Archive for Creative Course

creative course / Art Forms in Nature

AFIN April

This is an ‘applied arts’ programme where one can explore the nature of form and pattern occurring in the natural world. One then has the opportunity to consider and develop a practice of manipulating these forms in preparation for ‘applied or ‘decorative’ arts, be it for wallpaper, ceramics, furniture, graphic design, textiles, etc. The choice is yours.

Plant life, geology, climate, light, insects and more are all the traditional haunt of artists in their search for design. Consider the capital of a Corinthian column whose form is dictated by the folding leaves of the acanthus. The filleted fish bones pressed by Picasso into wet clay for a plate. The symmetry and organic form in the prints of Ernst Haeckel and his observations in nature.

Here at Los Gázquez we have an abundance of pristine nature to explore. From atop the forested or craggy slopes of the sierras down to the barrancas and ramblas in the valleys below, the gentle but fascinating study of life and physical form is a place you can draw inspiration and exercise your creative mind.

Take advantage of our ‘early bird’ discounts.

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Creative Course / Exploring Contemporary Art

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Exploring Contemporary Art at Cortijada Los Gázquez

Two five day summer schools in 2012

30 June – 4 July and 7 July – 11 July

Ever wondered what contemporary art is all about?

What exactly post-modernism is but were too afraid to ask?

Fancy learning something new whilst enjoying a sun-filled summer break?

‘Exploring Contemporary Art’ is a five day summer school that delves into contemporary art, why it looks the way it does and what it may all mean. Combined with fantastic Mediterranean food, twilight walks, starlight cinema and a focus on art and ecology, this summer school will equip you with the confidence to understand and ask questions of contemporary art. It takes place here at Cortijada Los Gázquez, a tranquil and stunning artists eco- retreat within a national park in the mountains of Andalucía, Spain.

Gill Nicol runs ‘lights going on’, making contemporary art accessible through talks, courses, training and workshops. Gill trained as an artist and has worked for many organisations including the Tate, Henry Moore Institute and the Ikon Gallery. Here’s what participants have said about her venture:

Most enjoyable was Gill’s approach and style of teaching. The informative, fizzy and genuine style turns two hours of talking into an enjoyable and stimulating experience.

Great delivery – passionate and engaging, but not too intellectual. – Make it longer, I wanted more!

Simon and Donna Beckmann are the directors of Cortijada Los Gázquez  creative retreat / eco-guest house and founders of Joya: arte + ecología – a residency/opportunity for artists engaged with ecology. Here is what previous guests and artists have said about them:

I don’t think that there was any point in my life when almost all my joys – art, outdoors, long walks, food, Mediterranean, peace, laughter, olive trees, soulful people and great conversations – were condensed in 12 hours a day, every day, for a week. Another one into the gratitude box’!

‘I could not have hoped for a better combination of restorative holiday and artistic challenge– I really appreciate the time they personally took to help me develop my skills and direction as an artist – and I have come away energised and inspired, and perhaps slightly chubbier from all that delicious cooking, bliss’!


Day one. Arrive, introduction to the next three days by Simon and Gill with champagne and supper with introductions.

Day two. Start bright and early after breakfast with session one 1900-1960. An introduction to Modernism, with key works from Picasso, Duchamp and Jackson Pollock, looking at Expressionism, Cubism and Surrealism.

Lunch at 14.00hrs followed by siesta. Early evening walk/workshop. Evening light meal followed by The Joya: arte + ecology ’starlight cinema’ projected onto the back of the cortijada, with a focus on an artists biography. Titles to be announced.

Day three. Another fabulous breakfast followed by session two 1960-1990. A look at post-modernism, and a whole load of ‘isms’ such as Arte Povera, Conceptual Art, Minimalism, Performance and Pop Art.

Lunch at 14.00hrs followed by siesta. Early evening walk/workshop. Evening light meal followed by The Joya: arte + ecology ’starlight cinema’.

Day four. Enjoy the penultimate sun-soaked beautiful breakfast before commencing session three, the last 20 years. An in depth look at the YBA’s (young British Artists) and many other contemporary artists to understand how their work relates back to other works; how their practice reflects society and underlying themes of the last ten years. The last hour will look at 4 artists who work with the environment.

Lunch at 14.00hrs followed by siesta. Early evening walk/workshop. Evening light meal followed by Q+A  and a recap of the previous sessions. Finish the day with a party to celebrate what you have learned and shared

Day five. After breakfast leave Cortijada los Gázquez with new found confidence with contemporary art and a lot of good food inside you.

Cost: £ 500 for the summer school. This includes tuition, food and accommodation, but NOT flights.

Getting there: You can fly to Alicante, Granada, Almería or Murcia from where you can hire a car, take public transport (not Murcia) or we can arrange a taxi for you and your friends.

As an alternative, there is always the train.

Let’s suppose you are leaving a city in Northern Europe, for example London. Your destination is Granada, only an hour and a half away from Los Gázquez.

Take the lunchtime Eurostar to Paris and find a nice little restaurant there for supper. Next, take the ‘trainhotel’ overnight to Madrid.

The next morning? Well you will have plenty of time to visit one of the three big national art galleries here.

Museo del Prado – Goya’s ‘Black Paintings’ for example.

Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza – Miro, Kandinsky, Klee and all the way back to the guilded jewels of Italian and Dutch primitives.

Museo Nacional Centre de Arte Reina Sofia – Picasso’s Guernica.

When you have had your fill go and find some tapas on Cava Baja and then make your way to Atocha station and board the late afternoon train to Granada. It arrives just as the city comes awake at about nine thirty in the evening. Drink in some nightlife and the next morning visit the Alhambra Palace and Generalife gardens.

Bursting at the seams with culture you will be ready to visit Los Gázquez for a quiet considered and creative response to the fabulous art and architecture you have just seen.

Otherwise you can fly in the knowledge that your carbon foot print for such a journey is about equivalent to a week’s stay in a conventional hotel. Here at Los Gázquez we are carbon neutral so you have more or less offset the carbon emissions of your flight completely.

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Early Bird Booking rates for Creative Courses

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Cortijada Los Gázquez are offering discounted rates on creative courses if you book well in advance. For further details please look here. EARLY BIRD BOOKING

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New Creative Course / art and ecology

Art Ecology 500

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Creative Course / Book Arts / 6th-13th August


To coincide with the residency of New York artist Eva Mantell, Cortijada Los Gázquez has created a ’special’ creative course which will be complemented by her presence as part of the Joya: arte + ecología residency.

We are calling it a creative course in observation and invention, a sketch book builder. Each creative guest at Los Gázquez will be given a hand-made blank sketch book. The idea is to nurture such skills as documenting the external world with keenly observed drawings from around Los Gázquez and to encourage ‘digressions’ into the internal world, finding creativity through invention.

For example Conrad Martens. He accompanied Darwin on the voyage of The Beagle as expedition artist, continually making drawings from places visited and things seen. Possibly most famously JMW Turner created nearly 300 sketchbooks in his lifetime with 30,000 sketches in pencil pen and watercolour.

In this instance your sketch book will be your travel document, the depository for your considered observation and your imagination.

As with our other creative courses they are all inclusive with the exception of collection from points of disembarkation. The price is 850 euros per person and to secure your place you can make a reservation by contacting Simon here

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