Monday, 8 May 2017

Portugal 2017 - paintings

The Algarve in Portugal is such a great place to paint. Inspiration is easily found amongst the dramatic cliffs and beaches and at this time of year the vegetation is quite lush with many wildflowers and more unusual looking cactus, yucca, palms and olive trees.

I loved the colours of the rocks and sand which had a unique warmth in the sunshine. Even in more overcast conditions there is much to offer. The painting below was done from the pier in Lagos and perched on the right is the Mayor's residence. I was lucky with the timing of the tide with this one.

'From the pier, Lagos' - 8x16in, oil on board

Here's one below done just after the above, again from the pier in Lagos. I wanted to capture the warmth from the ochre/sienna stone in the cliffs which takes a bit of getting used in painting terms. The shifts in colours/tone were often very subtle, as was the aerial perspective.

'Warm cliffs, Lagos beach', 8x10in - oil on board

Another one from the pier in Lagos below. I was determined to use at least one of the larger boards I'd managed to get into my luggage and this was done on a more overcast day which still provides lovely colours from the rocks, sea and sand. The mayor's house is perched above cliff.

'Low tide, Lagos beach', 9.25x23.5in - oil on board

We found an interesting subject with the rooftops of Luz in the foreground where I painted alongside Tim and Valerie whilst the others headed down towards the beach.

'Looking over Luz', 8x12in - oil on board

It was quite a challenge to make the warm cliffs recede, especially on overcast days. It ended up being very subtle shifts in tone and colour and often with surprisingly little blue (perhaps reduced by the warmth of the local colour in the stone)

'Sea stack, Praia Donna Ana', 11x14in - oil on board

There was an old fort perched on the headland at Sagres and myself, Tim and Haidee opted to paint it whilst the others were camped just down the road. The light was quite strong as it was mid afternoon and I was flagging in the hear a bit. After a couple of false starts I managed to make some sort of  composition which just hinted at the fort in the top right. The distant headland and fort were both very long and flat so it was a tricky subject to deal with. 

'Fortaleza de Sagres', 8x10in - oil on board

I hiked around loaded with full kit in the baking heat for too long before attempting the one below. Having marched along the cliffs I thought I'd just try the beach below but it was about 150 steps down a long wooden staircase! Still, the subject was a real treat and I was tucked away at the back of the beach, keeping topped up with factor 50 as the sun was fierce and at it's highest point. I loved the way the rocks seemed to have subtle reflected light bouncing off from different sources.

'Bathers at Praia Da Camillo', oil on board - 10x12in

For something a bit different I painted a couple of pieces around the garden and this arrangement below caught my eye with the lovely white walls creating strong angles to contrast with the softer plants.

'Garden archway', 11x14in - oil on board

The piece below was painted on a very dull/wet afternoon and I was lucky to find a spot that was vaguely sheltered under a tree. However, the rain intensified and eventually I struggled to see what was on the painting or palette. Still, glad to have captured something from the moment.

'Terrace with plants', 11x14in - oil on board

Karl found a great spot with some lovely olive trees and I joined him for this small one below. 

'Olive trees, Cama Da Vaca', 10x6in - oil on board

'View from Cama Da Vaca', 8x16in - oil on board

We had a cloudy day in Arrifana and the flat light wasn't ideal. After a fruitless walk down to the beach I decided the others had the better idea staying back at the top of the cliff. I eventually settled on this view of the main headland with it's accompanying stack at the end.

'Beach at Arrifana', 8x14in - oil on board

This one below is a small 6x8in and needed a bit of resolving afterwards to restate the foregroud. It was nice to capture the glinting light which appeared momentarily, as did the flash of yellowy warmth on the slice of rock in the centre. The coast path seems popular with walkers and understandably so.

'Early afternoon stroll, Cama Da Vaca', 6x8in - oil on board

Some of the most dramatic coastline we saw was at Praia Da Cordoama which we also viewed from a loftier perch before heading down closer to paint. I love this sort of subject and you feel very in touch with elements whilst at work. In terms of painting experiences it doesn't get much better in my book 😊

'High sun, Praia Da Cordoama', 10x14in - oil on board

'Praia Da Cordoama', 8x16in - oil on board

Portugal 2017 - a few photos

Recently I was kindly invited by David Bachmann for fantastic week of painting with friends on the Algarve in Portugal. It's fair to say I enjoyed every single minute and it was great to paint and socialise with friends and soak up the wonderful coastline. It was a real tonic to get out with the easel and paint in the sunshine (well, with the odd bit of rain here and there) after what had seemed a very long and drab UK winter!

Amongst the group were David Bachmann, Tim King, Karl Terry, John Stillman, Tony Dakin, Mo Teeuw, Haidee-Jo Summers, Valerie Pirlot, Andrew Roberts, Mike Richardson and Rob (I can't recall Rob's surname - cellist with the Seville orchestra). I thought it would be nice to share a few group/action appears we were generally either painting or eating/socialising 😊

I'm perched on the cliffs here painting at Praia Donna Ana 

Stunning views to be had on the wilder west coast (Praia Da Cordoama). Being on the Atlantic coast it has certain similarities with the Cornish coastline with dramatic cliffs and beaches.


Tim attempting to convince us the view was best from a more precarious perch!

A well earned lunch break in the midday sun.

Valerie working on painting having just flown in earlier that day!

Tim at work

Karl in his element, painting in the gardens

Tim somehow found his way to this seemingly inaccessible spot (above) from where he produced a lovely painting on the house and surrounding foliage.

Valerie, Tim, Mo, Karl and Tony lined up for action

Haidee, Rob and Karl on the cliffs near the house.

David taking in the wide angle view of the beach at Lagos.

A nice leisurely lunch.
(left to right Tony, David P, Karl, John, Andrew, David B, Mo, Haidee, Valerie and Tim) 

A happy bunch enjoying a stunning view on the west coast.
(left to right Rob, Mo, David B, David P, Haidee, Tim, Tony, Karl, John and Mike) 

Tim getting a little respite from the rain with my improvised umbrella rig.

Paintings in the next post.