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Art in the Algarve – Our day in Culatra

Another special event during the week at Olhao is visiting the island of Culatra.     It’s a short walk from the school to the boat taxi dock, where last year we were met by these two men and their lovely dog.    Culatra is a large sand bar, located south of Olaho, part of the Ria Formosa National Park.

Initially, it was quite cool, misty and overcast…however, by the time we reached Culatra…the sun was shining, and it was absolutely beautiful.

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Both men were extremely knowledgeable,…and came from long lines of local fishing families.     There is so much to learn about Portugal and this particular area,

The island community of Culatra is made up of fishermen and others.    I could see that it would be an ideal place to paint and write – especially during the off season.

This was the scene that met us when we arrived.

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There are no cars on Culatra, definitely my kind of place.    With a year round population of approximately 800, there are a couple of shops, cafe/restaurants, a church and even a little football stadium.

There are narrow walkways between the houses.   Culatra reminded me of some of the Bahamian Islands where I have spent time.      Very relaxed and laid  back.

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Although only a one day visit, I could see that there was much to explore…and for those looking for beaches and solitude the Island has long stretches of unspoiled sands.    Apparently even during the height of the tourist season, empty, pristine beaches can be found, and of course the wildlife is beautiful.

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Another place where it’s best for the group to split up to find places where they can take photographs and make quick notes in their sketch books, followed by another excellent lunch of fresh fish in one of the Island cafes.

Some of the sketches made last year by participants.      The idea is to accumulate as much information as possible to be used for reference at the school and after returning home.

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After lunch, more sketching and exploring and then back to Olhao where we had another delicious evening meal at the school.

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http://www.artinthealgarve.com

http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk

A bientôt

Art in the Algarve – I can’t wait to return.

I try to embark on new adventures with an open mind, and so it was with Art in the Algarve where I have just tutored a watercolour workshop.     In a nut shell, on a scale of 1 – 10, Art in the Algarve receives an 11.  

One of the two main courtyards in the School House, with the 150 year old olive tree which reaches to the top of the three level building. 

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This first post will be an overview of the school and area.

Later I will get into more detail along with a general outline of the course and what was achieved,.    I will also offer some tutorials for readers and participants of the course. to use as a follow up.

The well equipped and very beautiful studio adjacent to the main courtyards.  

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I had not been to Portugal before and was delighted to find that the working fishing town of Olhao, where the school is situated along with the protected natural beauty of the famous Lagoon Natural Park, is a world away from most people’s image of holidays on the Algarve.

Geographically, not too far from Tangier and Morocco, Olhao is filled with Moorish style architecture.     

David Clark, who owns and runs the school has renovated the School House and Pool House sympathetically and with vision.  He has put together a cohesive programme which forms a superb structure for work and play.

He has chosen his team very well….from Margarida (sp?) who prepared such wonderfully fresh and diverse foods, to Joanna who always had breakfast ready on time with a smile, and  kept housekeeping in order.       The car and boat taxi drivers were informative and fun to be with and so all in all, there was nothing to worry or think about, other than painting and the pleasure of exploring a new place.

This is where we ate our meals at the school.   In between meals, fresh fruit and wonderful local sweets were always available.   As David said when we arrived….treat the place like your home….a man of his word.

I might add that there was a wonderful touch of Faulty Towers about David and his Team…..in the loveliest of ways:)   

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Along with the superb food served at the school, David organised several visits to local restaurants…including a wonderful Tapas bar, and his own Bar which sits on the front, overlooking the Lagoon.     In each case we received a warm welcome from the local people, and the fish…..it doesn’t come any better!

On the Saturday morning we visited the weekly market which faces the Lagoon…..a visual and gastronomic treat…..

One of the many flower vendors at the market…..

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On another day we were taken to the island of Culatra, where we entered a vibrant little community, reminding me a little of one of the islands in the Bahamas.

Part of the vibrant fishing community on Culatra.   

 

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Observing the beautiful shapes and colours on Culatra. 

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I know I can talk for the group in saying that the week ended all too soon.

I have taught in many different venues, here and abroad, and without a doubt, Art in the Algarve offers something very special.

Given that I choose to give workshops at cooler times of the year, It is important to note, that the weather was perfect.     Most days were sunny with temperatures around 22 c. (65 to 70 F.)

I finish this post with a photograph of storks that inhabit the area and make their nests on high chimneys and in this case the local church tower.

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I am very glad to say that I am booked in to do another course at the school on April 22nd 2015.    The course will be limited to 10 people so that I can give as much individual attention as possible. 

I will be back here on Thursday morning with more, as am off to the Malvern Hills for the next two days.

http://www.artinthealgarve.com

http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk

A Bientôt