Amalia’s Arch Mural

My lovely friend Amalia (herself a talented watercolourist) asked me to design and paint a mural for the back room in her Vejer pharmacy which she is renovating.

arch, mural, drawing, plants, flowers, illustration, valerian, chamomile, passion flower, kava, herbalism, natural remedies, calm, tranquillising, tranqullizing, stress relief, botanical, pharmacy, sketchbook

The room has an impressive archway and will be used as a venue for workshops on health related matters such as diabetes, pre- and post-natal care and managing stress through yoga and meditation.

Amalia’s brief for the mural was that it should include plants and impart a sense of harmony and tranquility.

I selected various plants with tranquililising properties during a web search, printed photos and set about developing drawings in my sketchbook.

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I came up with two options for the mural; one using the arch as a frame for a botanical drawing of an entire valerian plant 

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the other embelleshing the arch itself with a more stylised arrangement of kava, valerian, passionflower and chamomile.

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Amalia selected the second option which I then developed into a more detailed drawing (below). 

arch, mural, drawing, plants, flowers, illustration, valerian, chamomile, passion flower, kava, herbalism, natural remedies, calm, tranquillising, tranqullizing, stress relief, botanical, pharmacy, sketchbook

I drew just the left half of the design in detail. I then photographed it and used Photoshop to duplicate and flip it to create a mirror image. I printed out the drawing and packed it in my suitcase in readiness for my trip to Vejer.

Being faced with the actual wall was quite daunting at first, I had to be up and down a ladder to gain proper perspective as I worked which took its toll on my neck and ankles! 

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I drew the left side of the mural onto the wall in pencil. When I was happy with the layout I traced it in sections, flipping each one over so that I could copy the mirror image to the right side of the arch.

I painted the white parts first; then came the colour…I made a chart as a mixing guide.

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Using the grey-green wall colour as a base I added tiny amounts of acrylic paint to get all the subtle shades required to colour the mural.

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arch, mural, drawing, plants, passion, flowers, illustration, decoration

The mural is certainly subtle and elegant and has been received very generously.

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The pale colours do make it difficult to photograph the entire mural well however, so here are some details:

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View from the Castle – Sketch

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I made this little pen and watercolour sketch of the view through the castle ramparts at a recent meeting of the Vejer Sketchers.

Sketches of Vejer

Here are a couple of pen and watercolour sketches I made on a recent trip to Vejer. plaza de espana, vejer, vejer de la frontera, vejer sketchers, pen and watercolour, watercolour, water color, acuarela, sketch, illustration, torre del mayorazgoplaza de espana, vejer, vejer de la frontera, vejer sketchers, pen and watercolour, watercolour, water color, acuarela, sketch, illustration, kathryn hockey, artist, illustrator

 

That’s me, right, in the Plaza de España trying to capture a quick likeness of la Torre del Mayorazgo (above) before the morning sun burnt my shoulders.

 

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Drawing the beautiful view from the living room in my friends’ house on Calle Levante (left) was a more leisurely affair; just as well as it took a few corrections to get the angles of the buildings right.

Tapas Time

 sketchbook, pasta, ricotta, spinach, red onion sauce, la posta, italian restaurant, tapas, ruta de tapas, tapas por vejer, vejer, vejer de la frontera, vejer sketchers, pen and wash, pen and watercolour, watercolor, sketch, illustration, food, pueblos mas bonitos de espana, drawing, painting, gamba, langostino, mercado de abastos, market, street food, fish, roe, mercado de san francisco, 4 estaciones restaurant

There’ve been two public holidays in Spain this week; Wednesday the 6th and Friday 8th December to mark the Spanish constitution and the immaculate conception(!) respectively.

So to celebrate, Vejer went into ‘Pueblo Abierto’ (Open Village) mode, flinging back the doors of her monuments and putting on a Ruta de Tapas (tapas route). 

During the Ruta de Tapas 12 restaurants put up their best little dishes for sale at 3€ (including a drink) and hundreds of people try to taste them all within the 8 hour over 2 days time frame. There’s a tapas route map which you need to get stamped in every establishment you eat at – if you get the full set of stamps you can vote for your favourite dish and enter a competition to win a computer. Tasty and hectic, start early!

The Vejer Sketchers arranged a meeting on Saturday so I popped into town with the intention of sketching (and eating) food in tapas form.

First stop the market (below)…not strictly part of the official tapas route but hey ho, the only place open when I started sketching. I didn’t eat this one, the roe was pretty but not gastronomically appealing so I gave it back unsullied to the fish counter lady once the sketch was finished.

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Next stop, La Posta for some yummy spinach and ricotta pasta in a red onion sauce (below)

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Then on to the 4 Estaciones (4 Seasons) for some delicious beef with Japanese flavours in a crunchy filo pocket (below)

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Confession time: I ran out of steam and didn’t draw the last dish I ate…the establishment was struggling under the weight of the hoard by then so it took a long time to procure said tapas, which although delicious was not pretty!

 

Annie B’s Food Map

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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.

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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.

sketch, layout, illustration, food, map, andalucia, andalusia, annie b, spanish kitchen, vejer, cadiz, jerez, sherry, cerdo iberico, queso de cabra, goats cheese, iberian pork, retinto, beef, tuna, atun, octopus, pulpo, flamenco, squid, calamari, lemon, limon, anchovies, anchoas, prawns, gambas, atlantic ocean, oceano atlantico, mediterranean sea, mar mediterraneo, solera, spices, vineyard, bodega, chorizo, olive oil, acete de oliva

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!).

pencil, outline, illustration, food, map, andalucia, andalusia, annie b, spanish kitchen, vejer, cadiz, jerez, sherry, cerdo iberico, queso de cabra, goats cheese, iberian pork, retinto, beef, tuna, atun, octopus, pulpo, flamenco, squid, calamari, lemon, limon, anchovies, anchoas, prawns, gambas, atlantic ocean, oceano atlantico, mediterranean sea, mar mediterraneo, solera, spices, vineyard, bodega, chorizo, olive oil, acete de oliva

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).

pen, watercolour, water color, drawing, painting, illustration, food, map, andalucia, andalusia, annie b, spanish kitchen, vejer, cadiz, jerez, sherry, cerdo iberico, queso de cabra, goats cheese, iberian pork, retinto, beef, tuna, atun, octopus, pulpo, flamenco, squid, calamari, lemon, limon, anchovies, anchoas, prawns, gambas, atlantic ocean, oceano atlantico, mediterranean sea, mar mediterraneo, solera, spices, vineyard, bodega, chorizo, olive oil, acete de oliva

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! 

Vintage Telefunken Radio

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I finally made time to return to Señor Angel’s vintage radio museum in Vejer this week…it had been a year since I made my last radio sketch.

The German company Telefunken manufactured this Capricho model in Spain in the mid to late 1950s. Angel told me that red radios were the most popular choice in Spain at that time….pretty! 

 

Chumbera!

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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! 

Dulce de Belén

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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!

Frog Fountain

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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

La Pinturera – Group Exhibition

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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)….

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…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.

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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.