Tag Archives: olhao algarve portugal

Art in the Algarve – establishing rhythms

As mentioned in my last post, David Clark has organised a cohesive structure at the Art in the Algarve school, allowing for each tutor to focus on the job at hand.    I was delighted to find that life and costume models are available, which is something to consider for further workshops, but for this my first time at the school, it was necessary for me and the group to become comfortable with one another and acquaint ourselves with our surroundings.

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I find that when a group of individuals who don’t know one another meet in a new place things can often seem overwhelming…..where to begin?

My first suggestion was that everyone pick a spot in the studio where they could lay out their supplies – easy to grab, without shuffling though bags or running back and forth to rooms. 

Given that I always emphasise the necessity of warming up before a days painting, the next stop was to gather in the two courtyards….and begin to observe the exquisite shadow play…..and at the same time, make rapid notes and sketches. 

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I always begin a watercolour workshops regardless of the different levels of skill, with the idea that we are all starting from scratch.  One of the key elements of the course, was to use sketch books for gathering information, thoughts, memories and observations, and as the week developed transfer those thoughts and ideas to larger paintings.

I also begin every day with rapid watercolour demonstrations, emphasising the importance of adding any written notes to sketches, i.e. time of day, etc. 

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Given that most people on the course were interested in honing watercolour techniques, on our first morning the apple once again became a great subject for rapid observational sketches.     By  using such simple subject matter, observational skills were honed and basic watercolour techniques practised, allowing the group to observe more clearly what was happening with the constant change of light and shade. 

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These rapid observational sketches  and our sketch books became the foundation block for everything else we did during the week. 

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The Art in the Algarve school is a feast for the eyes.    So much to see, and of course the wonderful olive tree, (symbolising peace,)  meandering up through the different levels of the building is a constant source of inspiration. 

A rapid demo in my sketch book of the olive tree….again demonstrating the importance of allowing the sketch book to be a place for thoughts, ideas….nothing has to be perfect.   It’s all about seeing and expressing thoughts as quickly as possible.  Capturing a moment. 

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On our first day we were introduced to Margarida’s superb food at lunch time…..and here she is in the kitchen. Image

 

Then in the evening after a most satisfying day’s painting, getting to know one another and exploring of the town we ate at a local Tapas bar, and oh what fun it was…..and the food again superb. 

As we walked back to the school after our meal at around 10.30 p.m. we were all amazed to observe the cleanliness of the streets. 

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My post tomorrow will focus on our visit to the weekly Ohlao market.

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