The Spanish 7 – The search for treasure and an old ruin


I rang our large bell rather overzealously as the Spanish 7 arrived, although today it was only the Spanish 6. They drove their cars through the archway and parked up, we jumped around excitedly saying our hellos as Picasso watched on in his aloof way as we hugged and kissed. Irish pulled a small cage out of the car and unlocked it to present us with her new pet puppy, Mia. Now Mia is a very excitable abandoned dog and found the whole episode more exciting than we did and began to run around like a headless chicken taking our excitement to another level. Picasso watched on thinking we were all mad. When the excitement of seeing each other had calmed, Mia spotted Picasso, and went to investigate her new friend at top speed. Picasso, not one for high antics, being more the sophisticated Lord of the Manor type of cat, made a few hissing sounds thinking the young pup would get the message. Oh no, Mia became even more excitable and thought it was a game. More hissing from Picasso only made things more fun for Mia, and he fluffed up his body and tail to make himself look very macho, only for Mia to find him more attractive and not scary at all. A lot of dog and cat noises took place and within seconds Picasso made his escape through the big wooden doors at top speed, followed by the long legs of Mia. I ran after them to make sure no blood was spilled but they had already vanished and with concern on my face, I walked back to join the others. I need not have worried as there was Picasso, sitting safely at the highest point of the house, on top of the bell I had been ringing rather overzealously only 5 minutes before.  We left Picasso sitting on the bell tower and set off to find treasure and an old ruin, with Mia still running around with the untamed energy of a toddler.

Puff Daddy Picasso
Puff Daddy Picasso
Spot Picasso out of harm's way
Spot Picasso out of harm's way

Fina had a map, so finding treasure and an old ruin should be easy, or so we thought, and she pulled out a sparsely detailed pen and ink drawing of our destination. Still, cant go wrong really, up the hill, turn right, walk a bit, find the river, walk some more up the mountain vertically, stop and look around a lot, check the map, walk some more, have a discussion, send the men on ahead, take some photos, walk some more up the mountain even higher, stop and look at how high we were, walk even higher and pretend to be a mountain goat, find an old ruin in bits, decide it was too far from the river and couldn’t possibly be the cortijo we were looking for so sit and have picnic lunch. We needed lunch !

Fina's Map
Fina's Map
Fina's map
Fina's map

During our picnic lunch Fina told us about the legend of Cortijo Carillo and the treasure.

‘When my grandmother Maria married Antoñolin they went to live at Cortijo Carrillo.  For three nights they dreamed that a little beyond the farmhouse under a huge oak tree, underneath the earth there was something like a tomb. About three steps down to the right hand side there was a gap with a cantarera filled with some gold coins and a small bowl with jewels, plus two bottles of green glass with candles alight….
She had this dream three times and was very frightened so she told Antoñolin and some of the family and friends who spent some time there with them.
For 8 months some employees who worked on the on the farm searched and searched, and one day as they were digging in the ground they stumbled upon something … they dug and they dug until eventually they found the tomb, exactly as my grandmother had dreamed of…
They called and called to Maria and she came running,  she was at the farm Carrillo at least 200 meters from the oak tree where they had found the find.   Everyone gasped when descending stairs they found bottles, the cantarera, and the bowl…, but instead of being full with gold and jewels it full full of ash…’

When we had finished lunch, we packed up our bags and set off for more searching for Cortijo Carrillo, this time it was all down hill, due to the fact we couldn’t climb much higher.  We kept checking the river and our position in relation to the river but there was no cortijo anywhere to be seen and we walked back gently to Cortijo Las Salinas, still in good spirits but sad not to have succeeded in finding the old cortijo of Fina’s past.

The strange thing in this whole event is this, it has come to light that the pile of stones we sat on for lunch happens to be Cortijo Carillo and we never even knew at the time.   So we did find Cortijo Carillo afterall, it was as if someone had guided us there, and as for the treasure, well that must be the friendship we share with the Spanish 7.

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Without this mushroom. . . .


Without this mushroom
Without this mushroom . . .

I found these mushrooms growing outside my studio.

As I pulled  one from the ground to take a  closer look, the deep brown pigment sang to me as it floated into the air and disappeared.  As I watched the spores float away I knew I wanted to capture them forever.

I noticed the sienna powder was rich and as I applied it to my blank canvas a series of work unfolded using the mushroom pigment as the main media combined with oil paint, glazes and gold.

With gold and glazes
Mushroom pigment with gold and glazes
A single burst of pigment
A single burst of mushroom spore pigment

A quote came to me …..

‘Without inspiration an artist is nothing . . .Without this mushroom I am nothing . . . Without this mushroom, these would never exist.’

Magic Mushroom Moments 8
Magic Mushroom Moments 8

If you like these new paintings, please go to:

http://www.steffisartwork.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=124&Itemid=49

to see the complete collection so far.

A Wedding !! The First Wedding to be held at Cortijo Las Salinas since 1944


On the 8th October 1944 a wedding was held at Cortijo Las Salinas.  This was to be the last wedding held there for 66 years until on the 15th May 2010 our very good friends, Francesca Rajewski and Jerome Duquene were married at the cortijo, starting the tradition over once again.

Steve and I with the bride and groom
Steve and I with the bride and groom
It was the first wedding we had organised here at the cortijo, and it didn’t happen without a generous helping of stresses and strains.  However the year fast forwarded to May 15thand all our worries about the possibility of rain were disregarded as it turned out to be a beautiful sunny day with everything going to plan.

Vibrantly dressed in a dynamic red long skirt and jacket, the bride walked out through the old wooden doors arm in arm with her father Claude, the bells rang in time with her footsteps, whilst the acoustic guitarist simultaneously serenaded playing ‘Love Is All’.  The crowd cheered and clapped as she stepped into the sculpture garden and took her place between the palm trees under a cobalt blue sky.  A coincidence maybe that the 1944 wedding and the 2010 wedding – both brides had the same Christian name.

The bride and father of the bride
The bride and the father of the bride being serenaded to 'Love is All'

The ceremony followed full of laughter and tears, and everyone made their way into the patio to drink Spanish champagne around the cascading fountain, as it had been drunk in the same place 66 years before.  A feast and fiesta followed.   The 1944 feast comprised of turkey in gravy with a morcilla or black pudding made from the blood of turkeys, the 2010 feast was traditional Spanish paella, Moroccan tagines, salads and a huge chocolate cake.  The 1944 fiesta comprised of three villagers who played the guitar, an accordion and a mandarin and the 2010 fiesta embraced a DJ from the Island of Ibiza – complete with all his music kit and very large, loud speakers.  Dancing continued until 4 o’clock in the morning on both occasions.

The ceremony under the palm trees
The ceremony under the palm trees

An historic occasion had taken place, with the ghosts of Las Salinas watching approvingly as the tradition for love and laughter had begun once again.

Champagne chilling in the fountain
Champagne chilling in the fountain