Aljezur sketch meeting part #3

Aljezur, Portugal, castle, view, Urban Sketchers Portugal, Algarve

Aljezur stands on the boundary of a national nature reservation. Besides all the history that happened among these hills, the landscape also tells a geological and ecological story. Aljezur and the cliffs of Arrifana stand between the Algarvian coastline and the golden plains of Alentejo. Sharing techniques and experiences is a large part of these sketch meetings, and there was ample opportunity for that during the hikes in nature, the meals and the evening talks, which I missed. It’s a reset in the will to sketch, and an upgrade in the ways to sketch, as one gets to meet a few of all the great sketchers in the Urban Sketchers Portugal group.

Aljezur, Portugal, Algarve, Ponta da Atalaia, Arrifana, beach, coast, Natural reservation, Urban Sketchers Portugal

Aljezur fica no limite do Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina. Para além de toda a história que aconteceu entre estas colinas, a paisagem conta também uma longa história geológica e ecológica. Aljezur e as arribas da Arrifana marcam a passagem entre a costa Algarvia e as planícies do Alentejo. A partilha de técnicas e experiências é uma grande parte destes encontros de desenhadores, e houve amplas oportunidades para essa partilha, durante as caminhadas pela natureza, as refeições e a mesa redonda à noite, que não assisti. É um restabelecimento da vontade de desenhar e uma actualização das maneiras de o fazer, rodeados que estamos de tantos e tão bons desenhadores do Urban Sketchers Portugal.

Aljezur, Arrifana, Algarve, Portugal, sketchers, Urban Sketchers Portugal,

Aljezur sketch meeting part #2

farms, agriculture, stream, Aljezur, Algarve, Portugal,  Urban Sketchers Portugal

Along a two-day sketch meeting, put together by Tertúlia – Associação Sócio-Cultural de Aljezur (thank you Susana for all the hard work!), the sketchers became familiar with the castle, the old town, the riverside and its farms between the old and the new 19th century town, the cliffs by the coast, beaten by the rough Atlantic and the north wind, and the beaches, sought nation-wide by its surf qualities.

Urban Sketchers Portugal, Aljezur, Portugal, Algarve

Ao longo de um encontro de desenhadores de dois dias, organizado pela Tertúlia – Associação Sócio-Cultural de Aljezur (obrigado Susana, por todo o trabalho!), os desenhadores familiarizaram-se com o castelo, o centro histórico, o ribeiro com os seus campos cultivados entre a vila velha e a vila nova do século XIX, as falésias na costa batidas pelo agreste Atlântico e pela nortada, e as praias, procuradas por surfistas de todo o país.

Urban Sketchers Portugal, Aljezur, Portugal, Algarve

 

Aljezur sketch meeting part #1

church, Aljezur, Algarve, Urban Sketchers Portugal, Portugal

In the northwest corner of Algarve, stands a small castle upon a steep hill. This castle, hailing from the Islamic era of the Iberian Peninsula, was used as a common granary for the town of Aljezur – or in its Arabic form, Al-Jazeera, the peninsula – a reference to the place’s medieval geography. According to the archaeologist Rui Parreira, this region was home to a Muslim warlord – ibn Qasi – who dreamed of his own kingdom. So he built a Ribat (fortified monastery) near the coast in Arrifana, made pacts with the first Christian ruler of the Kingdom of Portugal and established a foothold in the region of Aljezur, taking advantage of the fishing and agricultural activity. For that, he was shunned by his religious counterparts and, eventually, assassinated by them.

castle, Aljezur, old town, Algarve, Portugal, Urban Sketchers Portugal

No canto noroeste do Algarve, há um pequeno castelo de tons férreos, sobre uma colina inclinada. Este castelo, da era Islâmica da Península Ibérica era usado como celeiro colectivo da vila de Aljezur – ou, na sua forma árabe, Al-Jazeera, a península – uma referência à topografia medieval do local. De acordo com o arqueólogo Rui Parreira, esta região foi o lar de um chefe muçulmano – ibn Qasi – que sonhava em ter o seu próprio reino. Construiu um Ribat (um mosteiro fortificado) perto da costa, na Arrifana, fez tratados com o primeiro líder cristão do Reino de Portugal e estabeleceu uma base de operações na região de Aljezur, tirando partido da actividade piscatória e agrícola. Por isso, foi proscrito pelos seus correlegionários religiosos e, eventualmente, por eles assassinado.

Vicente, Ketta, Matias, Aljezur, Algarve Portugal,  Urban Sketchers Portugal

A hefty group of twenty to thirty people gathered in the region to get to know, with their pens, pencils and watercolors, the local richness and diversity. Although the geography of Aljezur has changed much since the Islamic era – fishing lost importance due to a receding waterline – it’s still an important agricultural center, with a variety of fertile valleys and grey shale cliffs, and sweet potato being the most well-known crop.

sardines,  Urban Sketchers Portugal, Aljezur, Algarve, Portugal

Um generoso grupo de vinte a trinta pessoas juntaram-se na região para conhecer, com as suas canetas, lápis e aguarelas, a riqueza e diversidade local. Apesar de a geografia de Aljezur estar substancialmente diferente desde a era Islâmica – a pesca perdeu importância devido ao recuo dos braços de água – ainda é um centro agrícola importante, com uma variedade de vales férteis e falésias de xisto, sendo a batata-doce uma colheita bem conhecida.

Mushrooms on Österlen

Pizza making

Österlen’s coastal landscape is beautiful indeed. But it looks even better after a nice dinner with friends and a good night’s sleep.

Pizza at Kivik

The picturesque crooked roads that lead from Lund to Kivik opened our appetites to the home-made pizza that our swedish-spanish hosts had prepared for us. Champagne and good wines flowed, mouldy cheeses and spicy olives were devoured, the drums rolled.

Nyans

Board games were set, pseudo-punk spanish kids TV-show music chimed in, bringing in weird childhood memories for those who hailed from those parts. Even a sketching workshop for children was going on, until it was way past bedtime.

Landscape at Vitemölla

The morning after, all residues of the tiniest hangover vanished at the sight and smells of Skåne’s east coast. In Vitemölla Strandbackar nature reserve, just north of Kivik, the calm waters of the Baltic touch the dunes of sand, the dirt of land and the trunks of pine trees, simultaneously. Something didn’t add up, and yet, it was very pleasant to walk around, up and down from the field to the forest and back to the beach in less than a kilometre. It’s as if three different landscapes came together in the very same spot, like three different sentences that don’t belong to the same paragraph, punctuated regularly by the pre-emptive concrete bunkers of the WWII-era. Later, I learned that this type of landscape is known as sand-steppe – something very particular to this area of the Baltic sea, and that the pine forest is actually planted. Our hosts explained that this area generates some discussion because it seems that the pine forest is conflicting with the native sand-steppe landscape.

Cooking fresh mushrooms

Oblivious to these reflections on the conflicting landscapes, Jesus picked mushrooms for lunch. And they were slimy-licous fried in garlic and coriander!