Tag Archives: http://www.artinthealgarve.com

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

Some of the work produced in Portugal

Many of the group were relatively new to watercolour….if not completely new.     It takes courage to let go, loosen up and simply do it.      Here are some of the results.   Remember along with these studies, most of them filled sketch  books.

In no particular order…..

dresses from the local market. 20180925_173536Jazz evening – and loosening up20181007_091808Peppers from the Saturday market integrated with hummingbirds. 42558807_10205093577817267_5743744410156269568_nBoats – Fuseta

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Landscape20180925_173536-4Peppers from Saturday market. 20180925_173603-3Armona beach umbrellas20180925_173559Fishy business….

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flowers from the market. 20180925_173634-5Woman with dog in Olhao 20180925_173546red onions from market20180925_173559-5jazz – sketching

20180925_173634-6From Armona looking towards Olhao42297450_10217472407830001_5950361310943248384_nThe Saturday market. 20180925_173634-3Pink umbrellas next to Art School

20180925_173651more jazz20181007_091627landscape20180925_173603-2warming up on newspaper

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Fisherman’s huts – Fuseta

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From this sampling it is fascinating to see how different everyone’s work is.

More work can be seen on the Art in the Algarve FB page…and as I receive more images I will post them.

My goal is that each person take with them one or two new techniques as well as a heightened awareness.

I was delighted to receive this image made by one of the Australian participants since they returned home.     Given that watercolour is a relatively new medium to Lynne, I am over the moon with the results and more importantly that she is motivated to paint.IMG_8768

The following is a list of tips and sayings I give to people as a reminder of what they have taken on board.

  1. It’s only paper and we are all going to die anyway!:)
  2. Warm up using  newspaper
  3. Warm up using envelopes. – cut up old paintings and send as cards.
  4. OBSERVATION OBSERVATION OBSERVATION
  5. Use photographs only as a JUMPING OFF POINT.
  6. Look at everything from many different points of view.
  7. Sketch using Yellow Ochre
  8. Remember the Negative Space
  9. WET BRUSH NO PAINT – this helps to avoid mud
  10. Move colour around the picture
  11. Everything reflects upon everything else
  12. Fifteen minutes a day practise works
  13. It takes 28 days to establish a new habit
  14. Allow your brush to DANCE
  15. Always remember to PLAY
  16. Ignore the Chattering Monkeys when they say you can’t do something….
  17. Paint with children – we can learn so much from them.
  18. ENJOY

And hummingbird from two of the group……

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My next blog will be about my second week in Portugal with artists Bonnie Halsey Dutton and Vicki Snaddon.

A Bientôt

 

 

 

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. 

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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

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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It’s April which must mean Portugal :) – http://www.artinthealgarve.com

After the weekend I return to the School in Olhao, Portugal – hard to believe another year has past.      http://www.artinthealgarve.com

It’s always lovely to be reunited with the olive tree that meanders up through the internal courtyards all the way to the roof of the School – and given that sun and warm weather is forecast there will be lots of wonderful shadow play to observe and paint:)    After a long, wet, cold winter it will be wonderful….and oh the light, let’s not forget the light. 10295235_10152370607180396_8634046936488294426_oI always look forward to being at the School – seeing Margarita and the rest of the team who make it feel like home, and being immersed in what I feel is one of the more conducive places to explore the creative process.      This year I am looking forward to it more than ever.

one of the exterior stairways in the School – watercolour20-11-15 - 1 (936)One of the group sketching on Armona Island – 15 minute boat ride from the School. 20-11-15 - 1 (900)Quick sketch of fishing boats – watercolour20-11-15 - 1 (63)The studio P1150901From top level of the School where the rooftops of old Olhao can be seen.  There is a small pool on the roof and another in one of the ground floor courtyards. P1150939Storks nesting top of one of the Olhao churches.       Olhao  part of the Ria Formosa National Park is a superb place for birders.    ImageOlhao is a working fishing town…. fish from the local marketImagesketching in the alley behind the School 20-11-15 - 1 (145) Playful hummingbirds to set the mood – watercolour. 

20-11-15 - 1 (38)Those who follow my blog will know that when I am away and painting, other than checking e mails, I have a holiday from blogging and social media…

After I return from Portugal I will have six days and then on 3rd May I fly to Boston.    I will post a blog before leaving.

A Bientot

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“Every child is an artist………..” Picasso.

It was Picasso who said –

“Every child is an artist.   The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.

In the midst of a rather gloomy train of thought with regards to Black Friday and the mad commercialism of the holiday season, a brilliant ray of light entered into my day – one that reminded me of Picasso’s words.  

Meir Rogers, a five year old artist from Chicago sent me one of his beautiful pictures and all of a sudden everything made sense.

In Meir’s painting we see the freshness, spontaneity, wonder and pure magic that the artwork of a child brings.     Thank you Meir 🙂

Birds by artist Meirs Rogers  

Meir's birds 2

“Think left and think right and think low and think high.  Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try.”   Dr. Seuss

When we first enter this world, we are naturally full of curiosity and wonder.

When we observe children at play we see them following the words of the great Dr. Seuss.    Filled with curiosity and playfulness they take in all that surrounds them and much more.

Sad to say that by the time we reach adulthood, most of us have lost touch with and confidence in our inner creative energy.

Painting with children in Somerset, UK.    These children would be in their early twenties now.    They love to watch an artist paint….in this instance, I was painting Cristeve the Cat for them.   After I left them they painted their own version of Cristeve the Cat. 703984_10151335674775396_172685478_oIf we adults could time travel back to our earliest formative years, when the world appeared as a kaleidoscope of colour and shapes, we could regain our natural curiosity and love for colour and form.      We might see things in a much broader context than the one prescribed to us by our cultural experience.

Painting portraits with a group of children in France.     

til August 10 129As adults we forget how wonderful it is to play with colour….We are concerned about how we appear to others…..which often stifles the creative process.

In children we see a freedom of expression…..especially when a child is encouraged.    In Meir Roger’s case I happen to know that he receives great encouragement from his parents and grandparents.   I wish that this were true for all children.

Working with children in Brittany, France on a mural for their school.      I will always remember when the children sang me the song….’Red and Yellow and Pink and Blue………………. – a very special moment.      (these children would all be in their mid thirties today…..til August 10 126It saddens me greatly to hear a child chastised because they are making a mess, being silly or not behaving in a normal fashion.

Words such as these can stay with a child for the rest of their life and prevent them from experiencing the joy of creative expression.              Encouragement is key.

It’s OK to fail at being normal, whatever that is……When we observe children exploring their creative energies, we see other ways of seeing and being.    12314060_10153693416745396_9179756764978779361_nOver the years, I have collected a lot of children’s art….and have had many beautiful portraits painted of me by children from around the world.

As I observed six year old Beatrice focus with complete confidence on her artwork, it was a delight.   As is often the case when painting portraits…a very special connection is made.

A portrait of me by 6 year old Beatrice from Portugal. 20-11-15 - 1 (933)Painting water colour portraits of two very special young girls in Portugal 13076555_1162891533744325_7774473167615565835_nMy suggestion to children or adults as we approach the holiday season is to get paints and paper and make the creative process an important part of the festive season….and of course for every other season.      If you are not sure where to start…why not paint your own wrapping paper….now there’s a thought…..p-kids-hand-painting-owpMN8ZSw8-1And last but not least I leave you with a watercolour of  Cristeve the Cat and a magical hummingbird.    12238351_10153687926025396_2738025815690721220_oA bientot –

http://www.zazzle.com/janet-weight-reed-gifts     http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk

 

A special visit to The Magical Town of Crickadoon on my 10th Blog and FB anniversaries – they are connected.

My visit to The Magical Town of Crickadoon….(AKA Crickhowell Wales) turned out to be particularly special.      It also happened to coincide with my 10th anniversary of blogging and involvement with social media.        I write about both these events together as they are connected…..

The view from my bedroom window on the first morning.       My first impression – a river of mist floating across the Usk Valley.       Magical, and even more so to observe the mist lifting, slowly revealing the beauty beneath.

20-11-15 - 1 (190)watercolour/gouache sketch – The Usk Valley where the Black Mountains meet the Brecon Beacons. 20-11-15 - 1 (493)This visit was the first time since I left Crickhowell, twelve years ago, that I was able to completely relax and allow myself the joy of visiting old haunts and connecting with dear friends.

 

 

The 16th century bridge spanning the River Usk.      I have walked over this bridge so many times….and like the surrounding hills and landscape the colours and atmosphere constantly change.

80503814The market Town of Crickhowell has a population of approx 3,000.      It still has the butcher, baker and candlestick maker and much much more.     A manageable and vibrant community.

High Street Crickhowell 

Crickhowell-148295When I lived there in my little cottage on Mill Street I was able to walk everywhere, including to twelve (or was it thirteen) pubs? – all of which served good food – from pub grub to fine dining and everything in between.      That is still the case.

This little watercolour sketch looking over the town up towards Brecon was painted shortly after I arrived in Crickhowell (1994) from the Castle Motte.   131500_307466586024705_32046251_oSo why you might ask did I leave.       In 1999 I began working on a project for children which used the power of art and colour to teach about environment, homelessness and many other social issues.      Had it been successful, it would have solved long term financial issues.    After what looked like a very promising beginning, in 2003 it was clear that the project was not going to work.    A very sad moment for me.

However – ‘None of us is ever creative enough to know how things will actually work out…..’

watercolour/gouache sketch20-11-15 - 1 (489)

This precipitated a move to London, my base for the past twelve years.       France was to be my next permanent move….but once again circumstances and personal responsibilities caused my plans to be changed.

 

From my sketch book on this trip…The light over the Brecon Beacons changes by the second. 20-11-15 - 1 (479)All of which brings me to ten years of blogging and social media…………

Ten years ago in the midst of this change, I had heard about blogs, but didn’t have a clue of what they were.    I knew nothing about social media, until my daughter suggested that I join something called Facebook.    My response  – Why not?

As it happens, my decision to get involved was a life saver.     Given that this period has been somewhat fragmented, blogging and social media have allowed me to continue working, and at the same time meet many new and interesting people.    I would recommend anyone who is going through a time of change and upheaval to use consistent blogging as a way to bring a sense of stability into life.

I also believe that had social media been in play when I began my project in 1999, things might have worked out differently.   No regrets – simply an observation.

Having a base in London has also been very good for my work and again I have met wonderful people….

Watercolour from sketch book. 20-11-15 - 1 (320)

However, I am now free of personal responsibilities and can move forward unencumbered, which is why my trip to Crickhowell this time around was so special.

I have no idea what the future will bring….I am one of those people that tries to live in the moment and take each day as it comes…..however, we do have to make plans, and it is my hope that I will now spend longer periods of time in places liked Crickhowell, Saorge France, Portugal etc.

As I continue to work and travel, I plan to do much more plein air work and of course record the people who I encounter along the way.

Ella sketching. – pen and wash

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I wish one and all a beautiful beginning of Autumn.

Magical hummingbird symbolise for me the ‘unseen magic’ in our world.      

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A Biento