Tag Archives: inspiration

‘Let Creativity Nourish Your Soul’ 2018

I was so privileged recently to be able to spend a few days with an amazing group who wanted to embrace their creative side, find their inner child and be free !  Ranging from 19 years old to 73 years old, with a few first time painters joining a few who had painted before, we unleashed our inner artist and immersed ourselves in to 5 days of all things creative.

We painted together, we danced together, we sang together and even cried together as the creative process began to nourish us.  We wrote poetry and Haikus whilst listening to the lovely sound of the gong, we practiced daily yoga and Kundalini yoga, we meditated down by the river, we ate amazing vegetarian food and shared stories by the fire in the evening.

We really did let the creative process nourish our soul.

Here are some photos from the studio and our sketchbook work to get us started

As the process unfolded we learnt to ‘Stay loose’, ‘Watch snails’, ‘Hug Trees’, ‘Make friends with Freedom’, ‘Believe in Magic’ and ‘TO BE FREE !’

We finished the week with an exhibition of our work

Art Group 2018 and their soul paintings

Go to www.painting_in_spain.com for information about the art retreats held at Cortijo Las Salinas, Spain – Come and join us soon !

‘Let Creativity Nourish Your Soul’

Art is a therapy in itself and the creative process is crucial to our holistic well-being, so my next Art Retreat is going to be held on 12-17 April 2018 in the Art Studio of Cortijo Las Salinas, Andalucia where we will find a variety of wonderful ways to unlock our creativity held within and become immersed and inspired as we take an art journey together like no other.

Creativity nourishes the soul, so what better way to discover a personal transformation than through the process of expressive, intuitive painting.  Whether you are a beginner or an experienced artist I will help you to develop confidence and a personal direction in your artwork as you paint in the warm sunshine surrounded by spectacular scenery, landscapes and sunsets.

On retreat for 5 days, together we will start the day with some yoga with Chloe of My Happy Body before breakfast to get the body moving and the creative energies flowing, then we shall begin the workshop in the Art Studio with creative exercises to build confidence, particularly if you have not painted before.
After lunch there is time to siesta before meeting again for some more creative immersion, which will include some creative writing and we will begin a canvas which will develop as your story unfolds over the next few days.

Also included will be gong bath meditations, moon light chanting and fire pit gatherings, amazing and delicious vegetarian meals, a warm twilight jacuzzi, a walk to the river and a trip out to discover the local wild orchids that are in flower at this time of year with many other surprises along the way.

My painting holidays are designed for everyone and non painting partners are also welcome where they can sit by the pool or go for a swim, take a walk or just relax with a book.
You will be amazed to see what you can paint and how you heal when you drop expectations and allow the creative process to unfold. Deep down we are all artists who have whatever it takes to express our inner world through art, the only thing holding us back is the limitations we place upon ourselves.

Places are limited so book today, your investment is £695 per person for shared accommodation or £750 for your own private suite which includes all materials, 3 delicious vegetarian meals per day, complementary teas and coffee, yoga and art tuition.
email steffi@steffisartwork.com

Art and the Poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca

Federico Garcia Lorca is one of Spain’s best known poets and now a popular icon.  Born in 1898, he lived the first ten years of his life in Fuente Vaqueros, which is close to Granada in Southern Spain.  He moved to Madrid when he was in his early twenties and  joined a group of avant-garde artists that included Salvador Dali and Luis Buñuel.  The group, collectively known as the “Generation of  1927,” introduced Lorca to Surrealism, a movement that would greatly influence his writing and poetry.

Lorca was an active socialist and his controversial political views as well as his generally bohemian attitudes would ultimately cost him his life and during the Spanish Civil War,  Lorca was captured by Franco’s Nationalist Army and executed.   His works, and even his existence, remained a taboo subject in Spain for nearly four decades after his death. However as a result, Lorca has become not only famous for his exemplary poetry, but for his martyrdom at the hands of a fascist dictatorship. His works were suppressed in Spain for many years but have had a monumental influence on the poets and authors of Latin America and the world over and he is often credited with being the first author to introduce Surrealism into literature. His work has a lasting impact on Spanish poetry and Lorca has influenced many of my abstract paintings with his interesting use of words, often written in a surrealist or abstract voice.  Here are two of my abstract paintings complete with Lorca’s words.



The flower of dawn has already opened

(Do you recall the depths of evening?)

The spikenard moon pours down its cold scent.

(Do you remember the gaze of August?)


The Cheating MirrorThe Cheating Mirror

Green branch barren of rhythm and bird.

Echo of a sob with no pain or lips.

Man and Woods.

I shed tears beside the salt sea.

In my pupils are two seas singing.


Intuitive Art 5 day painting in 5 minutes !

I love to paint the land and the sea, especially if I can be outside in the elements and with nature.  However there is another side to my creative work which gives me freedom to just apply paint, texture and colour without any thought for the outcome or with any ego attached to the potential saleability of my work.  This 5 minute film shows the development of a large piece created over 5 days.  It took many changes along the way and the finished piece hangs in the yoga shala at Cortijo Las Salinas.  Hope you enjoy the film and, as always, love to hear your feedback.


A Retreat for the Creative Heart

In a few weeks I shall be working, once again,  with 2 wonderful artists here at Cortijo Las Salinas.  Terre Cerridwyn will be flying all the way from California and Alice Mason will be zooming over from Brighton, UK.  We shall be sharing a week of creative art, dance, nature walks, great food, lots of laughs and making the most of the opportunity to explore our creative selves.  This week is open to anyone who wants to join in with something very special, and maybe find out something about the wonderful self we didn’t know.  Terre has a website page with full information and timetable for the week, but for now here are some photos from last year.

The great artists who left our world in 2011

Watching the BBC News this morning, they showed a programme listing all the famous people who passed over in 2011, however the only artist i.e. painter, they mentioned was Lucien Freud.  In 2011 there were  a number of notable passings in the art world which should not be forgotten.

The California Minimalist John McCracken (b. 1934), died aged 76 years

One of the Beaux Arts quartet Jack Smith (b. 1928), died aged 82 years

Conceptual  and Land Art artist Dennis Oppenheim (b. 1938), died aged 83 years

Abstract Expressionist  John Hoyland (b. 1934), died aged 76 years

Sculptor Stephen De Staebler (b. 1933), died aged 78 years

Surrealist painter and novelist, Leonora Carrington, died aged 94 years

Colour Field Abstract Expressionist  Helen Frankenthaler (b. 1928), died aged 83 years

Pop Art artist Richard Hamilton (b. 1922), died aged 89 years

Sculptor John Chamberlain (b. 1927), died aged 84 years

Realist artist Claudio Bravo (b. 1937), died aged 74 years

A very sad loss for me personally was the departure of the legendary Cy Twombly  (b. 1928), died aged 83 years, whose work I love,

and of course, not forgetting the very sad departure of Lucian Freud (b. 1922), died aged 88 years, best known for his thickly painted portraits of the contemporary nude and the best painting of The Queen ever painted.

There may be more, less well known artists to add to the list, but each and everyone will have contributed in their own creative way to the most amazing of all artistic genres – the visual arts, and with all the artists listed above living well into their 70’s or 80’s (even 90’s) it can only prove that art really is good for you!  R.I.P

Where Does an Artist Find Inspiration ?

Waterfall at Rio San Juan
Waterfall at Rio San Juan

Having been a painter all my life, the most difficult thing about creating a painting is finding the inspiration to make an original and inspired work of art.  After all without inspiration an artist has nothing.

So as I walk with trepidation the relatively long distance from my kitchen where I make the brown nectar called coffee, to my studio where I am meant to make inspired works of art, a sickness enters my stomach.  I know today is fortunately, a relatively rare day, where I feel uninspired and uncreative and wonder how any spontaneous arm movements might take place.

My studio, custom made to my very own design, with large high ceilings, big bright windows, overlooking the vast olive groves of Andalucia, has everything an artist needs to be inspired, or so you would think!  Ha! Not today though and I open the door slowly, balancing my Iphone on top of my coffee cup and walk in.  The smell of the oil paint mixed with the glazes and all the other products I have, hits my nose and I feel slightly comforted.  I look around at all the many previously completed, ‘inspired’ paintings hanging from their wires and see some of the chaos left from yesterday’s attempt at creating a work of art.  Had I lost it forever? I wondered, and sat down pensively drinking my coffee.

You see, inspiration doesn’t generally pop into one’s head, or at least not in my case, sometimes an active approach is required.  I look towards the sea of olive trees and today I find even these annoying, so I finish my coffee and wonder for how much longer I can procrastinate.  Perhaps the walk back to the kitchen for more coffee will help, and while I am there I can put some washing into the machine, feed Picasso (my cat), and check my emails.  Yes, that’s what I shall do.

I return, with more coffee, but no more inspiration.  I blame it on the planets, the time of the month, too much wine last night, anything except the truth.  I can’t paint anymore!  I finish my coffee and decide to go out for a walk.

As I meander down the old Roman track which leads from my cortijo, I can feel the cool breeze upon my arms and immediately wish I had brought a jacket, I also curse under my breath as my shoes are totally inadequate for the bumpy old track and dust and stones creep between my toes.  I find my mind wandering about nonsense just as a hoopoe flies right in front of me and stops me in my tracks and I watch him fly by, an incredible bird, distinctive with its stripes and a characteristic undulating way of flying which is something like a giant butterfly.  I stood stock still as he fluttered past at quite a speed and smiled at how beautiful he was noticing how blessed I always feel when I see a hoopoe.  I continued down the windy path way and noticed little fruits appearing on the plum trees which line my track, knowing I would be able to pick them soon.  I made a left turn just before the Roman bridge and headed down towards the river.   The San Juan Rio is an amazing river and runs from a small local town called Castillo de Locubin continuing for miles, we are very fortunate that it virtually runs past our cortijo and I now consider it mine.  I love spending time alone here by the water, watching it at different times of the year as it does different things, making different patterns in the flow, sometimes watching the fish jump out of the water, seeing little turtles swimming close to the bank, the black dragonflies flutter by and the different sounds of nature that can be heard.  Today, though, I couldn’t believe my eyes.  The water was higher than normal, the current flowing dangerously fast over the top of the small flat bridge, making it impossible to cross, the water splashing furiously about making white whirlpools and swirls as it thrashed around, fish jumping all over the place trying to swim upstream, the noise was deafening and I remembered we’d had a thunder storm a few days earlier which must have affected the flow of the river.  I sat down on a large stone and realised in my dour mood as I left the studio I had no sketchbook or drawing implements with me.   Still it didn’t matter; my mood lifting I virtually ran back to my studio and began to paint what I had just experienced.

Inspiration – what’s that ?

After the Storm at San Juan Rio
After the Storm at San Juan Rio

Article written for the Spanish County Life magazine