Wednesday, 24 May 2017
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Brigitte von HumboldtBrigitte von Humboldt’s world starts through a decorative wrought-iron garden gate set back from the sea. It leads down a winding path through rampant foliage and trees, and opens up into a light-filled studio.

This is just the perfect setting for an artist. We find her among her paint pots and canvases, working intently on a huge explosion of colour, the sound of music in the background.

B J BoulterShe’s had a life that reads like something out of a storybook. There was even a stint as a Hong Kong celebrity running an upmarket disco in the ’60s. But you won’t hear much of it ‘from the horse’s mouth’, as BJ Boulter, in spite of her energy and focus, is an intensely private person. She doesn’t brag and she’s economical with the facts when they apply to her own successes. All one can really tell is that she’s been pretty damn good at everything she’s done. These days the busy career she pursued as a “fixer”/ line producer for commercials and freelance films has taken a temporary backseat in favour of her special brand of art.

Antonia WilliamsAntonia Williams is a mistress of understatement. When we met her on the recommendation of our website friend and champion Paul Rees of the Algarve Daily News, we were simply told she did “fun things with portraits, which she runs first through an App”. We were given no inkling as to the lady artist’s other talents – which include the enviable ability to “do a Monet in about a week”. She’s good with Turner, too. Brueghel, Vermeer, in fact almost any Old Master or contemporary giant you could care to mention, with the exception perhaps of Jackson Pollock. “I wouldn’t be able to get the spontaneity”…

Birte PröttelTo say she is a ceramic artist would be to define her by only one of the creative activities she excels at. She is also a painter, a writer, a journalist, a cook, a photography buff, a dab hand with computers and very possibly just about anything else you could care to mention.

The Carvoeiro home she shares with her husband of 55 years is a wonderful opening into the world of Birte Pröttel. From the minute you push through the gate into the garden, you are aware of the many examples that makes this bright-eyed enthusiastic mother and grandmother stand out in a crowd.

Sculptures are grouped under trees, in flower beds; some sit on benches, others hide among the undergrowth.

Beau McClellanNow for something completely different. Today we bring you the exceptional story of a very unusual artist. You could say he is an arts equivalent of the proverbial shooting star – someone whose irrepressible energy and philosophy for life can be taken as a recipe for escape from these troubled times…

Meet Beau McClellan, singer-songwriter, sculptor, blacksmith, stage manager/ set-builder, art director, lighting designer and lead movie “baddie”.

How did a man on the right side of 50 even manage all those achievements – let alone to an undeniable level of excellence? (“And I haven’t even got started yet”, he laughs.)

Barbara DebenhamAside from being a versatile artist, Barbara Debenham has something of a reputation for being a witch. You don’t notice anything especially telling at first.
There was no broomstick leaning against the table in the café where we met. No black cat curling between our chair legs – but there was definitely something ‘different’ there. A refreshing desire for plain speaking, perhaps?          

“That’s one of the reasons I was called a witch”, she smiles.

Alota RibeiroA visiting artist remarked in passing this week: “You know, one of these days you will run out of artists to write about”…

Up until now, it is true, we have been writing about a group of people with an average age of well over 50 (and that is being diplomatic).

Of the 30 or so artists interviewed since re-launching the website this Spring, only three are under the age of 40…

What does this tell us about the future for art and culture in Portugal?

Aiden and Mariana, at home, with their artwork on the walls of the terraceFor years he’s been a summertime feature in Lagos drawing crowds to marvel at the speed and dexterity of his wackily insightful caricatures.

With his signature bright red Piaggio Ape 3-wheeler and infectious Scottish humour, Aidan Bremner can be found in the main square by the Old Town Hall every evening throughout the busy season, from “around seven o’clock” until past midnight.