Archive for June, 2011

Michelangelo @ Cortijada Los Gázquez / nourishing the artist


This post is for all you folk out there who have been following all our activities at Cortijada Los Gázquez and who have either thought…

A. I would like to go there one day.

B. I wonder what their courses are like?

C. What will I gain from attending a course there?

D. Etc…

Well, in answer to your question why not look at how someone who has been here described their experience. Michelangelo came with his wife and son from San Francisco for our Art Forms in Nature course. Read what he had to say and then get back to me…



Comments (1)

SUPERCALIFRAGILÍSTICO! / Sorry but it’s ‘Proud Dad Time’ #2


Live from the beautiful Iglesia del Carmen in Vélez Rubio, El Conservatorio Leopoldo Torrecillas Iglesias presented the Concierto Final Curso 2010/2011 last night, and as you can see the audience, despite the early evening heat, were gripped with anticipation…


and there, at the back of the clarinet ensemble (playing a popular mix from Moonlight Serenade, The Jungle Book, Harry Potter and Pirates of the Caribbean) was Sesamé! (very proud). And they were all fantastic largely down to the inspiration of their tutor José Antonio Millán García.


And the finale was with the orchestra and choir of the conservatory singing (and playing) ‘Los Chicos del Coro’, Supercalifragilístico’ and ‘Gaudeamus Igitur’ (which sounded just like a Coldplay song).

What an evening…



A Gyre of Human Connectedness…

KontikiIt was about this time last year that in a search for something to read in English, I rummaged through our old collection of paperback Penguins. And up popped this, “The Kontiki Expedition’ by Thor Heyerdahl. I remembered the story from those now lost days when BBC2 used to programme this kind of thing. It’s a great read (even if some of their accounts about encounters with the natural world are a little old fashioned). I remember last summer sharing the enthusiasm for this story with a friend from Argentina who was also equally fascinated with the tale.

And then coincidentally I spotted on the internet something called Plastiki, a similar voyage taken last summer in a boat made from 12000 plastic bottles. I blogged the story back then here. Pretty obviously Plastiki was / is intended to highlight the disastrous plight of our oceans particularly from plastics, most notably plastic bottles..

imagesThen imagine my surprise  the other week when guests arrived at Cortijada Los Gázquez who have a creative / campaigning association with Plastiki. Jay Little is an environmental artist, over here from California with his wife and kids. The subject came up after I noticed him avidly reading my book on Jacques Coustau (obviously). Jay is responsible for The Message Bottle Project. For the last 17 years Jay has been launching a series of glass message bottles from every conceivable vessel and spanning all five major oceans to underscore the importance of preserving the world’s oceans and draw attention to marine pollution (particularly plastic debris). He has released 235 bottles with 22 confirmed discoveries.

david_jo_bottle_thumbOne of Jay’s bottles has been launched from The Plastiki whilst on route across the Pacific (left). This bottle is special as it has been tagged with satellite technology and what is more you can follow it’s progress around the globe by following this link. For more information you can go to our Joya: arte + ecología page on Facebook and look under our list of likes. There you will see Message Bottle Project and from there you can read more.

Needless to say we are delighted that people are coming to us because we share so many of the same values. And we will be tracking Jay Little‘s Plastiki bottle.



The Point of Pencils / new course dates

TPOP 3 500

THE POINT OF PENCILS drawing from observation and the imagination

Whether you want to learn by observation or simply employ your imagination this is a creative course which recaptures the beauty of the drawn line.

A pencil and paper to draw is a basic human skill. They are tools for your thoughts and means to express your creativity. The expression of ideas and concepts in this manner is the principle way in which we socially and culturally participate with the  world.

The Point of Pencils teaches perspective, composition, tone (the use of light and dark) and observation etc.

What do drawings mean to me? I really don’t know. The activity absorbs me. I forget everything else in a way that I don’t think happens with any other activity…’

John Berger

‘The very act of drawing an object, however badly, swiftly takes the drawer from a woolly sense of what the object looks like to a precise awareness of it’s component parts and particularities’.

Alain de Botton

‘The art of drawing which is of more real importance to the human race than that of writing… should be taught to every child just as writing is…’

John Ruskin

Long Break – 7 nights/6 days tuition – full board including tuition – 850 euros per person.

Short Break – 3 nights/2 days tuition – full board – 314 euros pp based on 2 sharing – single supplement – 366 euros.



The Food of Art / new course dates 3-10/9/2011

Food_of_Art_2 2 500The Food of Art is a creative course for those who enjoy creative activities around food such as food presentation, illustration and photography. As an eco-guest house our food is seasonal, fresh and local. Itʼs the food of a well travelled peasant, infused as it is with the colours and the flavours of India and the Mediterranean Basin….

If you would like to know more follow this link FOOD OF ART .



Sorry but it’s Proud Dad Time!


The programme sandwiched Solomon between Óscar Guevara Botía and Ana María Martinez Expósito (don’t you just love these Spanish names?) at the end of term concert at the music school ‘Leopoldo Torecillas Iglesias’ in Vélez Rubio and it was fantastic. Sol played ‘Brante Inglés’ (wonder why?) by Adriansen and like all the other Dads I know, obviously I think he ‘has a gift’!

She probably won’t see this but I would like to thank his teacher Lola Rodríguez Paredes for being so inspirational. (and a wonderful musician too).


Comments (1)

Vélez Blanco early in the morning…


and the view of the Conviento La Conception and La Muela on the Sierra Gigante


Comments (1)

New Creative Course / DIGITAL SIERRAS

DS 5

This is a new Creative Course from Cortijada Los Gázquez with a unique perspective designed to put Fine Art and genuine creativity into your photography.

This is also the opportunity to capture the epic landscapes of the high sierras of untouched Spain, the high planes and lost locations. Experience from within the semi-wilderness, the alpine desert. Possess the sun and feel it’s warmth on your face. With 300 days of sunshine a year we can guarantee the drama of shadow and light…

For more information look here DIGITAL SIERRAS

If you would like to book contact Simon through this blog.





This month we are going to take trips beyond Gabar to the dry lands, the ‘alto plano’, the high plains to the north west of Cortijada Los Gázquez.
This is a beautiful dramatic landscape fringed to the north by the Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas and to the south by the Sierra María-Los Vélez. The land between undulates in the direction of the old Nazarid Kingdom of Granada. The colours of the fields are punctuated by solitary oak trees and long abandoned cortijos. On the ground Great Bustards call while above eagles hunt and vultures forever search for carrion.
To discover more about PAINT SAFARI look here…
If you would like to join us contact Simon [email protected]


A New Entry in our Guest Book / sorry couldn’t resist!


Although a bigger email is in order, just wanted to say again what a special time we had with you. You and Donna have a pretty magical experience you are offering - especially to artists that need to get back in touch with the creative inner being that drives us. You guys looked after us so well, spoiled us! And the way you and Soli and Sesi looked after Oscar (their son, 6yrs.) and included him was just amazing. Being around you, Donna and Angie (Lewin our Joya artist in residence at the time) really put us back into a place we missed desperately - amongst great and experienced artists, sharing inspiration, conversation, and life experience. You have and will continue to inspire us for a long time to come“.

Thanks dearly from Karen, Mich, and Osc.

- Mich

Sent from my iPhone.

Art forms in nature 3 500It’s immodest to quote an entry in our guest book I know but these guys came all the way from California to be with us at Cortijada Los Gázquez for the creative course Art Forms in Nature. And it was a pleasure having the three of them here with us. For further details on our creative courses please look here and we hope to see you in the future.



« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »