Tapas Time

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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!

 

Cover Design – ‘Green Tea’

My lovely and very talented friend, the actor, playwright, voice over artist and photographer Marcel Snyders recently asked me to design the cover for his play ‘Té Verde’ (‘Green Tea’ in English) which will soon be published in Spain.

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Té Verde is a funny and chilling tale dealing with strained family relationships as a mother waits impatiently to die while being attended by her two daughters and two volunteer carers in a hospice.

Having read the play I laughed out loud and immediately agreed to take the project on.

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I roughly sketched out my initial idea of an aerial view of two tea cups a number of times (above) until I’d found the version which ‘clicked’.

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The rough full size layout of the chosen design is shown above.

The closeness of the cups represents the relationship between the two green tea drinking characters in the play; also, the angle between the cup handles and the intersection of the saucers at the edge of the image is intended to create a sense of tension. 

Marcel approved the layout at this stage and I drew the design out more carefully on watercolour paper, first in pencil, then in waterproof pen before adding layers of watercolour paint (below).

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Marcel was keen on an eye catching combination of green and red for the cover; they’re complementary colours which makes them ‘pop’ dramatically when they appear next to each other; an effect that further raises the tension of the composition.

Finally I scanned the painting into Photoshop, added the text and some ‘splatter’ effects to reinforce the violence suggested by the ‘bloody’ background  (below and top).

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Tajo de Ronda

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To celebrate my 50th birthday on the 5th June I traveled to beautiful Andalusian town of Ronda in the province of Málaga.

I booked into the lovely Catalonia Reina Victoria Hotel and spa for a bit of luxury pampering…

….and it was lush. I think the anti-aging facial was a bit too little too late but it felt delightful!!

I painted this view of the Tajo de Ronda from the balcony of my room while I was sunbathing.

 

Emerson Radio Sketch

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Another visit to the antique radio collection, this time to sketch an Emerson Erla art deco model made in the United States in 1934.

Today’s stormy weather added to the sense of peace and cosiness in the back room of Angel’s shop; all in all a lovely way to spend a couple of hours.

RCA Radio Sketch

rca, antique, retro, vintage, radio, pen and wash, pen and watercolour, watercolour, watercolor, sketch, inktober, sketchbookI am reliably informed by Señor Angel, Vejer’s proud and knowledgeable collector of antique radios, that this art deco style beauty was produced by RCA in the USA in 1933 and was modelled on the Empire State building.

Its name is Victor and  it’s brown in real life.

I was laughing to myself while I was painting as Angel was twisting the tuning knob of an old set and creating that glorious whiny crackle that one hears so rarely these days…joy!

Philips Radio Sketch

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Continuing the retro radio theme for my sketch session this morning I returned to the radio shop / museum and chose a Philips model which was manufactured in Great Britain, Holland and France between 1930 and 1934.

Needless to say I took liberties with the colours…the actual radio was made out of Bakelite, the world’s first completely synthetic plastic, which was invented in 1907 by Leo Baekeland and is actually brown with reddish hues. I felt purple was a more interesting option so I used my artistic license.

Bagaly Radio Sketch

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There’s a gorgeously eccentric shop in town which sells assorted hardware and houses an impressive and beautiful collection of old radios.

The owner plays classical music which spills out onto the street, inviting passers by to enter (worked on me).

I spent a very happy hour in there yesterday sketching this French example and intend to go back again, and again and again…

Feather Sketches

Here are a couple of feather related pen and watercolour sketches I made recently

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Above – the fascinator I wore to my second cousin’s lovely wedding a couple of days ago…

…and below, the poor partridge my walking companion killed this morning, naughty dog…

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Springtime Vejer

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It was lovely to get out in the spring sunshine this Saturday morning with the Vejer Sketchers and capture this view of Vejer in pen and watercolour.

Tricky angle, hence the slanted sketchbook!

Starter for Ten (out of Ten)

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Those who read my last blog about the mini cup cakes will know that I set myself the challenge of drawing the food at last night’s Alquimia food fest.

The food was indeed divine and the company sublime; my favourite dish was the starter, a delicious concoction of grilled asparagus on sour dough bread topped with a poached duck yolk and jamon Iberico de bellota, which in English means Iberian cured ham from free-range, acorn eating pigs.

The rest of the dishes were wonderful to look at as well, but not so my sketches! Blame fatigue, over excitement, self consciousness…whatever…I attempted two more and then decided to concentrate on eating my dinner while it was hot!

Thank you and congratulations to Alquimia, can’t wait for the next event.