Archive for March, 2010

University of Granada, Faculty of Fine Art + Cortijada los Gázquez and the Joya Residency


Cortijada Los Gázquez and the Joya residency are very pleased to announce an official affiliation between ourselves and the Faculty of Fine Art at the University of Granada.

This will be an evolving and reciprocal arrangement which includes the validation of our creative courses within their degree programmes. Our international resident artists will also be invited to a make presentation to the Fine Art faculty at Granada University.



Joya Residency Welcomes / The University of the Arts, London, MA.


They are here for a week to work collaboratively at Cortijada Los Gázquez. So on their first day I thought we should give them a good introduction to the history, culture and environment of the Comarca de Los Vélez.

The day started with a guided tour of the Castillo de Vélez Blanco and the old Moorish quarter. But for us we had no ordinary guide. Friend of the Joya residency, Dietmar Roth, Deputy Mayor of Vélez Blanco, Councillor for cultural and environmental affairs and academic gave a fantastic tour of the castle and town. We thank him very much for his time and effort.

maite show

And then in the early evening we had friend of Los GázquezMaite Frade García, the education officer for the Jardines Botanicos, talk to our artists about the environment here. She covered fundamental issues such as the climate, endemic flora and fauna, cultural and historical utilisation of the land as well as the environmental challenges to come. We thank Maite very much too for her time and effort. As you can see our artists hungrily wrote down the information they received for further research.



‘We are the Music Makers, and We are the Dreamers of Dreams’.

sol concert

As a rule it’s best advised to avoid eulogising one’s own children, especially in a blog. But in this one instance forgive me, I am a proud father (there I’ve said it!).

Solomon and Sesamé attend the music school of Leopoldo Torrecillas Iglesias in Vélez Rubio and last Monday they had their first concert. Solomon plays guitar with Juan Ramón Navarro Sánchez which he enjoys very much. Here he is playing a ‘Pequeña Marcha’.

sesame concert

And Sesamé plays the clarinet, here with her tutor José Antonio Millán Garcia. If you were wondering, she is playing Frere Jaquets una popular Francesca.

Little one’s!!!!

p.s. My post title is quoting Willy Wonka (just in case you were also wondering).


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Here at Cortijada Los Gázquez we have a new ‘creative holiday’, ‘Paint Safari’. For those familiar with this blog you will know how passionate we are about this landscape. And in the time we have been in this little known region of Andalucía we have come to know our area intimately.

It was on one such excursion recently, having a picnic with the children, that we looked out upon this landscape (the one above) and thought ‘my goodness look, this beautiful wild space already possesses the forms, rhythms and colours of abstract modernist painting’. And sitting as we are, under the awning alongside our faithful (and essential) Land Rover, we thought, ‘what a great experience this could be for our creative guests’.

So here you have it PAINT SAFARI (maximum three people at any one time) out to the semi-wilderness that constitutes large areas of inland Spain. We will be the ‘painters pathfinder’ taking you to a different and fantastic location each day…

(I would like to add at this point that this is an experience for artists of all abilities who either want to learn or just want to take advantage of the opportunity to have an adventure)

Lunch will be under the awning for shade, table and chairs laid out and a special menu befitting the occasion will be served. Afterwards you can return to your painting until early evening where we return to the comfort of Los Gázquez.

And don’t forget we always have Joya resident artists at hand should you want to share your creative experience or gain advice.

But that’s enough here, please look at our web page PAINT SAFARI.



Joya Residency Welcomes Artist Lee Maelzer

purple treeArtist Lee Maelzer is now installed in her studio at Los Gázquez.

She is an artist who normally works in multiple media formats starting with film and photography and ultimately with paint.

We look forward to seeing how she will respond to the environment here in the Parque Natural Sierra María-Los Vélez, to the giant vistas, the melting snow, endless blue skies, the current moon phase and the almond blossom.

The weather forecast is good and despite the late snow the wind blows warmly from the south and there is a real sense of spring  in the air.



Joya Residency / Tamsin Pender

tamsin's hat

“The rigor of the Los Gázquez landscape and architecture is mediated by delicate beauty and fine detail. After taking in the blissful atmosphere for the first few days, recording the local colours and landscape with drawings and photos, I settled on making my mark with a series of hats made of canvas. Worn outside to provide shade, I hope the hats will become a part of this community. Images of almond blossom drawn directly onto the canvas and embellished with stitch will continue to inhabit the Los Gázquez landscape for seasons to come”.

making tamsins hat



Paint and Poetry

paint and poetry

Last night at Los Gázquez, Joya artist in residence, Tamsin Pender gave us a great presentation on the lives and paintings of her father and grandfather in Mousehole, Cornwall. It was a fascinating trail through history and culture and deeply felt love of this little harbour town. From fishing the Atlantic to the Second World War in North Africa and Italy, all the way up to Tamsin herself exhibiting at the Tate in St Ives.

And to add to the evening young poet Tomas Weber read from his first publication ‘The Small Stones’ published by the Perdika Press who specialise in experimental English poetry.



Joya Residency Welcomes Artist Tamsin Pender

tam penderArtist Tamsin Pender has taken up her residency at Cortijada Los Gázquez. We shall follow her progress as her time here unveils and return to her work in due course. However for the purposes of this blog post I want to talk about her father. Tamsin comes from a long line of Cornish artists and of those predecessors most notable was her father, Jack Pender.

JPender in studio

This is Jack Pender in his studio in Mousehole in 1955. He was one of the St Ives group of painters and part of the Penwith Society of Artists along with Terry Frost, Barbera Hepworth, Patrick Heron and Ben Nicholson amongst others.

I’m a particular fan of 1950/60′s landscape based abstraction so tonight is especially interesting as Tamsin is giving us all a talk on her fathers work and career. I’ve included some examples of Jacks painting over the years mostly from different periods in his life…

adrift 2 1966

Adrift 2 1966

Lamorna 1952

Lamorna 1952

untitled 1940's

Untitled 1940′s



Mountain Bike - Los Gázquez

faisal bikingFriend of Los Gázquez, Faisal, has just returned to the States after a weeks mountain biking in the Sierra Maria around the cortijada. Kindly he has made a contribution to our blog to give a little review for all you mountain bikers out there…

Mountain Biking around Los Gázquez

Cerro El Gabar is possibly the highest point one can cycle to near Los Gázquez. A double-track trail heads north west from the road circumnavigating El Gabar.  The double-track averages 9% and is 2.7 miles from base to peak.  A few spots at 15% with loose stones present a technical challenge on the ascent and potential excitement on the descent.  The descent easily reaches 35-40mph between switchbacks depending on nerves and willingness to apply power.  The top of El Gabar presents an opportunity for a complete panoramic view of area….

Faisal's Gabar 500Sierra de la Muela can be cycled at least two ways.  The steepest trail on La Muela is the unmaintained double-track heading southeast along Barranco del Salar.  The trail grade frequently reaches 16% on loose stones, resulting in a challenging ascent requiring low gearing.  The descent can be performed in excess of 40mph depending on nerves and line selection.  A spot of deep loose gravel can raise ones heart rate a bit on the descent if hit a bit sideways at speed.
The main road climbing and then descending La Muela along the Taibena presents an opportunity to take the challenge either on the ascent or the descent depending on the direction taken.  If ridden from west to east, one frequently climbs at 10% and descends the other side at around 5%.  Taken in the opposite direction, the 10% descent on relatively smooth double-track can easily result in 40+mph.
The best way to reach La Muela from Los Gázquez is the rough double-track descending from Larga to the main road between Cerro Gordo and Cerro Moto.  The double-track averages a rough 10% with spots at 15+%.  Itís a semi-technical high speed descent given the track conditions.

La Muela, Chica Muela and the Moon 500Taibena is the valley you can see left of Chica Muela and La Muela in this photo. The mountain biking fraternity is very welcome at Los Gázquez.


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