I made this little pen and watercolour sketch of the view through the castle ramparts at a recent meeting of the Vejer Sketchers.
The delightful Annie B of Spanish Kitchen fame recently asked me to paint her a map showing the eating and drinking delights of the area around Vejer de la Frontera, where we are both based.
Annie runs sherry tasting classes and cookery courses as well as tapas and wine tasting tours in Andalusia and Morocco. I made a food and drink themed sketch style painting for her a couple of years ago which she used as a Christmas card (right) and she had the idea to turn the food map into her Christmas card this year.
So the first stage of the map design was to work out the extent of the area which could be comfortably accommodated in the same card format.
I roughly sketched the map in coloured pencil (above) and then cropped it until Annie was happy with the layout; then we decided which food and drink elements would be represented and Annie gave me specific tips on how they should be shown. For instance the tuna fish needed yellow spines on their backs, the Retinto cow should be sitting on the beach and the Osborne sherry bull needed well defined ‘cojones’ (I’ll leave you to google that if you’re unsure of the meaning!).
At this stage I got the posh paper out (Arches 300g cold pressed watercolour), tore it to the correct size and taped it to a board before drawing the finalised map carefully in pencil (above).
Once I was happy with the outline I drew over it in water resistant pen (above) and added colour in layers of watercolour paint (below).
The final stage was to add a bit of multicoloured ‘magic splatter’ by tapping my loaded paintbrush all over the map which I find makes the texture more interesting as well as unifying the image (below and top).
The cards should be delivered next week, I’m really looking forward to popping in to Annie’s to collect mine with a nice drop of sherry on the side!
I’m delighted to have finally found a chumbera (prickly pear) with some lush new growth; the once ubiquitous and beautiful cactus is suffering an infestation of insects and slowly dying out here in Andalusia.
Moi from the gorgeous Ecléctica Deco shop in Vejer suggested that I sketch a chumbera a good while ago; he told me he’d seen a good one in La Breña national park so I set off for a hike on a really hot day search of it…needle in a haystack situation ensued. His next sighting was luckily closer to home and much easier to find.
I missed it in flower but hey-ho…the heart shaped leaf was a bonus…promise it was actually like that!
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.
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,
sometimes traveling to join sketch groups in other locations,
life drawing with a model,
or even drawing each other.
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.
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!).
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.
Come and join us if you can!
The private view will take place on Friday 27th June from 9pm and the exhibition will run until the end of September 2014.
Click here to see photos of the exhibition and the private view.
14th March – 4 May 2014
The poster features the CD cover I designed for local band Mr Groovy & The Blue Heads‘ 2012 album ‘Jauja’ (meaning land of milk and honey) and shows Cádiz cathedral in the background.
Click here to see photos of the exhibition.