 30-EAFT-1200x751

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26247423877_70a09eb361_b40967641792_585beb771d_bThis picture of my group in front of one of the panels, gives a better idea of the scale.

20180923_174418After another day of relaxation and sketching, it was time to return to London.

Portugal, and especially Olhao, have become very special to  me.    It never ceases to inspire.

Somewhat different from hummingbirds, this is the kind of wildlife that abounds in the Ria Formosa National Park.…close to Olhao.  – watercolour

20181005_103332A Bientôt

September – new beginnings and a time of renewal.

‘Let us reflect on what is truly of value in life, what gives meaning to our lives, and set our priorities on the basis of that’.  From ‘Buddhist Offerings’ 

watercolour/gouache – Rays of sunlight as I walked through the woods1917262_186338425395_7900997_n

Moving from August into September has always meant new beginnings for me.        Along with the onset of cooler weather and visible changes in nature….there is also a perceptible change in mood.      Children go back to school and many return to work. The world around us becomes busier.    I am speaking from an English point of view.     For my friends living in the southern hemisphere….there are also new beginnings – for them Spring is arriving.

Those who follow this blog will be aware that I usually go to Portugal in April.    This year, I am also returning on 18th September for a workshop at the school in Olhao http://www.artinthealgarve.com      The School is one of my all time favourite venues – a wonderful places to explore the creative process.

Olhão Portugal – http://www.artinthealgarve.com – watercolour20-11-15 - 1 (936)After working with a group for the first week, fellow artist and good friend Bonnie Halsey Dutton http://www.bonniehalseydutton.com  arrives from South Dakota to give a course.     As always we take these opportunities to spend some time together.     I will also see another artist friend, Vickie Snaddon, who has a house not far from Olhao. It is Vickie who runs the beautiful lodge in Belize http://www.pookehilllodge.com     Needless to say, I am really looking forward to it.

Given that Olhao is part of the Ria Formosa National Park...beautiful wildlife abounds – watercolour20-11-15 - 1 (226)watercolour

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Nesting storks on one of the local churches.    ImageI With its courtyards, communal areas and excellent studio space, plus shops, cafes, markets, Lagoon  all within a few minutes walk from the school – plus of course the wonderful Margarida and Joanna who take care of all our needs….what more could an anyone wish for.

The Pool House courtyard….I love all the levels, shapes and shadow play. P1150740The studio. P1150901The 150 year old Olive Tree that meanders from one of the courtyards up through the three levels of the school.   You can see the blue of the roof top pool through the tree. P1150724watercolour20180703_105444

Another exciting development this year is that I have been invited to exhibit five watercolours at the Chongqing Museum of Art, China.   This is part of a French/Chinese annual cultural exchange.    I was invited by French artist Claude Lesur  who organised an exhibition I had in France eleven years ago.   The opening in Chongqing will be on 17th November and next spring the exhibition will come to Paris.    I will write more about this after I return from Portugal.

The Art Gallery in Chongqing where the exhibition will be held. 

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20180702_121621This has been one of the best years I can remember.   I have visited places, friends and family I love and along the way enjoyed wonderful conversations and much laughter.   I am so grateful for this moment in time and that I have been able to focus on what is truly of value in my life.

The magical hummingbirds have been with me all the way……

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A bientot

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Swan Fest

Last weekend when my friend Bonnie was here the weather was hot and sunny…..and so we spent much time observing activity on the River Thames close to where I live in Hampton, and as always Mother Nature provided a wonderful show.  

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Having been born on this small island, like most Brits I gravitate to water.    It soothes and feeds me.    I can sit for hours by the river, sea or lake observing and listening to the rituals of nature. 

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Swans mate for life and are wonderful parents.   The Male is always observing – sometimes with some distance, but always there watching over the family. 

 

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The proud father fluffing out his feathers. 

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Under an ancient charter, swans belong to the Crown, which means that they receive superb protection.   

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‘The swan on still St. Mary’s Lake float double, swan and shadow’.   William Wordsworth. 

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A Bientôt

Beginning the day with a magical hummingbird

It is important for me to have rhythm and structure in my life.      These two elements allow me the freedom to create.    I have also learned that the way I begin my day is vital.

Image I used to listen to the BBC news first thing, and realised that it was 99% negative and designed to ignite fear and anxiety in the listener.

ImageI now listen to soothing music for the first hour or two while either writing or doing a warm up watercolour.

ImageToday I start with painting a gentle magical hummingbird.     I have used hummingbird imagery in my paintings for over thirty years.    They symbolise for me the unseen magic in our world.

ImageI am using watercolour paper with a neutral ground which I applied some time ago.    Remember when working from a ground…it is important to let the ground colour dry at least 24 hours before painting…otherwise mud is likely to occur!

ImageBecause I have worked from a ground, I have applied Winsor & Newton Permanent White Gouache for my lightest areas.

This took about 20 minutes and along with the music was a very soothing exercise….and at the same time, I now feel awake and fortified to listen to the news or whatever else the day has to throw at me:)

Note in the finished sketch…I have allowed colours to bleed into one another…..

ImageI had a lovely visit with Bonnie Halsey Dutton, who is now staying in Paris with our mutual friend, the artist Mariethe Salort, and then she is on her way to a summer school in Orvieto, Italy.    I will write a separate blog about our time together along with some photographs.

Wishing everyone a peaceful, loving day.

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A Bientôt