The Cork Board

Is it art or a shower curtain?


As promised, the story of the art from our Paint Andalucia trip. Casting our eye back to the beginning and my Garlic Bulb practice it is worth saying that this was my comfort zone. Pen and ink. Something you recognise. I understood it. Yet one of my great passions is abstraction. Experimentation. Pushing the boundaries a little (though Shock has been done, yawn ). I just never forced myself over the hill to do it.

Our tutor, Anna Martin, is not only a creative artist herself but also a finely tuned teacher and life guide when it comes to the creative process.  Day One we sat around the terrace of Finca La Paz and were encouraged to free our minds, do a little yoga, and feel the spirit of the surroundings and sensations of where we were.

Now, I was brought up in the coal mine villages of Northern England where, if you were in the slightest bit arty, you didn’t let on that you had any sweets. I have a Bullshit Monitor that goes from “ 0” all the way up to “Ben Kingsley”. But I was prepared to let go of some slight nervous inhibition and go with the flow to see what happened. In a way, I gave myself permission to experiment and see what happened. It was the first tentative step on what turned out to be an interesting and ultimately fulfilling journey – for the week – and then prove to be the first step on the journey that my painting will take from now on.

Instead of drawing with a pencil we were encouraged to draw with the paint brush – be broad – free flowing – experimental – and not to be afraid of colour. The medium throughout is acrylic.

So, in chronological order, with advisory notes (clicking on the pics opens them up larger);

Flamenco Dancers. Anna held a pose while we went for it. My interpretations are a mixture of pose and imagination.

Dancer 1
Dancer 2
Dancer 3

My Frigiliani sketches don’t seem to have survived the trip so here is my Alcazaba archway. We have to go back here. This place is huge and we only saw a fraction. Must get there earlier on our next trip. 🙂

I’m not too happy with it. I struggled, I admit, with bringing some life to it.Anyway, there you go. It’s for learning.

Wednesday was day off but Fi and I painted the Plaza in Torrox. By now I’m beginning to form an idea in my head of the images I want to create and perhaps there is a path developing.

Torrox Plaza
Torrox Plaza from Bar Refugio

The Plaza painting was finished on Friday morning since the sun was beating down at high noon.

Then came Acebuchal and brimming with confidence (!) I decided I would take this whole mark-making experimentation a step further towards abstraction.

Acebuchal streetAcebuchal Garden

I hope you can detect that I took a journey completely free from boundaries, the only ones being set were my own, incorporating an experimentation in mark making with paint. By the end of the week I would experiment mark-making with anything I thought would do the job. (I dismissed the last one as wallpaper….but maybe it’s a better shower curtain. )

And finally, one last thing before we pack away for the week. I played with pastels, water and free flowing colour to produce my rose sketch.

There are no rules when it comes to art. It’s all about the expression of the artist in his or her medium trying to communicate to an audience and hoping that the signals are received and understood………..over and out…..and hopefully changing the way the viewer sees actuality too. I feel that I’ve taken some giant steps in discovery and have been released from the straight jacket that psychologically held me back in painting. Who knows where it will end ?  Thanks Anna, I owe you.

30 thoughts on “Is it art or a shower curtain?

  1. I absolutely loves all of these. I don’t know why but there is something about the stlye that really appeals to me. If you lived closer I’d be asking you do do one for me. I guess I always admire talents that I try to possess but remind but distant dreams.:)

  2. Wow. Really cool. It’s so good you’re taking chances. I love all the color you used. In that one of the wall (Alcazaba archway) I loved the color of the wall! I think your use of color throughout was excellent. I loved both of the Torrox Plaza pieces. And the third dancer piece was very appealing. Great that you had a good teacher, and also the openness of mind to experiment. Keeps the brain juices flowing!

    1. Well, thank you, Julee. You said some nice things. Certainly my head is in a good place right now since I’ve probably spent the last 12 days doing nothing but creating in some way. Drawing/Painting/writing blogs and music……..damn housework needs doing though !! 😉

  3. Wow! This is fabulous work. It looks like you had a wonderful week of experimenting and openingup to t rying new things with your work. I really liked the drawing of the garlic, but your abstracts have spirit and the painting of the Plaza are just lovely. Yeah, who knows where it will end. I hope you continue to share as you make the journey.

  4. Waooo, just when you think you know someone ;). Really love these and I’d have them on my living room wall in a flash. And I’d pay too. Awesome! K

  5. The ones of Torox Plaza took my breath away, and I’m fascinated by the last one from Acebuchal! I enjoyed seeing them all, and there’s nothing wrong with a colorful pattern on fabric! 🙂 Thank you so much for bringing us along with you on your artist’s journey. It’s done me a world of good, even though I work with words, to see the steps you’re taking and the ways you’re thinking about them! I feel like thanking Anna, too!

    1. Thanks, Ré . I’m still experimenting with my style and trying to stay as free as possible with my painting though I’m aware that there is, and I guess should be, some filtering taking place which dictates the general direction I’m going in. Nothing is gained by just whapping paint at a canvass – even Jackson Pollock didn’t do that. It’s going to be fun to see what evolves.

  6. Those dancers are evocative!! Dancer 3 is my favorite 🙂 And the Torrox Plaza ones are just so enchanting! Makes me want to pack up and go there right away 🙂 You’ve done a wonderful job of transferring your joy of the trip onto canvas Alan – I guess that’s why it made me so happy too! Well done!

  7. WOW….really great! You totally have to sell these….it looks like someone has a new job! I would love one of these for my wall they are so amazing. Something to be said for paint it is so alive.

    Thank you for sharing and don’t forget us little people when you make it big.

  8. I love these! My favorites are Dancer 3 and Torrox Plaza from Bar Refugio. You’ve got an expressiveness that I still really want to achieve — I’m still terrified of abstraction. I thought I would try for it with my recent figure paintings but they still came out the way I normally paint. Still, everyone has a different interpretation of experimental. Major kudos to you for pushing your own boundaries and letting the results go wherever they would.

  9. Thanks, Lisa. That’s kind of you. I’m interested and motivated to see where this is going to end up. I have an idea in my head but it’s kind of fuzzy at the moment. One day it’ll be “Eureka ” !! 🙂

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