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In the middle of September I set off for a painting trip to Andalusia in southern Spain with the aim of some intensive painting in a different environment. I certainly got that!

I stayed at Joya Arte + Ecologia at Los Gazquez, near Velez Rubio in the mountains of Andalusia. It is a hot dry desert region of baked blonde earth, white dirt roads, almond terraces and mountain Pines. Water is a precious resource as we discovered when encouraged to shower surrounded by buckets to catch any otherwise wasted spray. Los Gazquez is an old farmstead lovingly converted by artists Donna and Simon and now run as a centre for Artist residencies, and courses. It is completely ‘off-grid’, generating its own electricity, harvesting and recycling its own water and managing its own waste. There is no TV, no mobile signal and very limited wifi which was actually very good for productivity as there were none of the usual distractions! The nearest village is a 20 minute ‘off road’ drive over a mountain. Luckily the food was excellent and the company easy and, as we were all so tired by the end of the day, we were perfectly happy that the only ‘nightlife’ consisted of listening to the cicadas and walking the goat!

The group consisted of myself and 6 other artists (all lovely) gently mentored/tutored by expressive Landscape Painter Louise Baalam, RWA, NEAC  from the New School of Art. 


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I painted for about 8-10 hours every day. Here are just a few of the results, a mix of painted sketches, small studies and thick impasto paintings. The focus was on painting ‘fast and loose’ to try to capture the light and unique colours of this amazing landscape. It was a real challenge for me as just about everything was the polar opposite of my usual lush green, cool, damp, coastal environment!


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