The conclusion of another successful art course in Olhão was marked on Saturday evening with a show on the waterfront, in donated space at the busy Cais Clube bar, where many of the blossoming artists sold their work, many for the first time.
This course, rapidly becoming an 'off-season tourism' gem, differs from others as students are encouraged each morning to hone their artistic skills under an expert tutor while later in the day, encouraged to take their pick from a raft of local activities including kayaking, sailing, horse riding, walking and yoga - or stay in the studio and carry on drawing and painting.
The subjects for many of the drawings and watercolours on display clearly were bought from the city’s famous markets, including vegetables and fish as well as drawings and watercolours of many of Olhão city and island scenes.
Tutor, Kay Eglise, created a structure of a two hour art session each morning, aimed at boosting students' confidence levels as much as their technique, with activities, relaxation or exploration in the afternoon.
Co-founder of the Art with Interest niche business, Negla Salem, commented that those on the week’s course benefit from a mix of pace - concentration in the mornings and relaxation in the afternoon - which “enables the students to de-stress and take things at their own pace - there are no exams! - just the satisfaction and personal fulfilment that comes from the creative process and being encouraged to express yourself on paper.”
Co-owner of the already successful enterprise, Jane Goward, said that “Olhão really is an ideal location to chill out and not have to worry about the rat-race and timetables. Our students stay in hand-picked, beautiful local house so they always have a place outside the art studio where they can just sit on a roof terrace, doze or read a book, if that’s what they feel like doing.”
The accommodation selected for the students was an inspired one, relying on the boutique range of traditional, upgraded centenary houses from White Terraces where the trademark ‘white only’ approach adds to the Olhão experience.
One of the younger students was taken aback when a guest at the evening’s farewell art show made a full offer for a 'still life' watercolour she had finished only days earlier.
Other of the student artists also sold their work, adding whiff of commercialism to the aesthetic.
One of the buyers said she was so impressed by the skills on display and the genuine vibe from the students she has talked to, she just has to buy three of the paintings that had really appealed to her in adding some fun and life to a house renovation in the city.
Local ceramics business 4Elementos Ceramica & Azulejos, who helped out with some last minute equipment requirements, has welcomed the Art with Interest courses as adding to the artistic mix in Olhão, a city which is midway through transforming itself from the Algarve’s grubby younger brother, into the Algarve’s hotspot for artistic cool and genuine cultural attraction.
One course member had flown in from Kansas to attend the Art with Interest course, (having seen a press release on algarvedailynews.com and confessing to being an avid reader of the weekly newsletter,) and said she had enjoyed the week immensely, ‘a really interesting and relaxing break while learning so much from the tutor and having time to connect with the city,” and is returning, this time to Lagos, for the month of February with her husband and hope to bring a group of friends to one of the 2018, ‘Art with Interest’ courses.
Jane Goward and Negla Salem from Art with Interest