Thursday, 23 February 2017

Travels in Lanzarote Day 15: Soaked to my Knickers

We both had such a great time in Lanzarote, neither of us really wanted to leave. I was especially sad to leave behind such great painting inspiration. Fortunately, because our flight home wasn't until 7pm, we were able to get ourselves all packed and out of the Haria house with still lots of time to enjoy our final day.

We drove back up to the area near Maguez where we were the day before, for me to do a bit more painting while John pottered and took photos. We couldn't do a proper walk, as we didn't want to get all sweaty before flying. Spot little me in the landscape above.

I started with the A3 watercolour of the hill at the top. Here it is with the view:

Then I had a go at the volcano to the left (the same one I drew in my Intense pencils the previous morning). As usual, my second painting is looser and more impressionistic than my first:

By the time I had finished, we were ready for a café con leche and wanted the opportunity to say goodbye to the lovely turquoise sea at Punta Mujeres.

We sat on the wall, watching the sea slowly coming in. I started an Inktense pencil drawing of the view to my left. It was very relaxing, basking in the sunshine, listening to the sounds of the sea on the rocks...

Both John and I registered the larger wave arriving. While John got up, turned to me and said, 'Lynne, watch out for...', my blasé brain told me 'It'll probably be fine.' 

A moment later, the wave crashed onto the rocks at our feet. I was quick enough to lift my sketchbook out at arms length, but not quick enough to move my body off the wall. It was as if somebody had emptied a bucket over my head. So much for not getting sweaty before the flight! At least it was a warm, sunny day.

The wave incident happened just as we needed to leave for the airport anyway. Luckily, I had finished my drawing, near enough, and the concertina didn't get damaged, but I had to sit in the car, wet to my underwear (who'd have thought my undies would get such repeated mentions?). At the airport, I wrestled a change of clothes from the suitcase, so it all worked out. Actually, wrestling my A3 sketchbook into the case was the biggest challenge of the day!

Bye bye Lanzarote. We will be back. I hope you, gentle readers, have enjoyed following my fun and games, as well as my artistic challenges.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Travels in Lanzarote Day 14: Three Volcano Views

We drove north of where we were staying, to the beautiful hills above the tiny village of Maguez. This end of the island is much more lush. We walked through a field of brilliant, yellow flowers and ate lunch on a rocky outcrop overlooking this valley, with its gorgeous volcano view:

I am always most excited by the shapes and textures, so I had to draw the hillside large enough to express all that with my Inktense watercolour pencils. I just kept unfolding page after page, until I had filled 6 facets of my concertina book.

We walked on out of that valley, around the base of La Corona, the volcano I have painted a few times now, from different vantage points.

We were much closer that I had got before and, as we walked round, this great profile view of the spiky-topped caldera started to appear, which I had to capture in watercolour before we moved on. John's very patient and is always happy to loiter for anything from 5 minutes to an hour. I think this was about 10-15 minutes. Just an impression really, although often they are my favourites:

I love the way the green shrubs create a spotty pattern.

We walked the rest of the day, before rewarding ourselves with a beer at a little bar in Maguez. It took no time at all to drive the short distance back to Haria, so I was just in time to capture the sun going down over the hills by the house:

There is always something a little special about the way the late sun intensifies the colours and makes everything glow.

A good and fruitful day.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Travels in Lanzarote Day 13: the Volcano Park

We were driving through the volcano park in the south west of the island. This is a stunning place, where every turn in the road reveals yet more shapes, colours and textures. 

I was desperate to get out and paint, so John pulled up and I sat beside the car on my little stool, with my A3 sketchbook on my lap:

I spent most of my time on the one above. The sun was going down fast, so I was about to call it a day when I changed my mind, did an about-face, and painted another, really quick, instinctive sketch of the view behind me:

I was really pleased with the gestural, abstracted way the lava in the foreground worked. Hope you agree!

Monday, 20 February 2017

Travels in Lanzarote: Day 12. Volcanos and Cacti

Another long walk: again from the hills above Haria down to the sea, but down a valley which brought us a little further down the coast. It was a steep valley, so we were pleased to be walking downhill:

We pootled along the coast, via our favourite little café at Punta Mujeres, had a quick paddle to cool our feet, then walked back up to Haria by a different route in the afternoon. The return journey took us past a good view of the volcano, La Corona, the same one a painted on Day 6. We had time for me to sit and have another go. I perched up on a lava-wall to get a good vantage point:

This time I was faced with the challenge of painting a field of cacti in the foreground. Not ideal. Walls made of lava-boulders are a bit of a challenge too!

I did my best with watercolour first, then worked into it with my Inktense pencils, being VERY careful not to drop any through the gaps between the rocks of my wall. I've done that more than once in the past. I also dropped my pencil into a pig-pen once, when I was sketching in a city farm. An enormous, ugly pig rushed up and promptly crunched it up. Pigs, it seems, really will eat anything. but I digress...

Again, my concertina book was the perfect thing for sketching something long like this, without it having to be draw really quite small, to fit in a regular book.

As you can see, I extended the sketch at the last minute, with my watercolour pencils alone, as I didn't like the way the composition worked with the section I had done in watercolour - another thing that you can only do with a concertina book. There wasn't time to go back and paint that new section, as we had to get going, to get back before dark.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Travels in Lanzarote: Day 11. Sand EVERYWHERE!

This was a day of two halves again. In the morning, we visited another of Manrique's projects: his house on the lava field at Tahiche. The upper section was sleek and minimal. It had more recently been turned into a gallery, showing his paintings and those of his friends.

It featured big windows framing views of the volcano and lava which, in one place, was actually allowed to flow inside:

But it was the subterranean section which was really unusual. Manrique had sited the house amongst more lava-tubes. These were less gigantic than the ones we visited previously, and consisted of a series of 'bubbles': rounder sections between narrower fissures.

He made corridors from the narrower walkways through the lava and turned the bubbles into a series of connected indoors-outdoors rooms, with the uppermost part of each bubble open to the sky. Perfect spaces for somewhere so hot.

After our sightseeing, we went for a walk along the beach beneath the Famara Cliffs which I painted earlier in the trip. It was VERY windy, so apart from a couple of other walkers, the only people on the beach were a few kite-surfers.

When we had walked up and back, I really wanted to paint, but the only shelter from the wind came from some sand dunes. We tucked ourselves in behind one, which did help a lot.

It was only after I had been painting for about 10 minutes, that I realised how much sand was whipping round behind the dune and sticking to my watercolour. If you enlarge the picture below, you should be able to see the sand all over the sketchbook:

A few more minutes, and there was more sand than paint on my palette! I soldiered on, but very soon it was ridiculous. We realised that we too were covered in sand - it was all in our clothes and encrusted into our hair. 

So we beat a retreat. At least I got more or less finished and the majority of the sand brushed off once it was dry.