Being a bit of language monkey, I’d often thought the small town of El Algar ,near the coast in the Murcia region of Spain, might well have had arabic origins. After all, check out the map and you’ll see this part of Spain in only a stone’s throw across the Mediterranean from modern day Algeria.
The town’s inhabitants from the various ethnic groups seem to rub along just fine. Here, a group of Muslim men are shooting the breeze at a table in the shadow of the local Catholic church.
There’s not an awful lot to see in El Algar but we’d decided it was worth a quick detour off the highway to take a look.
This modern sculpture in front of an old theatre caught my eye.
And I definitely think this old property’s got potential.
If it’s true to the town’s arabic roots, it could well have a cool, quiet courtyard hidden inside.
Thought you might be interested in seeing the subject of my previous post – this was him paddling in the Mediterranean on the La Manga Strip in Southern Spain – just prior to sitting on the beach and resting. That island in the background is Isla Grosa.
First attempt at working up a sketch made on the beach on La Manga strip. The unwitting subject had been walking up and down the beach for hours in scorching temperatures trying to sell trinkets. Here he is taking a break after a quick paddle in the Mediterranean. Unfinished masterpiece!
For reasons best known to my teachers at Hillfoot Hey Grammar School, my art lessons came to an end at the age of 12 and instead I was to study French. Don’t think I realised at the time just how big a decision this was to be for me. I’d opted out of my piano lessons when I was about 8 or 9, so at least I’ve got no-one else to blame for not playing the piano except myself. But painting, well that’s a different matter. So it was with some trepidation, many years later, that I joined an art class taught by my friend, Peter, who’d trained at Liverpool Art School with John Lennon. Soon I was drawing and painting in class and independently. This painting below started life as a sketch of a rather exotic looking plant in my garden. Working in acrylics and on a canvas about 18inches by 15inches, I decided to try my hand at an abstract painting based on those original sketches. Big bold colours were definitely the order of the day as you can see.
As for influences on this particular painting, I really couldn’t say, but in general I’d have to cite Cezanne as a painter whose work’s always fascinated me. At University in Cardiff, I think I had a print of one of his many paintings of Mount St.Victoire. The picture below is certainly very similar.
Amazing paintings and a real inspiration. Here are a couple of watercolours I painted last year near Ceret in France last year. I’ll blog about Ceret another time, but for now I’ll simply say that this little town was a favourite haunt of Picasso many years ago.
Next time having an actual destination in mind from the start might help. That’s not to say a long, ambling drive through North Wales wasn’t worth the extra miles. The itinerary’s either quite impressive or foolhardy depending on your point of view, taking in Ruthin and it’s fabulous Arts Centre, the Denbigh Moors, the stunning terrain of Snowdonia, Porthmadoc, and finally over the bridge to Anglesey.
Here’s the Denbigh Moors looking more welcoming than usual without mist or rain. And it was still only 11.30 in the morning! Quick stop and coffee to go from the petrol station and on towards Snowdonia.
Been this way many times before, taking a right into the Llanberis Pass. Not today, though.
Off the beaten track and a long drive through breathtaking scenery towards Porthmadoc and the coast. Have to say, the latter was disappointing, and moved on quickly via Criccieth (I did say an actual destination from the start might have helped).
Some great views of the sea here though. And I never knew Criccieth had a castle, dotted in on the coast between it’s better-known neighbours, Harlech and Caernarfon.
Caernarfon wasn’t going to figure on the drive today, however.
These are two shots of Snowdonia just before heading off for Porthmadoc.
But Anglesey had a beach in store that rounded off the day perfectly. And a chance find, too.
Aberffrawe Beach .. on the west side of the island. And still not the easiest to get to. First a long walk out across a sandy estuary and then suddenly, the sea.
Perfect skies added to the drama of the place. And only the seagulls for company.
One day this is exactly the sort of place I’ll walk the three labradors I’ve promised myself – Buddy, Champ and Brando. Well, either here or on a Mediterranean or Californian shore – who knows?
Beachcombing for driftwood over and just a few more photographs and time to head back.