Archive for Landscape

We’re back and obviously safe to visit…

Previously visitors to our site might have encountered a Google warning telling them that ‘there is malicious content on this site, enter at your own risk’. Basically some deviant had injected malicious code onto the files of our server. For us this has been a headache  to put it mildly. However the situation seems to be resolved and I would like to say a big thank you to good friends who gave time, skills and energy to fixing the problem.

Firstly Mark Disley (my Mac Guru) of SQUAREEYES Apple Mac Support Services

‘Initial purchase advice and support. Basic installation, setup and tuition. Operating system updates and installs. Broadband advice and connection. iPhone, iPod and AppleTV setup. Wireless internet and network setup - file and music sharing. Data transfer from old mac to new mac, or from camera and video to iPhoto and iMovie. Advice and installation of software and utilities to make your mac work the way you want. iLife and all Apple software help plus advice and training with pretty much any other applications you have. Troubleshooting, spring cleaning and optimisation, preventative maintenance and annual servicing. Remote login to your mac for ‘live’ software repairs and training. Backup advice and implementation. Domain registration, email setup, web forwarding and hosting advice. Wiping your old mac and preparing it for you to sell’.

And secondly, the coincidental and divine intervention of our current resident artist Francesca Sciandra who, whilst claiming to be no expert, put the final nail into the coffin of malware content on our site. You can find out more about here work on this blog in the coming days but in the mean time here…

Thank you both.



Creative Course / Digital Sierras

digital-sierras-1Last weeks digital photography course has drawn to an end and we are particularly proud of the results achieved by one of our guests Stephen Drew. Stephen (and I don’t think he would mind me saying this) has previously never taken a photograph with the intention to create art. He arrived last week with a new camera armed with a basic knowledge of how to use it and look at what he has achieved. Thank you Stephen for letting us share your photos…







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Creative Course ‘Las Ramblas’ / Joya: arte + ecología resident artists Judy and Mark Macklin


Meandering across this alpine desert, cutting pathways through the mountains, are beautiful and geographically dramatic fluvial systems called ‘Rambla’.

These are dry ephemeral streams whose morphological changes are caused by very infrequent high energy events when a rain threshold is exceeded and the dry river flows again.

Such environments in an arid landscape are inevitably teaming with life forms and geological formations. Bee Eaters, Golden Oriole, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Shrikes, Hoopoes and many more. Plant life is abundant too and the nature of the water course’s character creates dramatic and beautiful geological form.

It is a place to spend a day or more, to creatively drink from this ‘invisible’ river.

This is a weeks multi media course formatted to explore this environment in whatever manner you choose. It’s an opportunity to research, catalogue and celebrate the abundance and quiet drama of one of Andalucia’s special places.

Creative Courses start at €314 (245 GBP/385USD) contact [email protected] for further details.

Simultaneously here at Cortijada Los Gázquez our residency Joya: arte + ecología is hosting artists Judy and Mark Macklin who have a ‘rambla’ project…

Judy & Mark Macklin 500

Visual Narratives of Deep Time in Las Ramblas

‘The aim of this interdisciplinary project is to explore the notion of ‘deep time’, particularly human- environment interactions in the context of Las Ramblas – the iconic ephemeral rivers of southeast Spain.  We will use traditional geological techniques within a novel graphic and text-based framework to produce a rich visual dialogue that documents the physical, biological and cultural evolution of river forms and landscapes.

Judy and Mark’s recent collaborations include land-art interventions related to the Neolithic and Europe’s first farmers in Romania, and ‘a sense of place’ in the peatland rivers of Ireland and the Netherlands.  This project will explore the seemingly counterintuitive notion of ‘dryland rivers’, and the role of water and water (mis)management in creating a palimpsest of landforms.  Issues considered will be: Ice Age legacies, prehistoric and historical land-use, rapid climate change and the impacts of anthropogenic global warming’.

Judy is a practising Artist and Educator based at the School of Art, and School of Education and Lifelong Learning, Aberystwyth University.  She is a printmaker specialising in wood and linocuts.  Mark is Professor of Physical Geography and Director of the Centre for Catchment and Coastal Research, Aberystwyth University. He is an authority on river systems and environmental change.



My Watercolour Sketchbook #6 / Mi Cuaderno de Acuarelas #6


The cliff face of Las Cuevas de Ambrosia, columns of limestone standing in front of the cliff face itself. This wall of limestone is populated by bickering alpine choughs and peregrine falcons and shadows cast by passing vultures.



My Watercolour Sketchbook #3 / Mi Cuaderno de Acuarela #3


This painting is made from the Loma de Fajado in the Sierra Larga at an altitude of 1200m (3937 ft.) above sea level. The view, in the foreground, is of the Torre de Charcon with it’s ruined Moorish watch tower. The mountain is forested with Aleppo pine and ploughed to grow almonds along terraces. The white expanse behind this is a large cloud inversion. Beyond this is the Sierra Maimón which reaches a height of 1700m (5577 ft.). Below this mountain lies our beautiful village of Vélez Blanco.



Granada Biennale / ‘The Unseen…’ / day #2


and the cross braces of the mould which hold the upper part of the shuttering vertical gently come away to see what the results are…

IMG_3234and here is stage one, no air pockets (crucial for it’s overall structural integrity) and no cracks.

IMG_3239and here is stage two going up. The mould is elevated on the previous days ‘rammed earth’ and the excavation begins. We now have volunteers too, Gerónima, Patricia and Andrés.



Joya: arte + ecología / Lights Going On / AGUAZERO

Once again friend and collaborator of Cortijada Los Gázquez and the Joya: arte + ecología residency/opportunity, Gill Nicol of Lights Going On has created another post on her fantastic web site in support of our AGUAZERO award. Joya: arte + ecología is inviting submissions for a competition which has an environmental agenda.

This is the sixth week Gill Nicol, as an independent arts consultant specialising in contemporary art, has looked at an artist who has engaged with environmental issues through their work. These ‘posts’ are designed to be ‘inspirational prompts’ for those considering applying for the award.


Christine Baeumler

Artist Christine Baeumler has recently focused on the Amazon rainforest and the creatures that are in danger of being wiped out within the fragile ecosystem. In 2009, she travelled to the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve; five million acres of rainforest in northeastern Peru. The resulting photographs are of black caimans, river otters and howler monkeys; the images then worked on with dark ink and paint, literally making them disappear.

She says
‘I approach my work through the combined perspective of art and the natural sciences. By placing myself in the role of the careful observer, I shadow the practices of earlier naturalist explorers who traveled to investigate unfamiliar species and habitats. Research has taken me to the Northern Australian Rainforest, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. My practice departs from scientific inquiry in the subjectivity of the results. The work is not a description of place but rather a record of my experience through the process of perception and memory.’

Currently, my work is motivated by the impact of global climate disruption on rainforests, reefs and in the deep sea. My concern lies not only with the diminishment of ecosystems but also with the extinction of the human experience and knowledge of these environments and the species that inhabit them. By portraying worlds remote from our daily experiences, yet impacted ecologically by our actions, the work offers the viewer a glimpse into these compelling, fragile, and often invisible worlds.

Since July 2007, Christine has been involved in an ongoing dialogue with LAND2, part of PLaCE based at University of West of England, in Bristol. PLaCE is a grouping of creative, practice led, academic research centers that address issues of site, location, context and environment at the intersection of a multiplicity of disciplines and practices. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, USA.

This is the sixth artist I have looked at, who focuses on ecological issues in their practice; written as part of an invitation by Los Gazquez and their opportunity/residency award AGUAZERO/Joya: arte + ecología.



Joya: arte + ecología / ecoarttech

The collaboration of American artists Leila Nadir and Cary Peppermint as ecoarttech are coming to Joya: arte + ecología in May and June 2012. Their work is unique in it’s simultaneous engagement with issues of sustainability and new media culture. Click on the image to find out more.


ecoarttech is excited about the opportunity to further explore our philosophies and practices in the unique environment provided for artists at Joya: arte + ecología, Cortijada Los Gázquez. We spend a lot of time in the North American wilderness, and we believe Los Gázquez and the Joya facilities would provide the opportunity to respond to a new type of “wild” space, including a new ecosystem and the off-the-grid design.’

Leila Nadir and Cary Peppermint



Tales of the Old Sea

Is the title of a wonderful book by English author Norman Lewis. After the war he came to the part of Cataluña we are in now but back then it was very different. Tourism hadn’t really started and his book anecdotally documents it’s arrival and the changes made upon this place and its people. This picture is from the 70′s I’m guessing as Donna remembers the little flat bottomed cruiser pulling up on the beach. It’s strange to see the world expanding and yet getting smaller simultaneously…




Out on my Bicycle

Getting the lay of the land. Calella de Palafrugell from the Faro de San Sebastian…




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