Archive for January, 2012

ICE / sunshine and a cold northerly wind




Early Bird Booking rates for Creative Courses

early bird 6 2

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



PAINT SAFARI in the Sierra María-Los Vélez

Paint Safari 4

Here in the region of Los Vélez we live in a painter’s landscape. The naturally occurring forms and rhythms, pigmented earth and clear blue skies are already imbued with the rich gestural qualities of abstract modernism. The landscape invokes memories of the paintings by David Bomberg, Ivon Hitchens, Paul Nash and Georgia O’Keeffe.

And there is a drama in this space, as the sun’s shadow cuts the mountains, the tangible sense of wilderness, the sense of history, the feeling of awe, all inspire emotive responses to the landscape redolent of so many artists before us. Caspar David Friedrich, John Sel Cotman, J.M.W Turner and John Robert Cozens.

Cortijada Los Gázquez is offering the opportunity to be a painter’s pathfinder. Your guide, artist Simon Beckmann, with his intimate knowledge and love of this landscape, will take you to the special places here, places inaccessible by conventional means and unknown by any other. This is a unique opportunity to understand the sights before your eyes and to have the space and time to paint and draw them.

For although we are accustomed to separate nature and human perception into two realms, they are in fact, indivisible. Before it can ever be a repose for the senses, landscape is the work of the mind. It’s scenery is built up as much from strata of memory as from layers of rock.

Simon Schama ‘Landscape and Memory’

This is a creative and cultural holiday that will leave your senses stretched and fulfilled and your artwork scaling new heights.

In the morning you will be taken by Land Rover to one of the numerous, fabulous and virtually unknown locations to spend the day painting. As you ‘set up’ for the morning’s work one of our team erects the awning above the table and chairs, and prepares a delicious lunch. Afterwards you can return, uninterrupted, to your art work. Advice and tuition is at hand should you wish, otherwise you will have the time and space to explore your own creative endeavor.

Early evening will see you returning to Cortijada Los Gázquez with your days work. Here you will have the opportunity to rest, freshen up, and enjoy an evening meal amongst our small community of professional artists responding to this environment in similar ways as part of Los Gázquez’s Joya residency. Evenings are convivial and stimulating and represent an equal part in your personal growth as a landscape artist.

Paint Safari is a unique creative break and numbers are limited to a maximum of three at any one time. The price is all inclusive, with collection from the airport and carriage to Cortijada Los Gázquez eco-guest house. Here there are cool and comfortable bedrooms with attached bathrooms, an art library and large sitting room linked to a walled garden as well as fifty acres of almond orchards at your disposal.

The kitchen at Cortijada Los Gázquez creates meals from locally produced food. It’s style is simple and hearty, it’s origins migrate from India, across North Africa, through the Mediterranean and settle in Andalucía.

In addition you can enjoy small and informal talks from our resident artists in the evenings and access to their studio. They in turn will be happy to impart their knowledge and experience as artists, making, curating and exhibiting their work.

Paint Safari (short break) three days / three nights including airport collection and return 700 euros per person.

Paint Safari (longer break) seven days / seven nights including airport collection and return 1500 euros per person.



Sunrise at Los Gázquez

ExCA 2






Digital Sierras / creative course in Fine Art photography


Creative Course / Digital Sierras

Digital Sierras Jan

Should you be needing a quick break we still have great photographic opportunities here  as it’s a dramatic time of the year and it will give you great results. And if you can jump on a plane at the drop of a hat we will give you a 15% discount too. Contact Simon at [email protected]



En Plein Air / Don’t think just pink…

En Plein Air February 500

Spain is the worlds second largest producer of almonds at 282.100 tons per year and especially, in our arid piece of Spain, it is an essential cash crop growing as it does at altitude.

almond blossom scan copy

It flowers early too compared to other fruiting trees. This year with the winter being mild we can expect it to be flowering at the end of February which is why we have programmed this course for this time of year.

almond blossom:telecoms

But don’t assume that the landscape becomes just pink. More often it is the relationship between the colour of the blossom and the surrounding landscape that makes a truly observed picture successful. And importantly February makes for increased drama…

blossom 12:03:09

And it’s important to consider that earth colours, siennas, ochres and umbers are opaque. Light bounces off their surfaces. Light is reflected into you eye whereas almond blossom (for example) is translucent…

almond blossom

and the sunlight passes through the flower petal. This is why watercolour is such a wonderful medium for like almond blossom the colour is translucent. Light passes through watercolour and bounces off the white reflective paper back to your eye. This is what gives water colour such vivaciousness.

blossom below la muela


Van Gogh was keen on almond blossom too.

On January 31, 1890, Theo wrote to Vincent of the birth of his son, whom he had named Vincent Willem Van Gogh, (as we know he was extremely close to his younger brother), Van Gogh immediately set about making him a painting of his favorite subject: blossoming branches against a blue sky. The gift was meant to hang over the couple’s bed. As a symbol of this new life, Vincent chose an almond tree, which blooms early in southern regions, announcing the coming spring as early as February. Van Gogh Museum

almond blossom event

If you would like to come and join us all are welcome. The weeks course is 850€ all inclusive apart from airport transfers. Expect sunny, beautiful days painting and convivial evenings by the wood fire and eating good food. For further details contact Simon at [email protected] This will be a quality learning experience.



Michael Pawlyn / Biomimicry Group / Cortijada Los Gázquez

A recent and very interesting guest at Cortijada Los Gázquez working with the Biomimicry Group architect Michael Pawlyn. Here is his great TED talk…



The Biomimicry Group at Los Gázquez

The Biomimicry Group have just completed an intensive week of study with us here at Los Gázquez. They were here to study the Mediterranean Steppe (which is where we are ) and externally to their course work we gave them an introductory talk as to whom, what and where we are and a guided walk which culminated in a small art project as their contribution to Joya: arte + ecología

biomimicry group