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!
Sadly all the prickly pears are in Andalusia are dying because of an infestation of insects but someone told me that there was one still alive on the coastal path which runs through the natural park known locally as La Breña, a pine forrest which covers the area between Barbate, San Ambrosio and Los Caños de Meca in the province of Cádiz.
So I set off to find it and draw it…
It was a needle in a haystack situation!
I did however enjoy the spectacular views from the cliff top and sat up there in a howling wind for an hour or so to sketch this view out over the Atlantic to Atlantera. That´s Morocco in the background.
I have a new tip off for a live prickly pear which is closer to home…fingers crossed!
My friend Vicen, who lived in Catalunya for many years inspired this pen and watercolour sketch. He, like me, loves a glass of Vichy Catalan a delicious mineral water with a sweetish salty taste and gentle bubbles.
The bottle is made of gorgeously textured turquoise glass and as I was looking at the label one day it occurred to me that I could dedicate the sketch to Vicen by slightly rejigging the text.
I called the sketch ‘agua con guasa’ which means water with humour, it’s a play on the words ‘agua con gas’ which means sparkling water in Spanish.
I was lucky enough to take a trip to Morocco recently, my fourth time in the country, but my first time in Chefchaouen which is a glorious blue washed gem of a place. Friendly, beautiful, full of delicious food and beautiful handmade items, I highly recommend it!
To be honest I was a bit overwhelmed by the spectacle of Chefchaouen in terms of committing to sketch it so I chose to depict a simple scene from the roof of our delightful guest house, Casa Perleta.
I met friends in Tangiers (I painted the mosque below in the time between my ferry arriving from Tarifa in Spain and their plane arriving from London) and we drove down to Chefchaouen together. It’s usually a two hour drive but the traffic that evening was ‘lively’, to put it mildly!
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!