Tag Archives: www.artinthealgarve.com

Creativity – Use it or lose it….

I attended a gathering this week where I was asked what kind of art I made.    This is a loaded question and one I often find difficult to answer.       I said I love colour and believe that the creative process in all its forms is the key to emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing.      I was then asked if I thought everyone had a desire to create.   My answer was a resounding – yes.

This years visit to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. 6ABA8BCB-D0B8-40B2-859B-17819F7B2564After returning home I thought more about my response.

Our inborn creativity has to be nurtured in the same way that we care for our minds and bodies.      For example, if we allowed one of our limbs to shrivel and atrophy  – we would always be aware of the many things we might have done with the full use of that limb.       It is much the same with creativity.     Not to use it in one form or another, brings frustration often accompanied by a sense of loss.   A loss that in many ways we are unable to identify.     Use it or lose it really does apply. 

Jayanthi Rani at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 20-11-15 - 1 (1131)This beautiful watercolour was painted by Jayanthi Rani who I met five years ago when she came to my painting course in Portugal….and since then it has been my great privilege to watch her work blossom and grow.       You can see more of Jayanthi’s work on her FB page. 25FD0122-DEE0-4FCF-A3C4-22A8C3D69E8AIt seems to me that as we try to fill the ever widening holes within as our collective senses are being deadened through the over use of technology, our frustration levels grow and the need for a creative outlet even more acute.

 

Nurturing my little cottage garden in Wales from a barren, fallow patch, was a creative project I loved.       til August 10 1037Cooking, sewing, knitting, writing, dance, music – I could go on and on.     When I observe people using a myriad of creative disciplines – I see people who in that moment feel a sense of contentment and wellbeing.

I am off to Crickhowell, Wales (AKA The Magical Town of Crickadoon) on Monday and will hopefully return with lots of new ideas and sketches.

For now I leave you with a happy moment from last year along with a watercolour of the beautiful Use Valley.

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A Bientôt

Cat on Armona Island, Portugal.

P1160088 I return to Olhao, Portugal on Thursday for a few days….and so until then will be showing some photographs that I took in April.

This sequence, of a perfectly placed black cat standing in front of a white house on the island of Armona, struck me because of the wonderful shadow play of the tree against the white wall.   Note that the shadows are almost as dark as the tree and cat.  P1160089

The island of Armona is a fifteen minute boat taxi ride from Olhao where the art school is located – http://www.artinthealgarve.com

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There are no cars on the island, which is just how I like it.    It would be a great place to rent a cottage for a month, off season,  to write, paint, ponder, etc.

A bientôt

The Olive Tree – art school – Olhao Portugal – http://www.artinthealgarive.com

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There is a beautiful olive tree in one of the courtyards at the school in Olhao, Portugal http://www.artinthealgarve.com

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Not only does it provide shade, beauty and olives – it also provides endless shadow play observation – which is what this watercolour sequence is all about. 

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I have spent time in ancient olive groves where I have been mesmerised by their life force and could well imagine the Ents of Tolkien’s Middle-Earth.

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The olive tree symbolises peace.

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The olive tree is surely the richest gift of Heaven.   Thomas Jefferson.

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A Bientôt

An enigmatic young woman

During the recent painting week in Olhao Portugal, we enjoyed a delicious meal at the 7 Imeio Wine Bar – a place I highly recommend for atmosphere, food and service.  http://www.artinthealgarve.com

From our position in the bar we could see an enigmatic young woman.       One of those individuals who captures the attention of an entire room…..Clearly very beautiful, she was much more.

Elaine, one of our group, managed to sneak a couple of photographs which I used as jumping off points for the following two sketches.     Rapid watercolour on a cadmium orange ground. 

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She seemed to be on the one hand totally in her own world, and on the other completely aware of the stir she was causing.   

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As much as I would enjoy painting her, I could also see where she might trigger ideas for a short story……She definitely possessed the je ne said quoi factor.

A Bientôt

watercolour exercise – Olhao, Portugal

David, (AKA Bazil) owns a restaurant and wine bar, 7 Imeio Wine Bar, just a few minutes walk from the Art School in Alhao.    I used a photograph of the restaurant (thank you Jude) as a jumping off point for this sketch.     http://www.artinthealgarve.com

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Initially I made a rapid sketch using brush and yellow ochre….quickly indicating the darkest areas in the image.

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In this frame, I add the shadow play on the front of the buildings…always making sure to move colours around.   this brings a sense of balance and cohesiveness to the overall image.

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Allowing the brush to dance around the image, I add more detail….

It’s important to note that less is always better than more when capturing an image such as this,   It allows the viewer’s eye and imagination to fill in the gaps.…..By adding too much detail, spontaneity, the key element of watercolour is lost.

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Magical Hummingbird – drinking from the sweet nectar of life. 

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A Bientôt

Seeing beyond the obvious.

In my book ‘The Apple Exercise’ – I talk about seeing everything in a myriad of different ways.

The images on this post were taken at the Art School in Olhao on my recent visit.     I am looking at the courtyard, steps, wall and canopy in the Pool House from different points of viewbeyond what might be considered the obvious. 

http://www.artinthealgarve.com

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In fact within each frame shown here there are many different images.

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When I walked into the courtyard of the School House, I immediately loved the triangular shape of the canopy along side the softer Bougainvillea.

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Again, looking at the same subject from a different point of view – gives me new and exciting information.

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and so it goes…..

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I have begun work on some images reflecting the shapes and shadow play within the numerous alley-ways of Olhao, which I will share as they develop.      Observing one small area, is like looking at a jigsaw puzzle of shapes, lights and darks. 

Right up my alley, you might say:)

The Magical Hummingbirds bring vibrant colour to begin the week.

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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