Asparagus

I love spring. The first proper heat of the sun after the winter with a side dish of the most tender vegetables. What could be sweeter?

As soon as I bought this bunch of locally grown asparagus I was struck by that yummy combination of zingy green and mauve, it was a test of will to not eat it before I’d painted it.

I had half in a Thai inspired soup and the other in an omelette…delicious!

asparagus, esparrago, spring, vegetables, pen and watercolour, watercolour, water color, acuarela, sketch, food, illustration

Dulce de Belén

dulce de belen, cake, custard tart, ceres, vejer, vejer de la frontera,, pen and watercolour, watercolour, water color, acuarela, sketch, food, illustration

This is a ‘Dulce de Belén’, a delicious custard tart which originates from Portugal, made by  Ceres, Vejer’s very best baker! 

Always nice to have a sweet treat at the end of a sketching session!

Orchid

orchid, orchid, flowers, pen and watercolour, watercolour, water color, acuarela, sketch, illustration

I’m not very good at looking after these beauties…all the more reason to paint them before they drop off!

As an experimental afterthought I sprinkled a bit of bleach to lift the colour, worked rather well I think!

This one is for my lovely mum! Happy Mother’s Day, I love you dearly xxx

Frog Fountain

frog, fountain, plaza de espana, vejer, vejer de la frontera, vejer sketchers, pen and watercolour, watercolour, water color, acuarela, sketch, illustration

The Vejer Sketchers met up for the first time in months last Saturday. It was gorgeously sunny and we congregated in Vejer’s Plaza de España.

I chose a quick and simple subject; one of the water spouting ceramic frogs which forms part of the fountain.

And here we are posing with our sketches in front of said fountain!

vejer sketchers, vejer, plaza de espana

Read Me!

reading glasses, glasses, read, me, spectacles, pen and watercolour, watercolour, water color, acuarela, sketch, illustration, gafas, gafas de leer, eyewear

I was inspired to capture my reading glasses in a pen and watercolour sketch, then decided to draw extra text in pen that’s not waterproof so that it would smudge when I washed over it. A nice little experiment!

Strawberries from Conil

strawberries, strawberry, fruit, fresa, fresas, conil, fruta, pen and watercolour, watercolour, water color, sketch, food, illustration, ilustracion, primavera, spring

It’s strawberry season! And you can’t do better than eat the crop from Conil….yum!

It took some discipline to sketch mine in pen and watercolour before wolfing them down.

Impresiones de Cabo Verde

Hace aproximadamente un año una buena amiga mía se mudó a Sal, una de las diez islas volcánicas frente a la costa de África que compone el archipiélago de Cabo Verde.

santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde, flag, shaddowMe dijo que allí nunca había invierno, de modo que febrero me pareció un buen mes para visitarla. Y eso fue todo lo que me documenté antes de viajar.
Oí que alguien mostraba interés por Cabo Verde como destino de vacaciones y por eso he colgado unos consejos, fotos y bocetos en este blog.

Click here to read the English version

Moneda

El escudo Caboverdiano : 100 CVE = aprox 1€

En lugares turísticos se puede pagar con euros (a veces solo se aceptan billetes y se da la vuelta en escudos) pero si vas a ir a sitios más rurales es recomendable comprar escudos de antemano en uno de los numerosos bancos o cajeros automáticos que hay en las cuidades.

Lengua

A no ser que hables creole (poco probable) te ayudará mucho si hablas portugués (yo no lo hablo pero mi español fue útil). Se habla francés en muchos lugares. 

Vuelos

Volé desde Sevilla a Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (con Ryanair) y luego hasta Sal (con Binter). Hay vuelos directos desde Lisboa hasta varias islas de Cabo Verde.

Visa

Una visa para una estancia de un mes cuesta 25€ y puedes conseguirla cuando llegues a cualquier aeropuerto de Cabo Verde al presentar tu pasaporte.

Impuesto turístico en alojamiento

Hay un impuesto de 2€ por noche para extranjeros que se quedan en Cabo Verde lo cual se añade al precio anunciado de habitaciones 

Temporada de lluvias

Septiembre y octubre.

Santa María, Isla de Sal

La ciudad de Santa María está a media hora en coche desde el pequeñito aeropuerto de Sal; el viaje cuesta 12€ / 1200 CVE en taxi o, si andas ligero puedes salir a la carretera principal fuera del edificio de la terminal y parar un colectivo (furgoneta compartida), gastar sólo 1€ / 100CVE y viajar como un lugareño.

cape fruit, santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde, breakfast, brunch, lunch, smoothies, natural bar, fresh fruit, healthy eating, coffee, salad, vegetarian food

Prácticamente el primer lugar al que mi amiga me llevó fue el bar natural  Cape Fruit…woohoo!

Batidos y zumos super deliciosos, fruta fresca y yogur casero, crepes, tortillas, tostadas,  pasteles, café rico…todo servido con una sonrisa en un entorno encantador, relajado y acogedor. Siempre estan liados….

 

cape fruit, santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde, breakfast, brunch, lunch, smoothies, natural bar, fresh fruit, healthy eating, smoothie, banana, strawberry, coconut, pen and watercolour, sketch, food, illustration, vegan

Huelga decir que yo desayunaba allí todos los días de mi estancia en Santa María (aparte del miércoles que cierran)…y finalmente inmortalizé mi batido favorito en rotulador y acuarela (arriba). Es de plátano, fresa y coco mezclado con agua, por cierto, el batido no el boceto.

cape fruit, santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde, breakfast, brunch, lunch, smoothies, natural bar, fresh fruit, healthy eating, pancake, banana, grape, papaya, kiwi fruit, honey, water color. pen and watercolour, sketch, food, illustration, vegan

Después de eso me enfrenté al crépe con fruta fresca y miel (arriba)…ciertamente se abre el apetito al contemplar la comida durante una hora y pico antes de meterte de lleno en ella!

cape fruit, santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde, breakfast, brunch, lunch, smoothies, natural bar, fresh fruit, healthy eating, smoothie, banana, strawberry, coconut, pen and watercolour, sketch, food, illustration, vegan

Aquí está el equipo dulce y encatantador de Cape Fruit; muchísimas gracias a ellos por los desayunos, por dar la bienvenida a mis bocetos con tanto entusiasmo y por colgarlos en su página de facebook, y también por regalarme una taza de Cape Fruit la que es ahora parte de mi rutina diaria del desayuno en casa.

santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde,

santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde, fishing boatA continuación llegamos a la playa y es bastante larga, con arena blanca y fina. El mar, aunque un poco frío al entrar, estaba tranquilo y resultaba muy refrescante.

Había bastante viento todos los días que estuve  en Santa María, que es conocido como centro de wind y kite surf. También puedes bucear si es tu rollo.

Hay algunos grandes complejos hoteleros más adelante y han creado problemas con el suministro de agua. Sal es fundamentalmente una isla desierta, sin agua natural y las plantas desalinizadoras están luchando para satisfacer la demanda.

santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde

santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde, water color. pen and watercolour, sketch, travel, illustration

El muelle de aquí arriba se convierte en mercado de pescado cuando se traen las capturas diarias; mi boceto tiene un elemento 3D porque al soplar el viento hizo que la arena se quedara pegada en a la pintura aún húmeda.

santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde, construction

 

En general, lejos de los establecimientos elegantes turistícos al lado de la playa  Santa María tiene un aire desolado, con mucha construcción media terminada, muchos edificios abandonados, bastante basura y muy poca vegetación …

¡… pero no hay mosquitos!

 

 

santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde, washing line

santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde, superbok

santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde, derelict

Y no es sin su encanto.

santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde, catchupa

Catchupa es el plato nacional de Cabo Verde; una mezcla deliciosa lentamente estofada de frijoles, verduras y pescado o carne.

santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde, front line apartments

Se me ofrecieron sexo y marihuana en distintas ocasiones, que yo decliné cortésmente, ¡pero era bueno saber que estaban disponibles!

santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde

¡El restaurante Kossivi hace muy buen sushi!

También disfruté unas partidas de póker con mi amiga y sus compañeros, aunque no gané nada más que un par de manos. Apostar es ilegal en Sal aunque acaban de abrir un casino, pero me han dicho que las mesas de póker son una estafa a 25€ por mano.

santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde. church

Mindelo, Isla de Sao Vicente

Decidí buscar más música y cultura, así que reservé un vuelo de Binter desde Sal hasta Sao Vicente (40€ por trayecto, 40 minutos aprox.).

Un taxi desde el aeropuerto de Sao Vicente, que lleva el nombre de la célebre Caboverdiana cantante Cesária Évora, a la ciudad portuaria de Mindelo tarda 20 minutos y cuesta 1000 CVE / 10€. No hay autobús o servicio colectivo por lo que podía percibir.

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde

 

Saqué la foto de arriba desde la azotea de mi hotel (izquierda); barato y algo polvoriento, sus principales atracciones eran la buena vista y su ubicación, 5 minutos a pie del puerto y del centro de la ciudad.

 

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde, ferry, port, boat

Fui en busca de alimento y agua tan pronto como llegué a Mindelo y me enteré de que iba a haber un concierto gratuito en la plaza de la ciudad esa misma noche.

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde

Dado que soy inglesa, llegué demasiado temprano, pude escuchar la prueba de sonido y ver la plaza llenarse poco a poco con una muchedumbre muy amable mientras estuve sentada en el escalón de una tienda cerrada bajo la luz de la luna llena. No tengo ni idea de quiénes tocaron, pero eran excelentes y le eché el ojo al bailarín Mandingo; un hombre vestido con una falda de hojas, agarrando un palo largo y con peinado de mohicano que bailaba con ritmo hipnótico entre la multitud, parando para fotos a cambio de monedas. 

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde, water color. pen and watercolour, sketch, travel, illustration

Al día siguiente hice un boceto (arriba) y se acercó una mujer de París que se detuvo para charlar un ratito. Yo no la podía ayudar con las direcciones de la parada de autobús que ella buscaba y ella me aseguró que la playa de la ciudad de Mindelo era agradable y que la excursión de senderismo que yo planeaba en otra isla era fácil … ¡ambos falsos!

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde, shutters

Deambulé hasta mi habitación para descansar…pero en seguida oí tambores… la clase de percusión que requiere ser investigada. Bajé a la recepción y les pregunté “¿Qué es ese ruido?” “Ah, eso es el Mandingo…” fue la respuesta. Así, al no tener ni idea de lo que significaba, salí y guiada por el sonido anduve hacia la parte alta de la ciudad…

Cuando llegué hubo un grupo pequeño que se reunía alrededor de los tamborileros y bailarines y se marcharon calle abajo…

….más y más gente se unía a la multitud todo el tiempo, la gente arrojaba dinero desde balcones, el ritmo y el ambiente festivo eran absolutamente energizantes y contagiosos, yo no pude menos de sonreírme de oreja a oreja.

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde, mandingo, carnaval, drumming

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde, mandingo, carnaval, drumming

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde, mandingo, carnaval, drumming

Este tipo me ofreció un poco de la cerveza que bebía de ese cuerno que sostiene y me dijo que él y sus compis fueron cubiertos en carbón de leña para hacerlos más oscuros, me parecia más bien el aceite de motor y terminé untada con bastante… ¡podría haber sido una de esas situaciones perdidas con la traducción!

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde, mandingo, carnaval, drumming

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde, mural

La procesión a la que me incorporé era sólo un ensayo para el carnaval, que se celebró el 28 de febrero, el día en que yo debí salir de Cabo Verde…

Me encantó Mindelo: la yuxtaposición musical de influencias africanas y  portuguesas…

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde

…. el contraste entre los edificios coloniales bien conservados 

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde,

y los deliciosamente ruinosos….

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde,

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde, abandoned house

.. .y los toques modernos estrafalarios y reciclados…

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde, upcycled doors

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde,

…y también el náutico.

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde, fishing boat

El año que viene me gustaría estar en Mindelo para el carnaval, pero preferería quedarme en alojamientos más confortbles como la Casa Branca, algo pituco y justo al lado del lugar polvoriento y apagado en que me alojé; fue recomendado por una pareja inglesa que la conocí en el ferry. Sirven un buen desayuno (incluido en el precio de la habitación) y cenas sabrosas de estilo tapas.

También comí bien en La Pérgola, donde ofrecen buenos platos vegetarianos y en el Café Royal, aunque yo evitaría Casa Café Mindelo porque es algo turístico, caro y antipático… tal vez tuvieran un mal día.

De la isla de Sao Vicente a la isla de Santo Antao por transbordador

Había oído que la isla de Santo Antao fue hermosa y que el Valle de Paúl en particular fue espectacularmente exuberante y un buen sitio para hacer senderismo así que planeé un viaje de un día.

Pasé por la oficina en Mindelo de Nobai, un agencia de trekking, para tranquilizarme de que sería fácil caminar por la ruta que quería sin guía y dentro de mi límite de dos horas. La agradable mujer francesa me aseguró que sí (¡mentiras!) me dio un mapa y consejos de transporte desde el puerto hasta el punto de inicio de mi caminata.

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde, ferry, port, boat

Hay dos compañías de transbordadores que dirigen servicios del puerto de Mindelo a Puerto Novo en la isla de Santo Antao.

Los ferry salen a las 07:00 y 08:00 y vuelven a las 16:00 y 17:00, el viaje dura una hora y cuesta 800CVE / 8€.

Compré mi billete en la oficina  del puerto y al día siguiente, Día de San Valentín, desayuné temprano para que llegara al puerto a las 7:30 con tiempo para embarcarme en la travesía de 08:00.

mindelo, sao vicente, san antao, cabo verde, cape verde, ferry, port, boat

 

Los barcos son muy puntuales y se ofrecen bolsas de mareo por si acaso. Había tomado una pastilla de Dramamina y el mar estaba tranquilo por tanto el único drama era la vista de peces voladores que saltaban en la espuma de la proa.

Se quedan aerotransportados una eternidad, brillan el azul iridiscente en la luz del sol y realmente agitan sus aletas como alas. ¡No intenté fotografiarlos!

 

mindelo, sao vicente, san antao, cabo verde, cape verde, ferry, port, boat

mindelo, sao vicente, san antao, cabo verde, cape verde, ferry, port, boatmindelo, sao vicente, san antao, cabo verde, cape verde, ferry, port, boat

mindelo, sao vicente, san antao, cabo verde, cape verde, ferry, port, boat

Porto Novo, Isla de Santo Antao

port novo, san antao, cabo verde, cape verde, ferry, port, boat

Había una gran aglomeración frente a la salida de la terminal del transbordador en Porto Novo, se ofrecían transporte en forma de taxis privados y colectivos compartidos, quesos artesanales, frutas y verduras. Para evitar turbación es útil tener claro exactamente dónde quieres ir, cómo quieres viajar y cuánto esperas pagar antes de enfrentarte a la multitud.
La terminal de transbordador de Porto Novo también cuenta con un café con excelente tarta y café y un cajero automático.

Por cierto, una de las travesías de ferry que hice fue bastante áspera y había varias personas (principalmente niños) vomitando en las bolsas ya mencionadas.

port novo, santo antao, cabo verde, cape verde, ferry, port, boat

De Porto Novo al cráter Cova de Paúl 

Según los consejos de la guía de Nobai contraté un taxi privado para llevarme por el camino largo y abrupto al extinto cráter volcánico de Cova de Paúl desde donde planeaba descender por el valle de Paúl a pie.

taxi, port novo, san antao, cabo verde, cape verde, valentines day

Costó 2000 CVE / 20€ que parece tan elevado como el camino pero no es una ruta popular y el conductor no tiene absolutamente ninguna posibilidad de conseguir una tarifa de vuelta.

cape verde, cabo verde, san antao, port novo, cavo de paul

Arriba, Porto Novo apenas visible en la costa y la isla de Sao Vicente en el fondo…

cape verde, cabo verde, san antao, port novo, cavo de paul

….adelante y arriba…

cape verde, cabo verde, san antao, cavo de paul

…hasta llegar al cráter volcánico en la parte superior, lo que es ahora tierra agrícola.

Antes de dejarme el taxista me señaló la ruta correcta “Has de bajar por allí, a la vuelta de la esquina, luego tendrás que subir de nuevo para  atravesar el desfiladero por allí y llegar hasta el valle de Paúl” me dijo en portugués. ‘Vale’, le dije, sintiéndome nerviosa, “es fácil, ¿verdad?” “Sí, fácil, sólo tienes que seguir el camino”, respondió.

cape verde, cabo verde, san antao, cavo de paul

Así que partí a la vuelta de la esquina…

cape verde, cabo verde, san antao, cavo de paul

pero aunque pude ver a gente subiendo por la roca en el camino aterrazado no pude averiguar cómo seguirla así que empecé a juguetear con mi mapa ineficazmente hasta que algunos agricultores me gritaron direcciones que no entendí con señales de mano que sí….

cape verde, cabo verde, san antao, cavo de paul

cape verde, cabo verde, san antao, cavo de paul

…y yo estaba de nuevo en la vía correcta.

El Valle de Paúl desde arriba

cape verde, cabo verde, san antao, paul valley, vale do paul, hiking, terracing

Y ésta era la impresionante vista del Valle de Paúl que me saludó en cuanto salí del desfiladero. Me enamoré…

cape verde, cabo verde, san antao, paul valley, vale do paul, hiking, terracing

….y comenzé a andar cuesta abajo por el precioso camino sinuoso con las nalgas y rodillas apretadas, los tobillos torcidos, y los pies resbalando,  repitiéndome el mantra ‘no te rompas nada’ bajo el aliento.

paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa cape verde, cabo verde, san antao, paul valley, vale do paul, hiking, volcano

cape verde, cabo verde, san antao, paul valley, vale do paul, hiking, terracing

cape verde, cabo verde, san antao, paul valley, vale do paul, hiking, terracingLos niveles de cultivo y población aumentaban gradualmente al bajar y la temperatura subía.

cape verde, cabo verde, san antao, paul valley, vale do paul, hiking, terracing

Me detuve al lado del camino para comprar café molido de granos cultivados en el valle a algunas mujeres antes de llegar a un tipo de aldea.

cape verde, cabo verde, san antao, paul valley, vale do paul, hiking, terracing

Ya, después de más de dos horas caminando, mis piernas y pies se quejaban fuertemente, pero sólo había llegado a mitad de camino a mi destino de Vila das Pombas, un pueblo en la costa, donde sabía que podría conseguir transporte de regreso al puerto… así que tuve que seguir caminando… hasta que vi un colectivo y con gratitud lo paré. 

“¿Me puedes llevar a Pombas por favor? Necesito hacer mi camino hasta el ferry.’ ‘Seguro’, dijo el conductor en Inglés excelente, ‘de Pombas voy a Ponta do Sol para recoger a alguna gente que necesita estar en el Porto Novo para la travesía de las 16:00, ¿quieres ir conmigo?’ “¡Sí, por favor!”. No hay nada como una desviación no planificada para reanimarse.

Mientras viajamos a bastante velocidad hasta la costa en la furgoneta yo sabía que no había visto lo suficiente del Valle de Paúl…

Ponta do Sol

santo antao, ponta do sol, cape verde, cabo verde, fishing, boats, nets, floats

El conductor del colectivo  me dejó en el pequeño y animado puerto pesquero que se dobla como un mercado de pescado

santo antao, ponta do sol, cape verde, cabo verde, fishing, boats, nets, floats santo antao, ponta do sol, cape verde, cabo verde, fishing, boats, nets, floats santo antao, ponta do sol, cape verde, cabo verde, fishing, boats, nets, floats

y serpenteé calle arriba en busca de agua potable antes de ser recogida otra vez.

santo antao, ponta do sol, cape verde, cabo verde santo antao, ponta do sol, cape verde, cabo verde

A continuación hicimos un recorrido por el pueblo recogiendo a las personas de sus casas antes de salir a los 45 minutos de viaje de regreso a Porto Novo. El viaje entero me costó 500 CVE / 5€.

santo antao, ponta do sol, cape verde, cabo verde

Habiendo regresado a Mindelo en el ferry, me pasé el día siguiente cojeando sobre las dolorosas caderas y rodillas y cambiando mis planes de viaje para que yo pudiera volver a Santo Antão y explorar más del valle de Paúl.

El valle de Paúl desde el medio

Reservé una habitación en el hostal Chez Hujo en la zona  Boca de Figueiral del valle y organizaron un colectivo a recogerme desde Porto Novo que cuestan 350 CVE / 3,50€.

chez hujo, paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa

Mi habitación, en la parte de atrás del hostal, tenía una vista impresionante y costó 3500CVE / 35€ la noche, incluyendo un desayuno enorme, la mitad de lo cual guardaba para el almuerzo.

chez hujo, paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa

Chez Hujo ofrece también una cena enorme y sabrosa (pollo, cerdo o pescado con ensalada, arroz y patatas) a 800 CVE / 8€, lo cual es genial dado que el restaurante más cercano está a una media hora de caminata. Hay también un bar sencillo en la planta baja que se abre por las noches.

chez hujo, paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa, water color. pen and watercolour, sketch, travel, illustration

 

 

 

Me dieron una bienvenida muy cálida y en cuanto se me registró me puse a dibujar la vista desde la parte delantera del hostal, a la izquierda y abajo.

chez hujo, paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa

 

 

 

o curral,, paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa, water color. pen and watercolour, sketch, travel, illustration

 

 

 

Al día siguiente me subí por el camino durante una hora a la plantación bio O Curral y dibujé la impresionante vista desde el lado abierto de su restaurante (derecha) mientras disfrutaba de un plato de frutas frescas y yogur casero.

El lugar se llenó de senderistas a la hora del almuerzo que con entusiasmo se metieron en tazones de catchupa acompañados de botellas de cerveza.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

font cafe, paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa, water color. pen and watercolour, sketch, travel, illustration,

Este siguiente boceto del Font Café (arriba), que estaba a la vuelta de la esquina del hostal, me llevó unas cuantas sesiones durante un par de días para terminarlo. Debo decir que sentándote en una pared al lado de un camino durante horas es una gran manera de conocer a gente. Y la gente del Valle de Paúl es encantadora. Finalmente la anciana que vive en la choza de primer plano se acercó y me saludó. Le mostré el dibujo, “Bonito”, me dijo, “ya sientate bien en esa pared, para que no te caigas en el río”.

El Font Café (abajo) en el día de lavado, las ropas lavadas tendidas encima de las rocas para secarse. 

paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa

chez hujo, paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa, water color. pen and watercolour, sketch, travel, illustration

Una vez que los propietarios de Chez Hujo, Hudson (Caboverdiano) y Joel (Francés) descubrieron que yo era artista, me pidieron pintar el hostal (derecha y abajo).

chez hujo, paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa

Contra mi naturaleza introvertida acepté una invitación para cenar con algunos alemanes en el hostal una noche… resultaron ser meteorólogos majos, quienes habían llegado a Mindelo en un barco de investigación científica desde Montevideo y habían venido a Paúl para hacer un poco de senderismo antes de regresar a Alemania. Después de la cena todos nos dispersamos, yo estaba en mi habitación cuando escuché tambores en el valle y como yo estaba mirando afuera de mi ventana en la profunda oscuridad preguntándome: “¿salgo y sigo el ruido?” vi a algunos de los alemanes en el patio abajo preguntándose lo mismo. Por lo tanto, una pequeña pero alegre banda de nosotros caminamos hacia el siguiente pueblo bajo un cielo super estrellado para ver los tamborileros y sentir de cerca el ritmo en nuestros huesos. Después de media hora o así se habían arreglado las luces y el sistema de sonido en un camioneta y llegaron algunas chicas vestidas de trajes de carnaval y la procesión se puso en marcha cuesta abajo. La acompañamos al igual que una muchadumbre creciente a lo largo del camino….increíble y totalmente inesperada!

roche grande, paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa, water color. pen and watercolour, sketch, travel, illustration

Mi último boceto fue de la granja de cerdos (derecha y abajo).

paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa, roche grande, pig farm

El dibujo tardó un par de sesiones para terminarse, sentada en un muro en el borde de una gran caída que me hizo sentir mareada cuando miré hacia abajo.

paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa

 

 

 

 

 

Me encontré muy emocionada durante mis paseos por el valle. No sólo es la belleza de la naturaleza intemporal e impresionante, sino los elementos hechos por el hombre – chozas de piedra con techos de paja, las laderas terraplenadas y cuidadosamente cultivadas por todas partes, incluyendo los lechos de los ríos – son verdaderas obras de arte.

paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa, river, terracing paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa

Me sentí más inspirada para dibujar en el Valle de Paúl de lo que he estado en mucho tiempo, realmente no quise irme, y me encantaría volver y quedarme un rato más largo para dibujar y hacer senderismo.

Nunca se sabe, puede que aprenda algúnas palabras de criollo….

paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa, road works paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa

paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa, dry stone wall

 

Impressions of Cape Verde

About a year ago a good friend of mine moved to Sal, one of the ten volcanic islands off the northwest coast of Africa which makes up the archipelago of Cape Verde.  


santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde, flag, shaddowShe told me it´s a place with no winter so February seemed like a good time to pay her a visit. That was the extent of my pre-travel research.

A few people have expressed interest in Cape Verde as a holiday destination so I thought I’d put some tips, photos and sketches together in this blog.

¡Haz clic aquí para leer la versión española!

Currency

The Cape Verdean escudo: 100 CVE = approx 1€

In touristy areas you can pay in euros (sometimes only euro notes are accepted and you’ll get your change in escudos) but if you’re heading for more rural areas you’ll need to buy escudos beforehand. There are banks and cash points aplenty in towns so it’s no bother.

Language

Unless you speak Creole (hugely unlikely) it will be a major help if you speak Portuguese (I don’t, but my Spanish was useful). English is widely spoken on Sal but less so on other islands where French is very handy. Even shoddy O Level French. 

Flights

I flew from Seville to Las Palmas in Gran Canaria (Ryanair) and then on to Sal (Binter). There are direct flights from Lisbon to several of the Cape Verdean Islands.

Visa

You can buy a month’s visa for 25€ when you reach your destination airport in Cape Verde and present your passport.

Tourist tax on accommodation

There’s a 2€ per night tax added to the advertised room price for foreigners staying in Cape Verde.

Rainy season

September and October.

Santa Maria, Island of Sal 

The town of Santa Maria is about half an hour’s drive from tiny Sal airport; the journey costs 12€ / 1200CVE by taxi or, if you’re travelling light you can walk out to the main road from the terminal building and hail a colectivo (shared minivan), spend a mere 1€ / 100CVE and travel like a local.

cape fruit, santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde, breakfast, brunch, lunch, smoothies, natural bar, fresh fruit, healthy eating, coffee, salad, vegetarian food

Pretty much the first place my friend took me to was the natural bar Cape Fruit…woohoo! 

Super yummy fruit smoothies and juices, fresh fruit and homemade yoghurt, pancakes, omelettes, toasts and cakes, great coffee…all served with a smile in  lovely relaxed and cosy surroundings. They’re always busy….

cape fruit, santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde, breakfast, brunch, lunch, smoothies, natural bar, fresh fruit, healthy eating, smoothie, banana, strawberry, coconut, pen and watercolour, sketch, food, illustration, vegan

Needless to say I was there for breakfast every day of my stay in Santa Maria (apart from Wednesday when they’re shut)…….and eventually I immortalised my favourite smoothie in pen and watercolour (above). It’s banana, strawberry and coconut mixed with water, by the way, the smoothie not the painting.

cape fruit, santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde, breakfast, brunch, lunch, smoothies, natural bar, fresh fruit, healthy eating, pancake, banana, grape, papaya, kiwi fruit, honey, water color. pen and watercolour, sketch, food, illustration, vegan

After that I took on the pancake with fresh fruit and honey (above)…it certainly sharpens the appetite to stare at your order for an hour or so before diving in!

cape fruit, santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde, breakfast, brunch, lunch, smoothies, natural bar, fresh fruit, healthy eating, smoothie, banana, strawberry, coconut, pen and watercolour, sketch, food, illustration, vegan

Here is the sweet and lovely Cape Fruit crew; huge thanks to them for the breakfasts, for welcoming my sketches with such enthusiasm and featuring them on their facebook page, and also for the gift of the Cape Fruit mug which is now part of my daily breakfast routine at home. 

santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde,

santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde, fishing boat

Then we hit the beach, and there’s plenty of it, lovely fine white sand and the ocean, although a tad chilly on entry, was calm and very refreshing.

It was pretty windy everyday in Santa Maria which is famed as a wind and kite surfing centre. You can also snorkel and dive if that’s your bag.

There were some huge hotel complexes further down this beach adding to problems with the water supply. Sal is essentially a desert island with no natural water and the desalination plants are struggling to keep up with demand.

santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde

santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde,, water color. pen and watercolour, sketch, travel, illustration

The pier above doubles as a fish market when the daily catches are brought in; my sketch has a 3D element as wind blown sand stuck to the wet paint.

santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde, construction

 

Overall, away from the smarter beach side tourist establishments Santa Maria has a bleakish dilapidated feel, with lots of half finished construction, plenty of derelict buildings and litter and very little greenery…

…but there are no mosquitoes!

santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde, washing line

santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde, superbok

santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde, derelictAnd it’s not without its charm.

santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde, catchupa

Catchupa is the national dish, a delicious, slowly stewed concoction of beans, veg and fish or meat. 

santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde, front line apartments

I was offered sex and marijuana on separate occasions, both of which I politely declined, but it was nice to know that they were available!

santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde

The restaurant Kossivi does really good sushi!

I also enjoyed a few poker games with my friend and her buddies although I didn’t win anything beyond a couple of hands. Gambling is actually illegal on Sal although they’ve just opened a casino if you’re there and fancy a flutter, but I’m told the poker tables are a rip off at 25€ a hand.

santa maria, sal, cape verde, cabo verde. church

Mindelo, Island of Sao Vicente

I decided to set off in search of more music and culture so I booked a Binter flight from Sal to Sao Vicente (40€ one way, 40 mins approx).

A taxi from Sao Vicente airport, which is named after the celebrated Cape Verdean singer Cesária Évora, to the port town of Mindelo takes 20 minutes or so and costs 1000CVE / 10€. There´s no bus or colectivo service as far as I could make out.

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde

 

I took the photo above from the roof terrace of my hotel (left); cheap and somewhat cheerful and dusty, its main attraction was the view and its location, 5 mins walk from the port and the town centre.

 

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde, fishing boat

I went out in search of food and water as soon as I arrived in Mindelo and found out that there was going to be a free concert in the town square that evening.

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde, concert

Of course being English I arrived far too early but was able to sit on the door step of a shut shop and listen to the sound check and watch the square gradually fill with a very friendly crowd under the light of the full moon. I have no idea who played but they were great and I caught my first glimpse of a Mandingo dancer; a guy in a grass skirt with a big stick and a mohican who moved with hypnotic rhythm through the crowd, stopping for photos in exchange for loose change. More of that later….

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde, water color. pen and watercolour, sketch, travel, illustration

The next day I did a bit of sketching (above) and was approached by a woman from Paris who stopped for a chat. I couldn’t help her with the directions to the bus stop she wanted and she assured me that the Mindelo town beach was nice and that the hike I was planning to do on another island was easy…both untrue!

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde, shutters

I wandered back to my room for a rest…but then I heard drumming…the kind of drumming that demands to be investigated. I went down to reception and asked ‘What’s that noise?’ ‘Ah, that’s the Mandingo…’ was the reply. So, having no idea what that meant, I went out and followed the sound uptown… 

There was a small group gathering around the drummers and dancers when I got there and they moved off down the street…

….more and more people joining the throng all the time, people throwing money from balconies, the rhythm and atmosphere were absolutely energising and infectious, I couldn´t help but grin from ear to ear.

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde, mandingo, carnaval, drumming

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde, mandingo, carnaval, drumming

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde, mandingo, carnaval, drumming

This guy offered me some of the beer he was drinking out of that horn he’s holding and he told me that he and his chums were covered in charcoal to make them darker, it looked more like motor oil to me and I ended up smeared with quite a bit of it…could have been one of those lost in translation situations!mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde, mandingo, carnaval, drumming

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde, mural

The procession I joined was just a practice for the carnival which was to take place on the 28th February, the day I was due to leave Cape Verde…

I loved Mindelo: the musical juxtaposition of African and Portuguese influences…

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde

…. the contrast of the well kept colonial

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde,

with the deliciously dilapidated….

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde,

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde, abandoned house

…and the quirkily modern and upcycled…

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde, upcycled doors

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde,

…as well as the boaty.

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde, fishing boat

Next year I want to be there for carnival, although ideally I’ll upgrade my accommodation to the rather swish Casa Branca, which is right next door to the dusty, drab place I stayed in and was recommended by an English couple I met on the ferry. They serve a good breakfast (included in the room price) and tasty tapas style dinners.

I also ate well at La Pergola, which has good vegetarian options and Café Royal, although I’d avoid Casa Café Mindelo as it’s touristy, over priced and not terribly friendly…maybe they were having a bad day.

Sao Vicente to Santo Antao by inter-island ferry

I’d heard that the island of Santo Antao was beautiful and that the Paúl Valley in particular was spectacularly lush and great for hiking so I planned a day trip.

I visited the Mindelo office of hiking guide Nobai to make sure it was easy enough to walk the route I wanted without a guide and within my two hour time limit and the nice French lady reassured (i.e. lied to) me, gave me a map and transport tips from the port to the start point of my hike.

mindelo, sao vicente, cabo verde, cape verde, ferry, port, boat

There are two ferry companies that run services from the port in Mindelo to Port Novo on the island of Santo Antao.

Boats leave at 7 and 8am and return at 4 and 5pm, the trip takes an hour and costs 800CVE / 8€.

I bought my ferry ticket from the office at the port and the next day, Valentine’s day, I had an early breakfast and arrived at the port at 7.30am in good time to board for the 8am crossing.

mindelo, sao vicente, san antao, cabo verde, cape verde, ferry, port, boat

 

The boats are very punctual and they give out sick bags just in case. I’d popped a Dramamine and the crossing was smooth so the only drama was the sight of flying fish leaping in the bow spume.

They stay airborne for ages, shine iridescent blue in the sunshine and actually flap their fins like wings. I didn’t even attempt to photograph them.

 

mindelo, sao vicente, san antao, cabo verde, cape verde, ferry, port, boat

mindelo, sao vicente, san antao, cabo verde, cape verde, ferry, port, boatmindelo, sao vicente, san antao, cabo verde, cape verde, ferry, port, boat

mindelo, sao vicente, san antao, cabo verde, cape verde, ferry, port, boat

 

Port Novo, Island of Santo Antao

port novo, san antao, cabo verde, cape verde, ferry, port, boat

There are crowds of people at the exit of the ferry terminal building in Port Novo offering the disembarking voyagers onward transport in the form of private taxis and shared colectivos, artisan cheese, fruits and vegetables. It’s a bit of a scrum so it’s handy to know exactly where you’re going, how you want to travel and what you expect to pay beforehand. 

Port Novo ferry terminal also boasts a cafe with excellent coffee and cake and a cash point.

By the way, one of the ferry crossings I made was quite rough and there were several people (mostly kids) throwing up into the aforementioned bags.

port novo, santo antao, cabo verde, cape verde, ferry, port, boat

Port Novo to Cova de Paúl crater

As suggested by the Nobai tour guide I hired a taxi to take me up the long and bumpy track to the extinct volcanic crater of Cova de Paúl from which I planned to descend through the Paúl Valley on foot.

taxi, port novo, san antao, cabo verde, cape verde, valentines day

It cost 2000 CVE / 20€ which seems as steep as the road but it’s not a popular route and the driver has absolutely no chance of a return fare. 

cape verde, cabo verde, san antao, port novo, cavo de paul

Above, Port Novo just visible on the coast and the island of Sao Vicente in the background…

cape verde, cabo verde, san antao, port novo, cavo de paul….onwards and upwards…

cape verde, cabo verde, san antao, cavo de paul

…to the volcanic crater at the top which is now farm land.

The taxi driver dropped me off and pointed me in the right direction ‘Go down there, round the corner, you’ll need to go through that pass over there to get to the Paúl Valley’ he said in Portuguese. ‘OK,’ I said, feeling nervous, ‘it’s easy, right?’ ‘Yes, easy, just follow the path’ he replied.

cape verde, cabo verde, san antao, cavo de paul

 

So I set off around the corner….

cape verde, cabo verde, san antao, cavo de paul

but although I could see people climbing up the rock on a terraced path I couldn’t work out how to follow them so I started fiddling with my map ineffectually until some helpful farmers shouted directions which I couldn’t understand with hand signals that I could….

cape verde, cabo verde, san antao, cavo de paul

cape verde, cabo verde, san antao, cavo de paul

…and I was back on track.

Paúl Valley from the top

cape verde, cabo verde, san antao, paul valley, vale do paul

And this was the breathtaking view of the Paúl Valley which greeted me as I emerged from the pass. I fell in love…

cape verde, cabo verde, san antao, paul valley, vale do paul, hiking, terracing

 

….and started my buttock clenching, knee bracing, ankle ricking, slippy, slidy descent down the gorgeously terraced, twisty path repeating the ‘down break anything’ mantra under my breath.

paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa

cape verde, cabo verde, san antao, paul valley, vale do paul, hiking, volcano

 

cape verde, cabo verde, san antao, paul valley, vale do paul, hiking, terracing

cape verde, cabo verde, san antao, paul valley, vale do paul, hiking, terracing

The level of cultivation and habitation gradually increased as did the temperature as I went down.

cape verde, cabo verde, san antao, paul valley, vale do paul, hiking, terracing

 

I stopped to buy a bag of coffee ground from beans grown in the valley from some women at the side of the path before reaching a village of sorts.

cape verde, cabo verde, san antao, paul valley, vale do paul, hiking, terracing

 

By this time, after two plus hours of walking, my knees and feet were complaining loudly but I was only about half way to my target destination of Vila das Pombas, a town on the coast, where I knew I could get transport back to the port…so I had to keep walking….until I spotted a passing colectivo and gratefully flagged it down.

‘Can you take me to Pombas please? I need to make my way to the ferry.’ ‘Sure’, said the driver in excellent English, ‘from Pombas I’m going to Ponta do Sol to pick up some people who need to be at Port Novo for the 4pm crossing, do you want to come with me?’ ‘Yes please’. Nothing like an unplanned site seeing diversion to enliven the limbs.

As we whizzed down to the coast in the van I knew I’d not seen enough of the Paúl Valley…

Ponta do Sol

santo antao, ponta do sol, cape verde, cabo verde, fishing, boats, nets, floats

The colectivo driver dropped me off in the small but lively fishing port which doubles as a fish marketsanto antao, ponta do sol, cape verde, cabo verde, fishing, boats, nets, floats

santo antao, ponta do sol, cape verde, cabo verde, fishing, boats, nets, floats

santo antao, ponta do sol, cape verde, cabo verde, fishing, boats, nets, floats

and I meandered up the road in search of drinking water before being picked up again. 

santo antao, ponta do sol, cape verde, cabo verde

santo antao, ponta do sol, cape verde, cabo verde

We then did a tour of the village collecting people from their houses before setting off on the 45 minute journey back to Port Novo. The whole trip cost me 500CVE / 5€.

santo antao, ponta do sol, cape verde, cabo verde

Having returned to Mindelo on the ferry, I spent the next day limping about on my sore hips and knees and changing my travel plans so that I could go back to Santo Antao and explore the Paúl Valley further.

Paúl Valley from the middle

I booked a room in the Chez Hujo hostel in the Boca de Figueiral region of the valley and they organised a colectivo to pick me up from Port Novo which cost 350CVE / 3,50€.

chez hujo, paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa

My room, at the back of the hostel, had a stunning view and cost 3500CVE / 35€ a night including an enormous breakfast, half of which I wrapped up and ate for lunch. 

chez hujo, paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa

Chez Hujo also offer a huge evening meal (chicken, pork or fish with salad, rice and potatoes) at 800CVE / 8€, which is great since the closest restaurant is half an hour’s walk away. There’s also a simple bar downstairs which opens in the evening.

paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa, water color. pen and watercolour, sketch, travel, illustration,

 

 

 

They gave me a very warm welcome and right after I’d checked in I set about sketching the view from the front of the hostel, left and below.

chez hujo, paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa

 

 

o curral,, paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa, water color. pen and watercolour, sketch, travel, illustration

 

 

 

 

 

The following day I hiked up the road for an hour to the O Curral bio plantation and drew the stunning view from the open side of their restaurant (right) while enjoying a bowl of fresh fruit and homemade yoghurt.

 

The place packed out with serious hikers at lunch time who enthusiastically tucked in to bowls of catchupa accompanied by bottles of beer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

font cafe, paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa, water color. pen and watercolour, sketch, travel, illustration,

This next sketch of the Font Café (above), which was just round the corner from the hostel, took a few sessions over a couple of days to complete. I must say that sitting on a wall at the side of a road for hours at a time is a great way to meet people. And the Paúl Valley people are lovely. Eventually the old lady who lives in the foreground cottage walked up and greeted me. I showed her the drawing, ‘Pretty’, she said, ‘now sit on that wall properly so that you don’t fall over the side into the river.’

The Font Café on laundry day, below, with the river washed items spread on the rocks to dry.

paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa

chez hujo, paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa, water color. pen and watercolour, sketch, travel, illustration

 

Once the Chez Hujo owners, Hudson (Cape Verdean) and Joel (French)  found out I was an artist they asked me to paint the hostel (right and below).

chez hujo, paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa

Against my introverted nature I accepted an invitation to join some Germans at dinner in the hostel one night…they turned out to be super cool meteorologists who’d reached Mindelo on a scientific research ship from Montevideo and come Paúl for a bit of hiking before heading home. We dispersed after dinner and I was in my room when I heard drumming from down the valley and as I was looking out of my window into the deep dark thinking ‘ooh, shall I go out and follow the noise?’ I saw some of the Germans on the patio below wondering the same thing. So a small but merry band of us trudged down to the next village under a super starry sky to watch the drummers practice and feel the rhythm in our bones at close quarters. After half an hour or so the lights and sound system on a truck had been rigged up and some girls dressed in carnival team outfits joined the throng and the truck set off down hill with the drummers in tow. We tagged along as did a growing crowd along the way….awesome and totally unexpected!

 
roche grande, paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa, water color. pen and watercolour, sketch, travel, illustration
 
My last sketch was of the pig farm (right and below).
 
 
 paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa, roche grande, pig farm
 
 It took a few sessions to complete, sitting on a wall at the edge of a very high drop which made me feel quite queasy when I looked down.
 
 paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I was close to tears at one point on my stroll up the road. Not only is the natural beauty timeless and breathtaking but the man made elements – stone houses with thatched roofs, terracing and careful cultivation everywhere, including the river beds – are stunning works of art.
 
paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa, river, terracing
 
paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa
 
I felt more inspired to draw in the Paúl Valley than I have in a very long time, I really didn’t want to leave, and plan to return for a longer sketching and hiking holiday next year.
 
I might even learn some Creole….
 
paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa, road works paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa paul valley, santo antao, cape verde, cabo verde, africa, dry stone wall
 
 

Herman@ de Tod@s

Arte Vejer recently staged a group exhibition of artworks made by local artists inspired by the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca who was murdered 80 years ago on the orders of Franco the fascist dictator.

Lorca was born on the 5th June (the same day as me) in 1898 (several years before me) in a small town close to Granada. That’s why I chose the pomegranate as the theme for my collage; granada means pomegranate in Spanish and the ancient town was renamed after the fruit during the Moorish period.

lorca, tribute, homage, granada, pomegranate, mixed media, collage, map, charcoal, acrylic paint, crackle glaze, betun stain, fairy light, arte vejer

The pomegranate is also a symbol of abundance and fertility which aptly describes Lorca’s imagination, passion and creative genius; he was a  prolific writer, considered to be one of Spain’s most important poets and published his first book at the age of 21.

The first stage of the process (above) was to blacken the background (paper on cardboard) and outline the pomegranate seeds with layers of charcoal.

lorca, tribute, homage, granada, pomegranate, mixed media, collage, map, charcoal, acrylic paint, crackle glaze, betun stain, fairy light, arte vejer

Lorca moved to Madrid in 1919 and devoted himself entirely to his art which was infused with the flamenco culture of his native Andalusia. He was a contemporary of Buñuel and Dalí who introduced him to surrealism. Lorca and Dalí had a particularly intimate relationship involving ‘love, passion and respect‘ but it is rumoured that Dalí’s aversion to physical contact and his repressed sexuality led him to reject Lorca’s advances.

I painted the seeds and persistent calyx (the bit at the top of the fruit) with acrylic.

lorca, tribute, homage, granada, pomegranate, mixed media, collage, map, charcoal, acrylic paint, crackle glaze, betun stain, fairy light, arte vejer

In 1929 Lorca left Spain to spend a year in New York where he was inspired by the African-American spirituals he heard in Harlem, his favourite part of the city.

Next I collaged a map of the world over the background (above), this represents the international reach of Lorca’s work and art in general as well as his time abroad. I then painted over it with acrylic.

lorca, tribute, homage, granada, pomegranate, mixed media, collage, map, charcoal, acrylic paint, crackle glaze, betun stain, fairy light, arte vejer

The text is an extract from one of Lorca’s last interviews.

Here’s the full quote in Spanish:

“Yo soy español integral y me sería imposible vivir fuera de mis límites geográficos; pero odio al que es español por ser español nada más, yo soy hermano de todos y execro al hombre que se sacrifica por una idea nacionalista, abstracta, por el sólo hecho de que ama a su patria con una venda en los ojos. El chino bueno está más cerca de mí que el español malo. Canto a España y la siento hasta la médula, pero antes que esto soy hombre del mundo y hermano de todos. Desde luego no creo en la frontera política.”

And translated into English

“I am Spanish through and through and it would be impossible for me to live outside my geographic boundaries; but I hate those Spanish people who are merely Spanish and nothing more, I am brother to all and abhor the man who sacrifices himself to an abstract nationalist idea purely because he blindly loves his homeland. I feel closer to the good Chinese man than the bad Spanish man. I sing to Spain and feel her in my marrow, but before that I am a man of the world and brother of all. Of course I don’t believe in political borders.”

The quote really sang to me when I came across it; it seems particularly apposite in these times of Brexit and Trump when ugly nationalism and bigotry are on the rise again. 

I cut the letters for the text from magazines and stuck them down in the style of an old fashioned ransom note (above) as a reference to the fact that Lorca was abducted before being killed by a falangist firing squad.

I added ‘A’s to the ‘O’s of ‘hermano’ and ‘todos’ to explicitly make the words gender neutral which also happily turned those letters into anarchist symbols.

Next I painted electrical cables emerging from the calyx of the pomegranate (below) to turn it into a fairy light. I made this piece just before Christmas so it was seasonally apt (although I am a huge fan of the year round fairy light) and it also suggests that the earth is but a bauble hanging in the vastness of the universe and that we humans take our opinions about our piffling differences far too seriously.

The final stage of the process (below) was to paint crackle glaze over the whole of the image before applying bitumen, gold paint and glitter as stains.

lorca, tribute, homage, granada, pomegranate, mixed media, collage, map, charcoal, acrylic paint, crackle glaze, betun stain, fairy light, arte vejer

Lorca was staying at his family’s country home just outside Granada when the civil war started in 1936. About a month before his incarceration and murder on August 19th Lorca had a disturbing dream in which he was being menaced by a group of grieving women waving black crucifixes.

Archaeologists are still searching for the exact burial site of Lorca’s body. 

La Pinturera – Group Exhibition

art exhibition, group show, la pinturera, hairdressing salon, paintings, jewelry, ceramics, vejer, vejer de la frontera

Yolanda, the delightful proprietor of Vejer’s ‘La Pinturera‘ generously invited me and three other local artists to set up a group exhibition in her hair and beauty salon since she had a great deal of white wall space and the opportunities for sales would be high in the run up to Christmas.

Pinturera means swanky, so it’s quite apt!

We started in the window (left) with a mixture of all the participating artists’ work (below)….

art exhibition, group show, la pinturera, hairdressing salon, paintings, jewelry, ceramics, vejer, vejer de la frontera

…then each selected a space inside the salon to show our work individually:

art exhibition, group show, la pinturera, hairdressing salon, paintings, jewelry, ceramics, vejer, vejer de la frontera

My wall – above, me in the mirror

art exhibition, group show, la pinturera, hairdressing salon, paintings, jewelry, ceramics, vejer, vejer de la frontera

Chio adds the finishing touches to her wall of Vejer themed drawings.

art exhibition, group show, la pinturera, hairdressing salon, paintings, jewelry, ceramics, vejer, vejer de la frontera

Bryony’s ceramics in the foreground as she studies Laura’s paintings in the background.

art exhibition, group show, la pinturera, hairdressing salon, paintings, jewelry, ceramics, vejer, vejer de la frontera

Laura designed the poster, left and we set a date for the official opening…

art exhibition, group show, la pinturera, hairdressing salon, paintings, jewelry, ceramics, vejer, vejer de la frontera

art exhibition, group show, la pinturera, hairdressing salon, paintings, jewelry, ceramics, vejer, vejer de la frontera

art exhibition, group show, la pinturera, hairdressing salon, paintings, jewelry, ceramics, vejer, vejer de la frontera

 

Laura shows one of her beautiful sketchbooks, left…

…and below, Chio’s jewelry and sketches and my postcards…

art exhibition, group show, la pinturera, hairdressing salon, paintings, jewelry, ceramics, vejer, vejer de la frontera

I’m feeling very grateful to Yolanda for this wonderful opportunity to exhibit in such a lovely space alongside Chio, Laura and Bryony whose work I truly admire; they’re a great group of people.