Archive for April, 2012

Joya: arte + ecología / short / Luce Choules



Joya residency / University of Aberystwyth

Group residency with Joya: arte + ecología from the University of Aberystwyth Fine Art / Clare Ward (student)


Joya: arte + ecología wasn’t what I expected. I thought naively that I would go, produce some work and return. It was much more. The fact it took us into a remote location, the environment arid and the house a palace, defined, self-sufficient, white and the air clear I entered into a major dialogue with myself about `how do you actually do what you say’.

My application words were clear, the camera came out, shooting the entire visual feast around us, the four elements, earth wind fire and water shaping the images. But defining the images was the challenge. Combining the thinking, connecting it all up by this invisible visual and cerebral red thread, I could link two thoughts but needed a third. It wasn’t easy. So something happened that I had not properly experienced before. I let go, and submerged myself in the world of intuition. Though not my original theme, `Duende’, Spanish for soul, grasped tight, and I started combining photographs, the unexpected happened, the intuition linked and in a matter of days produced images that corresponded with my thoughts, the process continues. My battle with purpose had dissolved like a lump of sugar in a hot bath and melded, sea salt and lemon juice infused in the water adding the final twist. My conclusion with the help of extraordinarily rich conversation from others is that the intuition is our key, calculating it is catastrophic; instead the lucidity comes from your ability to trust it and work with it, not caging it. It is this that Joya began and I am eternally grateful’.

Clare Ward



Joya: residencies / University of Aberystwyth

Group residency with Joya: arte + ecología from the University of Aberystwyth Fine Art / Kim James-Williams (student)


‘Drawing a Week at Joya: arte + ecología

Location: Cortijada los Gázquez, Parque Natural  Sierra María-Los Vélez

Intention: to make a collection of drawings in a new environment.

Dimensions: a week, a farm in Andalucia, 13 artists from Wales, an unknown space.

Materials: paper (28x38cm), ink, brushes, bamboo pens, earth, egg, light, clear air, conversations, time, figs, wine, masking tape.

Questions: and where the drawings would lead, how far a week would stretch, how would the environment influence the drawings (apart from the subject), would I engage with the landscape, would I find ‘the zone’, would I miss my children (enough), would I find the right space, would I have enough paper, what questions would I ask.

Testing: the principle that I can draw anything and so make work that can be immediately installed relate directly to its environment: “in the element immerse”, and ‘concentrate the mind on the present moment’.

Result: 120 drawings of stuff; informed by philosophical, human and ridiculous conversations weaving through, by the way clouds over sun changed the light and the wind, the awareness of water (snow, wide grey gutters, tap on the toilet), the scale of the landscape, the whiteness of walls and greyness of polished cement, spikey plants, channels of dust.

Conclusion: the drawings were of the place and people, shown in the place and to the people. When I emerged from them, they surprised me. Drawing causes focus, concentration at an intuitive level:  Joya is now part of my language. Did I give anything back? I gave the place my time, and perhaps a reflection of itself.

Thank you: to my fellow travellers for being superb and our hosts and Maxine the dog’.

Kim 1:500



Joya: residencies / University of Aberystwyth

Group residency with Joya: arte + ecología from the University of Aberystwyth Fine Art / Irene Clarke (student)

Irene 1

‘The weeks residency spent at Joya: arte + ecología was unique.  It was an inspiring experience involving my work and was the fresh change that brought a new light to my ideas concerning current work.  Simon and Donna really were the perfect hosts, making us feel like their house was our home for the week.  In the future I would love to be in the position to visit this wonderful place again’.

Irene Clarke

Irene 2:500



Joya: residencies / University of Aberystwyth

Group residency with Joya: arte + ecología from the University of Aberystwyth Fine Art  / Vivian Chinasa Ezugha (student)


‘My experience at  Cortijada Los Gázquez and the Joya: arte + ecología residency has changed the way I view the world I live in. I am inspired  and grateful for being able to take part in this wonderful journey. I can truly say that this journey has given me a new preceptive on what it means to have a home.

“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.”

Maya Angelou

Vivian Chinasa Ezugha





Joya: residencies / University of Aberystwyth

Group residency with Joya: arte + ecología from the University of Aberystwyth Fine Art / Miranda Whall (lecturer)

Miranda 2

‘My second time at Los Gázquez and Joya: arte + ecología with 12 students from Aberystwyth University was a very different experience to my first as artist in residence last June. This time I had to establish a persona that encompassed the multi faceted roles of lecturer, group leader, artist, friend and artist/mother/teacher finding some respite! As artist in residence last year I felt like the luckiest person in the world, ‘a Queen’ came to mind, as I threw myself onto a big crispy sheeted bed in a room that just had one dash of colour and a vase of water with a glass, waiting - ahh so much clear uncluttered space at last. I found pure unadulterated self indulgent pleasure in the very soft quietness of long hot afternoons and in the plaster white washed smooth walls, cool concrete floors, dark corners, bright dancing sun lit walls, gorgeous food and red wine! I found at last that I could wonder and wander, again, as the days turned from cool to hot to cool again, after some years of being a teacher and a mother with literally no time to think let alone drift around in meandering thoughts this was luxury and I intended to deserve it. The deliciousness of listless thinking became lucid and creativity was unleashed, a surprisingly vicious poem spewed and spluttered from nowhere to fall upon a poor twitching weed I had travelled so far to find and a project unfolded that still makes my hair stand on end….’

‘This time I had the pleasure of the uncluttered space and this time cold crisp air and sharper light but not an uncluttered mind, this time I was ‘working’ so I had to think quickly, I had to speedily rummage, dig deep and find something that could become a meaningful component in the bigger scheme of things with half a brain and half the time - well maybe I managed much more than half!. My ambitious long term project ‘The Quests’ has a simple structure that when followed allows for almost anything to happen so I found it while rummaging at the back of the cupboard, grasped it by the scruff of the neck and gave something a go, a hunch thats all…small finger pots made from local clay and snow and stuffed with rosemary were sweet but were not going to get me anywhere.…quick move on get serious - right. It all happened so quickly I can’t account or yet analyse the process but after fighting with every technical hitch that could have presented itself I made a series of very feminine very pink, flickering out of focus films accompanied by the repetitive, rounded and soft voice of a jealous Nigerian woman, she was jealous of a blossom tree! this time wonderfully she gave me the text as a spontaneous gift, the language was music again, and the image was as elusive, evasive and immersive as I could have wished, it was another cliche but a perfect cliche for my ‘Quests’; another texture, another emotion, another journey, another list of thank you’s, thank you’.

Miranda Whall





Ecoarttech’s Indeterminate Hikes+ at CAC Málaga

IH cacmálaga 7 1000

Joya: arte + ecología presents ECOARTTECH’s IH+ at Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga

As part of the residency of ECOARTTECH at Joya: arte + ecología / Cortijada Los Gázquez in June 2012 we are pleased to announce that Joya: arte + ecología in collaboration with Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga present an Android App. performance by ECOARTTECH: Indeterminate Hikes+.

‘Using our Android mobile phone app, we will lead an “indeterminate hike” beginning at CAC Málaga and install an optional “Base Camp” from which to instruct participants how to hike indeterminately and go on wilderness trips in an urban city.

Indeterminate Hikes+ (IH+) is an Android app that transforms everyday landscapes into sites of bio-cultural diversity and wild happenings. Generally devices of rapid communication and consumerism, smartphones are re-appropriated by IH as tools of environmental imagination and meditative wonder, renewing awareness of intertwining biological, cultural, and media ecologies and slowing us down at the same time.



The app works by importing the rhetoric of wilderness into virtually any place accessible by Google Maps and encouraging its users to treat these locales as spaces worthy of the attention accorded to sublime landscapes, such as canyons and gorges. This project extends from ecoarttech’s belief that ecological awareness must be based in the places that humans actually live, not just in relatively uninhabited natural spaces. We also believe it is essential that conversations about environmental sustainability and ecological management be democratized through the arts, and not only considered within a scientific context.

Ecoarttech installs a mixed-media “Indeterminate Hikes Base Camp” in tandem with performances. This includes a tent with sleeping bags alongside a projection of the IH app and scattered traces of local environments. For our forthcoming solo show at Syracuse University’s Warehouse Gallery, concrete “rocks” from a nearby defunct dam, graffiti referencing the underpass across the street, and shipping palettes as markers of the city’s Erie-Canal shipping history are included. Together, the Indeterminate Hike and the Base Camp set the tone for reinvigorating experiences of local environments, to see them as spaces rich with historical, cultural, biological diversity, and worthy of emotional attachment and ecological protection.’


About ecoarttech

Leila Nadir and Cary Peppermint founded ecoarttech in 2005 to explore environmental issues and convergent media from an interdisciplinary perspective. Our collaboration explores what it means to be a modern ecological being amidst networked environments, including biological systems, global cultural exchanges, industrial grids, and the world wide web. Our recent work includes commissions for the Whitney Museum,, and University of North Texas and exhibitions/performances at MIT Media Lab, Smackmellon Gallery, European Media Art Festival, Exit Art Gallery and Neuberger Museum of Art. For more info please visit

Click HERE to found out more about their residency at Joya: arte + ecología.



My Watercolour Sketchbook # 6.5 / Mi Cuaderno de Acuarelas # 6.5

So here is the same painting again but this time not in my sketchbook. The previous post was the precursor to the finished watercolour above. I had the idea to add pencil text in the margins above and below somehow evidencing the experience of being there painting the subject for a few hours, the encounters with wildlife, the heat etc. This may yet happen, but it’s an unresolved idea…



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 #5 / Mi Cuaderno de Acuarelas #5

I like this sketch less than others I’ve shown you. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s a bit punchy, the colours a bit bright and too much contrast. But posting these sketches isn’t about showing my best work. This is a view from our house, Los Gázquez, the hill behind La Hoya de Los Vacas, again more forests of pine, more almond terraces, more white clay vales for arable crops.



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