You can paint anywhere, of course. Beautiful scenery and fine food and wine aren’t absolutely essential to the creative urge, but when that watercolour isn’t working, what could be more redemptive than a head-clearing dip in a beautiful pool as the sun sets over the Sierra Cabrera? And when your colours are flowing, on the other hand, how pleasant is it to share the joy with like-minded individuals over a glass or two of vino rosado in a palm-filled garden?
I spent last weekend at my new art holiday location near Mojacar in Southern Spain. After a 6am flight from Bristol, I was painting in the garden amongst the prickly pears and kumquats by 2pm and tearing my hair out by 3pm! Salvation came in the form of Penelope, the owner, who proffered me half shares in a hearty tortilla, which we washed down with a flinty, fresh rosé. Lunch was surpassed only by the warm, goat cheese salad we had for supper and the magnificent sea bass that followed. After that, all niggles about my art vanished and a great night’s sleep was inevitable.
The next day, things were different. The warmth and the rest had done the trick and fuelled with zingily fresh orange juice, straight from the orchard, I took up residence in my little shady caseta once again and turning my back on the desert and the mountains beyond, allowed the colours and the textures of the garden to lead the way instead. When guests arrived for lunch, I felt I could pack away my brushes with impunity and dug into my paella and downed the local, spicy red with gusto!
Maybe the paella tasted so good because I was feeling so pleased with the morning’s work, but maybe Katie, the chef at Utopian Retreats, knows more than a thing or two about cooking. You can find out for yourself this September, 18th to 25th.