I found this poor deceased little fella on the roof terrace yesterday morning and was struck by his dynamic pose so I decided to paint him.
I worked from photos as there was an element of surprise involved in the project.
First I roughed out the composition by making a preliminary sketch (right).
The bike is part of the exterior decor!
Next came the watercolour painting…
And here’s the finished piece…(click on the image to enlarge)
With a couple of details singled out below…
The food is a clever and delicious blend of the homely, exotic, luxurious and healthy; the wine list is extensive and expertly composed; the staff are incredibly warm and hospitable while at the same time being efficient and savvy; the outside terrace is sunny, shady and breezy with wonderful views over the surrounding countryside (Vejer’s perched on top of a steep hill, 200m above sea level); the interior is cosy and gorgeously crafted from reclaimed materials (by Retro Nuevo) and houses an extensive collection of Vejer themed paintings by local artists.
As the sign says Comer – Amar – Vivir = Eat – Love – Live
This is a delightful place full of loving touches.
The pen and watercolour sketch to the left was my first of the autumn season, having been invited to see the sherry grape harvest in the the Faustino González vineyard just outside Jerez.
The grape pickers moved too fast for me to capture with my painting hands!
The sketch on the right is of one of the old town gates in Vejer de la Frontera, you can see one of my fellow sketchers on the left.
The last sketch in this trio is of the Roman aquaduct in the beautiful village of Santa Lucia.
Mr Groovy and the Blue Heads are a band of hugely talented and versatile musicians, one of the best on the Spanish rhythm and blues scene.
As well as revisiting classic blues themes and interpreting the music of more recent artists (such as Lloyd Jones, Los Deltonos and Vaughan Brothers), they play their own compositions, offering a rollicking live show to lovers of the blues in all its variations.
Back in 2012 Mr Groovy and the Blue Heads commissioned me to design the cover for their excellent third album ‘Jauja‘, so I was flattered to be asked to do the same for their latest release ‘Somos Más’ which celebrates their 10th birthday.
Mr Groovy and the Blue Heads are almost constantly on the road, which is what inspired me to suggest a tour bus for the CD cover. There are now several more ‘Blue Heads’ amongst their number, mostly woodwind and brass players, which is why they chose the title ‘Somos Más’ (meaning ‘there are more of us’). It’s also a nod to the growing number of people who are disillusioned by a corrupt political system which creates and perpetuates austerity.
The rough sketch above helped me to decide on the layout for the front cover which I then redrew carefully in pencil onto fine grained watercolour paper, followed by water resistant pen (below).
The landscape depicted in the background is typically Andalusian, it’s inspired by the view from my studio.
I used pencils to colour in a photocopy of the finished pen drawing as a trial and then applied colour to the actual drawing with watercolour paints. It’s a traditional and time consuming method but I love the warmth that hand painted textures impart to an image.
I scanned the finished painting into Photoshop where I added the text, taking the same hand drawn text style for the band name that I had made for the Jauja cover. I also replaced the white border with a black one (below).
And then on to the back cover…which had to be the back of the bus!
The scene in the background is inspired by the bamboo fringed sand dunes of the Atlantic coast where we live, dotted with bright flowering succulents in the spring.
I worked from my rough sketch (above) in the same way as I had for the front cover, just changing the layout to make space for the track list.
That’s Mr Groovy playing his harmonica in the back of the bus (below)
Having scanned the painting into Photoshop I added the text and digitally collaged the CD covers from the band’s three previous albums and the sea and sky which I had painted separately.
Mr Groovy and the Blue Heads are working non-stop for the imminent release of Somos Más which promises to be a superb mix of swing, funk, blues and second line.
Don’t miss it!