The Cork Board

Sun, sangria and a dash of paint……..

So, good morning blog fans, back after a week or so in the lovely sunshine of southern Spain where the Monkey’s keeper and I have been painting the landscapes around us with Paint Andalucía. Suffice to say we had a great time and more stories will come out as the week(s) go by. Fi and I were a bit unsure. Having never been on a group holiday before we were a bit wary. You know, you don’t want to have to put up with the whiner or some clinging hanger-on for a week. It could really spoil things. Thankfully, though, not the case here. We were a group of two ladies from California, a couple from Israel, a couple of ladies from Hemel Hempstead, one from London and me and Fi. We had a great time with no drips or idiots and we just went with the flow of an amazing week.

Our tutor and guide for the week was the lovely, talented and creative artist Anna Martin (ably assisted on this occasion by Geraldine McDonald, I hope I’ve got the spelling right), whose work is rich with texture, colour and inspiration.

If you think you’re gonna come here and paint prissy landscapes guided by Anna’s hand then think again (though, if that’s what you want to do, then fine). Anna’s guidance is to get you thinking and reacting in a much more fluid and free way. But – more of painting in the next instalment. Firstly, where were we ? !

Torrox Pueblo – a lovely hillside village about 50 kilometres east of Malaga with a serenely peaceful plaza where you can while away a balmy evening, or sunlit siesta, sipping wine or cerveza from the bars. Tapas aplenty.

Torrox Plaza

The village itself is about 5 kilometres inland, Torrox Costa being the beach resort, which leaves it exquisitely free of the beach ball and soccer shirt sonics of other Spanish holiday villages which hug the coast.

Saturday was “welcome and intro” day and after our settling in period we reconvened in the evening for the first of what were to be several excellent tapas dinners in the village square. Food would play a significant part in our week of paint. It was bound to – we were in the Med – and it was universally outstanding !

Sunday was first real painting day followed by a great evening dinner, again. Monday was a trip to Frigiliani for sketching and an afternoon banquet at “Maria’s” . Tuesday we visited the Alcazaba, a Moorish fortification in Malaga, to paint.

Putting the World to rights in Frigiliani

Wednesday was rest day though Fi and I spent the day painting the square in Torrox Pueblo. On Thursday we tripped out to the wonderfully evocative village of Acebuchal, the village of Ghosts, in the mountains above Malaga.


What a superb village for painting. The sun burned casting the village in a bright white light and we scattered our boards and easels. There was perfect peace, silence, inspiration, and dare I say again, superb food in the afternoon !

I hope that's not a "Tapas and Cerveza Belly" developing !

Friday was tidy up and finish off any paintings that required some additional treatment, or perhaps you could start another one from the viewpoint of our host’s, Dave and Gill Armstead, veranda.

Painting on the Terrace at Finca la Paz, Dave and Gill's place

Then, to round things off in style for the evening, our hosts had arranged as a “special”, a trip to Torrox Costa to a tapas bar where we would see live flamenco. Fantastic. If you’ve witnessed this you’ll know how stunning it is – if you haven’t, you must.

Incredible dancing makes for some evocative blurred images

More drinks and farewells in Torrox Pueblo Plaza and we had all made some new friends, discovered some new painting skills and techniques, developed a tan, ate great food and were generally rather smug. I know it’s not always like this, but hey, when it is, go with it.

Paintings and more coming up……………

94 thoughts on “Sun, sangria and a dash of paint……..”

      1. Aw shucks…definitely not a pro. Just having fun. But you, my friend, seem to be having FAR more fun than I am!

        Have some tapas and a cerveza (or vino) for me, k?


    1. Thank you, Kathy. I believe in responding to all the comments during my Freshly Pressed spree so when that is through I’ll talk about the creative journey a bit and post the paintings.

  1. Andalucia is one of my favorite places in the world. Just looking at your pix made me long for a parasol, sunglasses and a cold drink!

    Hope you’ll post some of your paintings.

    1. Spain is so………atmospheric and welcoming and damn sunny. Just great. I’ll get the paintings up when I’ve done all the holiday washing. 🙂 Thanks for the lovely comments. 🙂

  2. Freshly Pressed! More to be smug about! Glad you’re having an awesome trip Alan 🙂 Looking forward to pics of your paintings 😉

  3. You had my attention at “We had a great time with no drips or idiots …” HA!

    Wonderfully written post and I’m envious of your adventures … fabulous photos! Cheers, MJ

    (( congrats on Fresh Pressed to boot – sweet! ))

  4. Wonderful images. I had the pleasure of living in southern Spain for two years. The landscapes, people, architecture, and food were some of the best I have ever enjoyed. This post has brought back some very good memories.

    1. Thank you. I think this must have been a regular event because some of the shops were actually selling postcards of similar scenes. I guess there’s a lot to chew over in Spain. 🙂

    1. Thank you very much. The Village of Ghosts tag came from the Franco days when there was much fighting in the hills (the village really is sunken and hidden deep in a beautiful valley). He insisted that the occupants leave at night, only to return to tend their flock during the day. Thus the name. It was then abandoned for 50 years until recent times when it was renovated and brought back to life. Very atmospheric place.

  5. Super post. Found you via Freshly Pressed – many congratulations on that! I was going to ask you about the village too. I know some parts of Andalucia from years back, and I know it’s changed a lot. That village sounds and looks like somewhere I need to go if I ever make it back. And isn’t flamenco wonderful! Now and then dancers or companies visit us in the Canary Islands, and I always go if I can. Even though I only understand a fraction of the lyrics, the dancing and the atmosphere is enough to set my heart going!

    Having just read your “about me” I have to say I love your philosophy too! As I child of the 60s too, I was delighted to find myself still in tact a few years back after all the years of trying to conform! Good for you!

    1. Thank you,islandmomma. Flamenco is indeed great. Music communicates. You don’t need to understand the lyrics and flamenco has such power that you can probably follow what the song is about anyway, can’t you. Canary Islands is a great spot too. I’m sure you are enjoying it. 🙂

  6. Your pictures and descriptions really made me reminisce of Andalucia. Look forward to seeing some of the artwork!

  7. I live about 40 minutes from Torrox and have done so for nearly 12 years, surprisingly, I have never stopped in the town, but it is now on my to do list. My little town is right on the sea, and if you come back to the area, you should stop by, you like all the rest, would love it! Congrats on being freshly pressed. Let’s see some of these paintings!

    1. Torrox Pueblo is a sweet little place. It really does have a laid back atmosphere in the centre of the Plaza. Check it out when you are driving by and have a little tapas at Paco’s Bar or the Bar Aries, both are fine. 🙂

  8. Lovely lovely pictures 🙂 Look forward to seeing your paintings too! We saw a Flamenco performance in Barcelona and I agree with you…it’s poetry in motion 🙂

  9. What a truly beautiful adventure. Your pictures are outstanding, my favorite is the five men with the vespas on either side. Their faces say so much. Thanks for sharing this wonderful adventure! Oh, and Congrats on Freshly Pressed!

  10. Amazing images! Each one tells its own story. The picture of the gents on the bench looks like something that should be turned into an oil or water painting, and as for the Flamenco dancer – the blurred effect is stunning!

    Great blog!

  11. Stunning photos! I was in Malaga back in 2005 and it’s even more beautiful than I remember. My favourite is the photo you…looking well – say me well to y-ur Mrs ;).

  12. Stunning photos! I was in Malaga back in 2005 and it’s even more beautiful than I remember. My favourite is the photo of you…looking well – say me well to y-ur Mrs ;).

  13. Spain looks and sounds so vibrant! Can’t wait to see the paintings. And is that you in the hat and scarf? Gorgeous and worth painting too!

    Congratulations on the press!

  14. Ahhhaaaa…super like this post..just for the stunning pics..those white buildings remind me of my village ( Of course, houses are no way stylish n grand but the color n feel entices old memories )

    Been a long time since I visited your very glad to have visited at the right

  15. OH that looks like a wonderful time! I went to Sevilla as part of our honeymoon a few years ago. Its a nice relaxing town. But to go and paint? How much fun. Maybe I will return in the years to come with a paintbrush in hand. Hope you had fun!

  16. We certainly did, lady. There was sun, food, wine, relaxation, painting and someone else to do all the driving. Sevilla is next years destination. 🙂 Thanks for dropping by my blog and commenting.

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