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. 

Concentrarte Vejer 2016

Yesterday, Sunday April 24th 2016, was Concentrarte Vejer‘s annual celebration of all things arty and crafty.

concentrarte, vejer, art, plaza de espana, painting, work

Arte Vejer encouraged children to let loose their creative spirits by painting in La Plaza de España and a few adult sketchers, me included, joined the throng.

concentrarte, vejer, art, plaza de espana, painting, fountain, watercolour, sketch, vejer sketchers, arte vejer

I concentrated on sketching a tiny bit of the fountain in La Plaza with pen and watercolour before the sun came round and burnt the back of my neck.

concentrarte, vejer, art, plaza de espana, painting, fountain, watercolour, sketch, vejer sketchers, arte vejer

 

‘El Carnaval’ Group Exhibition

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Cádiz Carnaval is one of the best know carnivals in Spain. For two weeks every February the whole city is crazily vibrant with elaborately costumed groups, the most famous of which are the chirigotas, singing satirical and humurous songs they have taken all year to prepare.

Vejer Carnaval is a scaled down version and to celebrate it Arte Vejer are hosting a ‘Carnaval’ themed group art exhibition which opens today in their castle headquarters.

 

The exhibition space will be open on Saturdays and Sundays 12-2pm from 13th to 28th February 2016.

Click here to see photos of the event.

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Carnaval is traditionally an opportunity to indulge in alcohol fueled mass revelry before the more austere Easter celebrations begin.

Masks and cross-dressing are typical so I went with a drag-queen inspired cartoon style character who is wearing a ‘Nuestra Señora‘ virgin inspired headdress (right).

 

 

andalucia, carnaval, carnival, group show, art, exhibition, vejer, arte vejer, cadiz carnaval, drag queen, virgin, mask, music, streamers, wig, pastels, charcoal, music, singing, eye

 

I decided to crack open my new pastel set and experiment with bright colours and blending techniques. I used charcoal for the background and crumbled pastel dust over it to achieve a glittery effect.

 

andalucia, carnaval, carnival, group show, art, exhibition, vejer, arte vejer, cadiz carnaval, drag queen, virgin, mask, music, streamers, wig, pastels, charcoal, music, singing

 

 

All in all quite a messy, dusty process, but fun nevertheless.

Sketch Workshop

arte vejer, sketch, workshop, drawing, castle, vejer de la frontera, artSome time ago Arte Vejer invited me to run an art workshop in their castle headquarters.

With no previous teaching experience I wasn’t sure what I could offer, then I remembered all the people who’d told me that they’d like to come out and draw with the Vejer Sketchers but are out of practice or lack confidence or find drawing stressful…or all of the above.

It then occurred to me that as a regular sketcher I do have some tips and tricks to share that could make the whole experience more fun and relaxed.

arte vejer, sketch, workshop, drawing, castle, vejer de la frontera, art

 

So having listed my tips and tricks in English and translated them into Spanish I had my workshop plan, and here we are discussing them.

 

arte vejer, sketch, workshop, drawing, castle, vejer de la frontera, art

 

The group then dispersed to sketch whatever caught their imagination and put some of the ideas into practice.

 

 

Feedback was very positive and I might very well run another workshop in the not too distant future.

I do truly believe that anyone can draw; it’s a matter of confidence, regular practice and being relaxed enough to shelve your expectations, to revel in the experiments your materials offer and to willingly ‘ruin’ those pristine paper sheets.

Exposición Andante – Mobile Art Exhibition

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Click here to see photos and read more about Arte Vejer’s extraordinary mobile art exhibition.

Procession – Sunday 13th December

Static 13th Dec 2015 – 10th Jan 2016                Hotel Convento San Francisco

Arte Vejer on the Move

vejer, vejer de la frontera, arte, art, community, organisation,

Arte Vejer has certainly had a busy few weeks. The community group which promotes visual arts and creativity in the Vejer de la Frontera region has really been going for it as you’ll see and read below!

 

exhibition, poster, mobile exhibition, vejer, arte vejer, art, community art group, art promotion, visual arts

 

What is a mobile art exhibition? You might well ask…I had no idea before taking part on Sunday 13th December.

It turned out to be as dynamic, colourful and festive a procession through the streets of Vejer as the poster promised.

 

 

castle, vejer, sol muniain, face painting, exhibition, poster, mobile exhibition, vejer, arte vejer, art, community art group, art promotion, visual arts

 

 

Sol Muniain (right), a truly gifted artist and the inventor and driving force behind the Arte Vejer mobile art exhibition unlocks the door to the castle for a session of painting faces Picasso style prior to the procession.

 

 

face painting, mobile exhibition, vejer, arte vejer, art, community art group, art promotion, visual arts

 

 

Sol paints the face of Ismael Virués, another dedicated Arte Vejer organiser and the banner bearing leader of the art parade.

 

 

exhibition, hotel convento san francisco, mobile exhibition, vejer, arte vejer, art, community art group, art promotion, visual arts, drummers, parade

 

 

Having picked up the art works we were joined by a band of marching drummers and set off around town.

I was wearing a couple of my artworks as well as carrying one (right, centre); my cockerel skirt and my 2CV silk scarf

 

exhibition, hotel convento san francisco, mobile exhibition, vejer, arte vejer, art, community art group, art promotion, visual arts, drummers, parade

 

The drive and energy exuded by the marching drummers was amazing, especially when the parade passed through the narrowest alleyways and the rhythm really bounced off the walls.

 

exhibition, hotel convento san francisco, mobile exhibition, vejer, arte vejer, art, community art group, art promotion, visual arts, drummers, parade

 

 

 

It was also quite surreal to look back and see a view of Vejer within a view of Vejer.

 

 

 

plaza de espana, exhibition, hotel convento san francisco, mobile exhibition, vejer, arte vejer, art, community art group, art promotion, visual arts, drummers, parade

 

 

We made several stops en route, here we are in the Plaza de España for a photo opportunity…..

 

arco de segur, exhibition, hotel convento san francisco, mobile exhibition, vejer, arte vejer, art, community art group, art promotion, visual arts, drummers, parade, flamenco dancers

arco de segur, exhibition, hotel convento san francisco, mobile exhibition, vejer, arte vejer, art, community art group, art promotion, visual arts, drummers, parade, flamenco dancers

 

 

 

…and enjoying being part of the back drop near the Arco de Segur within the old town walls for this, the first of several short flamenco dance ‘tablaos’ …

corredera, exhibition, hotel convento san francisco, mobile exhibition, vejer, arte vejer, art, community art group, art promotion, visual arts, drummers, parade, flamenco dancers

 

 

 

 

 

…more flamenco dancing on La Corredera….

 

 

 

plaza san francisco, exhibition, hotel convento san francisco, mobile exhibition, vejer, arte vejer, art, community art group, art promotion, visual arts, drummers, parade

 

 

….dancing to an African style drum troupe in La Plaza de San Francisco…

 

cow skull. limited edition print, exhibition, hotel convento san francisco, mobile exhibition, vejer, arte vejer, art, community art group, art promotion, visual arts, parade

 

 

…and returning to La Plazuela with tired and happy arms (and no, despite the crazed expression, I did not get arrested)….

 

 

exhibition, hotel convento san francisco, mobile exhibition, vejer, arte vejer, art, community art group, art promotion, visual arts, drummers, parade

 

 

…before replacing the artworks on the walls of the Hotel Convento San Francisco where they will rest, for sale, until January 10th 2016.

 

I was delighted to have my artwork accepted for the mobile exhibition and feel priviledged to have taken part in such an extraordinary event. Many thanks again to Arte Vejer for the huge amount of work and good will which went into coordinating all the art forms so beautifully and happily.

Click here to see yet more photos of the event on facebook, thanks to Jackie Cornwall.

And there’s even more:

painting, art, competition, young, artist, vejer, arte vejer, vejer de la frontera, concurso, pintura

 

On the 29th November Arte Vejer staged the first ever painting competition for young artists in Vejer.

I was honoured to be invited to join the judging panel and was really impressed by the high standard of the artworks produced.

 

 

plaza de espana, painting, art, competition, young, artist, vejer, arte vejer, vejer de la frontera, concurso, pintura

 

 

About 30 participants signed up to the competition in Vejer’s beautiful Plaza de España and then dispersed to various parts of the charming old town to work on their paintings and drawings for several hours.

 

 

Click here to see photos of the event and the impressive range of artworks; the overall winner has her painting included in the (previously mobile) Arte Vejer exhibition in the Hotel Convento San Francisco and the other prize winning works are currently displayed in La Bodeguita, a local bar.

vejer, vejer de la frontera, arte, art, community, organisation, castle, exhibition

 

The 6th December was pueblo abierto (open village) day for Vejer, which coincided with the ruta de tapas. Arte Vejer celebrated its recent allocation of a room in the castle by the town council by mounting an exhibition of members’ work there and including the non-prize winning works from the young artist painting competition.

 

 

 

water colour, sketch, pen and watercolour, vejer sketcher, castle, patio, andaluciaI made this pen and watercolour sketch (right) of the castle patio while sitting on the doorstep of Arte Vejer’s room and then went up to the ramparts to make an abstract watercolour sketch (below) inspired by the lichen which adorns many roofs and walls in the old town.

water colour, sketch, lichen, abstract

As well as an exhibition space the castle room will be used as a venue for creative workshops. I’m planning to host one early in 2016 for adult sketchers who are a bit rusty and lack the confidence to come and draw with the Vejer Sketchers group.

If that’s you, please get in touch!

vejer, vejer de la frontera, arte, art, community, organisation, castle, exhibition

vejer, vejer de la frontera, arte, art, community, organisation, castle, exhibition

Sketching Vejer

kathryn hockey, vejer sketchers, urban sketchers, drawing

my first outing with the Vejer Sketchers

 

Late last year (2014) I was delighted to be invited to join Arte Vejer, a community organisation which aims to promote visual arts and creativity in and around the Andalusian town of Vejer de la Frontera.

 

Vejer Sketchers is a subsidiary group of Arte Vejer and part of the worldwide Urban Sketchers movement.

 

 

vejer sketchers, vejer de la frontera, urban sketchers, pen, drawing, sketch

Calle Sagasta, Vejer, pen

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Vejer, pen and coloured pencil

 

kathryn hockey, vejer sketchers, urban sketchers, drawing

sketching on a roof terrace, Vejer

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sketching enthusiasts, from various walks of life, of different nationalities and ages, meet once a week; usually to draw in the streets of Vejer, sometimes joined by sketchers from other towns,

vejer sketches, concentrarte, vejer de la frontera, urban sketchers

Vejer Sketchers with sketch groups from other towns at Concentrarte, Vejer’s annual art street fair

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Calles Reyes Cátolicos and Rosario, Vejer, pen and watercolour

sketch, vejer sketchers, urban sketchers, drawing, pen and water colour, vejer de la frontera, concurso de patios, patio competition, andalusia

some of the entrants in Vejer’s annual patio competition, pen and watercolour

sketch, vejer sketchers, urban sketchers, drawing, pen and water colour, baelo claudia, bolonia, andalusia, roman ruins, poppies, cadiz, ayuntamiento vejer

Ayuntamiento Vejer, Baelo Claudia Bolonia, 47th Sketchcrawl Cadiz, pen and watercolour

 

 

sometimes traveling to join sketch groups in other locations,

kathryn hockey, vejer sketchers, urban sketchers, drawing

sketching in the rain in Bolonia

 

 

 

 

 

life drawing with a model,

vejer sketchers, life drawing, charcoal, crayon, sketch

charcoal and crayon

ejer sketchers, life drawing, charcoal, sketch

charcoal

ejer sketchers, life drawing, charcoal, crayon, sketch

charcoal and crayon

or even drawing each other.

vejer sketchers, watercolour sketches, portraits, sketch

watercolour sketches

In this Arte Vejer video, which features stills of some of my pre-Sketchers artwork, I talk (in Spanish) about my New Year’s Resolution to join the Vejer Sketchers, saying that street sketching in a group is brave and interesting and a great contrast to my usual controlled method of drawing and developing images in my studio with photos for reference.

vejer sketchers, urban sketchers, drawing, pen and water colour, vejer de la frontera, chorizo

chorizo, pen and watercolour

Actually, the Vejer Sketchers experience has surpassed all my expectations; the group dynamic is incredibly friendly and supportive and diffuses the potential self-consciousness associated with drawing in public places (safety in numbers!).

sketch, vejer sketchers, urban sketchers, drawing, pen and water colour, vejer de la frontera

Vejer, pen and watercolour

I’ve enjoyed painting with watercolours since I was a child and the Vejer Sketchers have inspired me to try new techniques and different formats – my confidence, speed, motivation and skill have all improved.

sketch, vejer sketchers, urban sketchers, drawing, pen and water colour, vejer de la frontera, hibiscus

hibiscus, pen and watercolour

Come and join us if you can!

 

Mini Art Works

These are my mini art works for tonight’s (22nd December 2014) fundraising party organised by the community group Arte Vejer.

coffee pot, candle, gas bottle, bombona, bomba, bomb

They’re post card sized and will go on sale for 5 euros each along with the mini artworks of other contributing local artists.

Here they are in more detail:

coffee pot, candle, charcoal, acrylic paint, crackle glaze, bitumen staingas bottle, bomb, bombona, charcoal, acrylic paint, crackle glaze, bitumen stain

Both drawings were made with charcoal which I fixed before applying a wash of acrylic paint and a crackle glaze. The glaze was then stained with white acrylic paint and bitumen in beeswax with a smear of glitter gel over the top…very festive!