Chumbera!

chumbera, prickly pear, cactus, cadiz, vejer, vejer de la frontera, andalusia, andalucia, pen and watercolour, watercolour, water color, acuarela, sketch, sketchbook, illustration

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! 

Skull and Flower

sheep, skull, barbed wire, flower, still life, pen and watercolour, watercolour, water color, acuarela, sketch, illustration, tribute, death

I have a collection of bones at home, a few of which are on display, including this sheep skull with its barbed wire crown.

I’ve been meaning to draw it for a while and this was the week…

The text translates as “…your poetic essence is still in the neighbourhood…” and is dedicated to a lovely chap from Vejer who lived just round the corner from me and who recently died.

I didn’t know he was ill. 

If I had known that his presence was not a ‘for granted’ thing I would have made time to stop and chat over a coffee more often.

His observations were cheery, wise and gentle…his poetry is timelessly mysterious and beautiful.

Encantada de haberte conocido José Luis.

View from a Cliff Top

barbate, atlantera, atlantic, ocean, andalusia, cliff, sea, landscape, la brena, national park, morocco, marruecos, blue, pen and watercolour, watercolour, water color, acuarela, sketch, travel, illustration

This is a tale of a wild goose chase!

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!

Vichy Catalan

vichy catalan, agua con gas, sparkling water, vicen, pen and watercolour, watercolour, water color, acuarela, sketch, illustration

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.

Detail below:

vichy catalan, agua con gas, sparkling water, vicen, pen and watercolour, watercolour, water color, acuarela, sketch, illustration

vichy catalan, agua con gas, sparkling water, vicen, pen and watercolour, watercolour, water color, acuarela, sketch, illustration

 

Morocco Sketches

casa perleta, laundry, washing lline, chefchaouen, chaouen, chouen, morocco, marruecos, blue, pen and watercolour, watercolour, water color, acuarela, sketch, travel, illustration

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!

morocco, marruecos, mosque, tanger, tangiers, pen and watercolour, watercolour, water color, acuarela, sketch, travel, illustration

Asparagus

I love spring. The first proper heat of the sun after the winter with a side dish of the most tender vegetables. What could be sweeter?

As soon as I bought this bunch of locally grown asparagus I was struck by that yummy combination of zingy green and mauve, it was a test of will to not eat it before I’d painted it.

I had half in a Thai inspired soup and the other in an omelette…delicious!

asparagus, esparrago, spring, vegetables, pen and watercolour, watercolour, water color, acuarela, sketch, food, illustration

Dulce de Belén

dulce de belen, cake, custard tart, ceres, vejer, vejer de la frontera,, pen and watercolour, watercolour, water color, acuarela, sketch, food, illustration

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!

Orchid

orchid, orchid, flowers, pen and watercolour, watercolour, water color, acuarela, sketch, illustration

I’m not very good at looking after these beauties…all the more reason to paint them before they drop off!

As an experimental afterthought I sprinkled a bit of bleach to lift the colour, worked rather well I think!

This one is for my lovely mum! Happy Mother’s Day, I love you dearly xxx

Read Me!

reading glasses, glasses, read, me, spectacles, pen and watercolour, watercolour, water color, acuarela, sketch, illustration, gafas, gafas de leer, eyewear

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!

Strawberries from Conil

strawberries, strawberry, fruit, fresa, fresas, conil, fruta, pen and watercolour, watercolour, water color, sketch, food, illustration, ilustracion, primavera, spring

It’s strawberry season! And you can’t do better than eat the crop from Conil….yum!

It took some discipline to sketch mine in pen and watercolour before wolfing them down.