Tag Archives: Ria formosa national park

Art in the Algarve 2017 – Overview – http://www.artinthealgarve.com

Another beautiful stay at the School in Alhao Portugal – http://www.artinthealgarve.com.         One week of sketching and writing on my own and a second week of tutoring a lovely group.

The group numbered fifteen and represented several different countries, UK, Canada, Cyprus, France and Ireland.

Here we are about to enjoy one of Margarida’s wonderful freshly cooked meals. 20-11-15 - 1 (972)I have written several blogs about the School and how conducive it is to the creative process.     David Clarke, founder of the School clearly understood what was needed.   He was a man of vision, and I for one will always be grateful for his gift to artists.

Three of the group working in one of the internal courtyards. 20-11-15 - 1 (981)Somewhat like the Tardis the outside doesn’t give away its many different levels, rooms, studio, and courtyards.

There is much to observe within the boundaries of the School.      The shadow play alone is magical.

150 year old olive tree in one of the School’s courtyards – producing exquisite shadow play. 20-11-15 - 1 (849)

20-11-15 - 1 (851)Given that the School sits in the middle of the old town of Olhao, which is a working fishing town – it is not necessary to get into a car during the entire week.   Everything one could need is within minute’s walking distance…..and for many sketching and painting around the town is an endless source of interest and inspiration

One of the many alley ways of Olhao…..20-11-15 - 1 (1056)Olhao history is long and fascinating…..Dating back to Roman times, with a clear influence from the Moors and Northern Africa, (400 miles away)     Much of the town is in need of restoration…however, this gives it a special kind of charm.  It is not the usual golf course, commercial touristy Algarve that we tend to see on advertisements….it is quite unique and very ‘earthy’.

Alleyway behind the School. 20-11-15 - 1 (145)Two of the many old doors that can be seen throughout the town…..along with decorative tiles ImageMarry the character of the town with the fish markets, busy fishing port and the beautiful Barrier Islands which are just fifteen minutes away, part of the Ria Formosa National Park, and it soon becomes apparent that there is much to explore, observe and paint.

Fish Market just a minutes walk from School  –olhao market

As is custom we were taken by Nuno and his lovely dog to Armona Island (10 minute  boat road) for a day’s painting and lunch at the Armona 4 Restaurant.   Armona is one of the Barrier Islands offering  beautiful beaches and given that there are no cars on the Island a respite from our busy world.

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Children playing with shells on Armona….20-11-15 - 1 (913)

One of Armona’s beaches…..magic

A mental image I am left with from this year was of one of the group floating in the small roof pool as a stork flew directly over her.       There was definitely magic in the air…..20-11-15 - 1 (832)Storks that nesting in Olhao. Image

Along with examples of the Group’s work, plus an outline of how the day/week is structured – in my next blog I will share more pictures of the Group sketching and painting in and around the School.

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During this visit and my short trip to Cardiff just before leaving for Portugal….Six Degrees of Separation were very much in play….in other words the magical hummingbirds were indeed weaving their magic.    More about this in my next blogs.

On that note, I can’t resist but to leave you with two of those magical little creatures…..

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A bientôt

 

 

 

 

The Art School – Olhao, Portugal – http://www.artinthealgarve.com – (5)

On the final day of our week….we visited the beautiful island of Armona, which is accessible by water taxi from Olhao.

Leaving Olhao.    It takes approximately fifteen minutes. 

P1160012We arrived at the dock in Olhao to see the welcome site of Nuno and his lovely dog Boli.    

Nuno is a marine biologist, and his family have lived for many generations on the Algarve.    The perfect person to tell us about this unique coastal lagoon, – which is a paradise for bird watchers and a rich source of shell fish and leading contributor to the local economy.

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Two of the group enjoying the ride along with Boli.

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Armona is part of the Ria Formosa National Park – an area which is a very important stop over point in the migration routes between Europe and Africa – and so much more.     

The largest population of sea horses in the world are found here, although because of new fishing methods their numbers are sadly dwindling.

Nuno showed us this beauty.   It is the male sea horse that becomes pregnant. 

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Arriving at Armona.    

The Island is approx 9 Kilometres (6 miles) in length by 1 Km (0.6 mile) wide.    It has quite a large community of beach houses and several cafes/bars and a well stocked shop.    There are no cars on the Island, which of course I love. 

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It reminds me of some of the outer islands in the Bahamas.  A perfect place to rent a cottage for a month (out of season) to paint, write and think. 

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Once again, we had sketch books and cameras at the ready and a lot of beautiful work was produced that day. 

I just happened to see this cat against the white wall and loved the drama.    Managed to take about four images before the cat spied me and disappeared.

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I encourage people to go off on their own to find places where they can sit, focus, observe and sketch.

One of the group enjoying a lovely moment with nature and sketch book. 

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Bougainvillea everywhere……

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Many interesting nooks, crannies and jumping off points for paintings, in between the cottages….

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And the beaches are lovely.

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We had a fantastic lunch experience on the roof of Armona 4 – a restaurant situated by the arrival dock.        Lots of grilled fresh fish and vegetables – along with conversation and laughter.  

This is John, who looked after us so well, taking a much deserved rest after lunch. 

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Before we left the Island, John made us his specialty cocktail…..and my oh my was it special:)

P1160141Then back to The School for our final evening meal together.      This is the walk form the water taxi towards the school.

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I now look forward to returning to Olhao during the last week in June, in the autumn/winter for  some long painting weekends and again next April.

Meanwhile, the Hummingbirds continue to weave their magic.

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I hope everyone enjoys a lovely weekend.    I plan to paint:)

A Bientôt

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

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A bientôt