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THE DATES FOR 2015 GHOST RANCH ARE POSTED ON THE WORKSHOP TAB!

My first trip to Spain was in 2003 and since then I have been back several times. The first 2 weeks of May I will realize a dream of mine to take a group of art friends and indulge ourselves by drawing, photographing and painting our way through Spain. We will spend the first week in southern Spain. From there we fly from Malaga to Barcelona for another week of fun. We will stay on the Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun) on the southern shores of Spain. Our lodging will be at the same beautiful place for a week (no lugging suitcases and daily packing!). I have a villa rented for a week with a lovely property and beautiful pool. It’s pretty enough to just stay at the villa, but we are going to paint and photograph so each day we will travel out to a new place and take in the sights with our cameras, sketch books and paint. Of course, if you wish to ‘skip’ a day out and relax at the villa it is always an option! I like to travel cheap…and since we will have kitchens we can eat at ‘home’ for breakfast. For lunch and dinner we can decide which will be ‘on the road’… perhaps take a picnic lunch and eat out for dinner, or eat out for lunch and return for a relaxing dinner. We will complete our travels just before the airfare rates for summer travel escalate. I have a book, “1000 Places to See Before You Die.” We are visiting 3 of those on the Southern Coast and at least 3 more in Barcelona! Take a look below at where you will visit. [The lighting is dull because my photos were taken in November. In May we should have brilliant sunshine to warm us!]

Spain is where explorers dreamed of seeing a new world…and that’s what we plan to do!

COSTA DEL SOL

Arrive Monday, 4 May

We fly from the US on Sunday 3 May and arrive the next morning in Spain! In no certain order we plan to visit these places, see the sites, taste the local fare, poke into shops, churches, gardens and more.

 

Ronda is known for its bullfighting but more impressive is the cliff vistas and beautiful ironwork gracing the churches, homes and shops.

 

The remote hilltop village of Grazalema is known for its Roman influence. A fountain there still works. If we still have time on our Ronda day, we can add it in to the schedule.

 

We will spend a day on British soil at the Rock of Gibraltar—known for its apes, caves and marvelous vistas over the Strait of Gibraltar! There is also a small English garden. You’ll need your passport for entry.

 

Our longest day (and most special) is a visit to the Alhambra in Granada. We will walk down the beautiful stone walkways to see this outstanding Moor Palace. Serenity graces the gardens and exquisite fountains. Incredible tiles cover the patios and walls, wooden carved screens provide intimate areas and every view is special. Tickets must be purchased early for this site.

 

Cordoba has a magnificent cathedral/mosque. The red striped archways of carved stone columns lead visitors into the grand area of worship where tile work and filtered light promote a sense of grandeur and peace. Its history reflects the home of two religions.

 

Seville is a university town. The cathedral with its gargoyles on watch and winding streets provide many opportunities for sight-seeing and drawing/painting. The Real Alcazar is a palace and garden well worth the visit and we will see the Hospital de las Venerables. It is our longest distance destination.

 

In Malaga we will visit the remains of the castle and picnic along the shoreline.

 

About our villa on the Costa del Sol:

5 Bedroom Villa (only the married couples will share a bed—others will share a room)

The villa occupies a great position on the Mijas Golf urbanisation. An impressive driveway leads to the villa and provides plenty of parking space for guests.

To the front the villa has a single level aspect and provides an authentic 'Ranch' effect.  Four of the five bedrooms and all the living areas are on this one floor making it the perfect home for families and friends to share their time together,  An expansive open hallway leads down to a huge lounge which centres around the ornate fireplace and 55" inch flatscreen TV with SKY TV package.  There are veranda doors that open up onto the balcony which commands breathtaking views across the pool and gardens all the way down to the golf course.  The dining room sits just off the lounge and has plenty of room for any formal meals.  Wi-Fi is available around the villa. 

The modern kitchen is fitted with all appliances to make your self -catering holiday as carefree as possible.  All cooking utensils are provided. There is also a dining area in the kitchen with a table to seat 6 making it ideal for serving breakfast.

All of the 4 bedrooms on this level have air conditioning and have the use of two en-suites and a family bathroom.  The bedrooms are light and airy and are tastefully furnished and decorated.  

On the lower floor, which can be accessed via two external staircases, you will find the fifth bedroom and another family bathroom.  This separation makes it ideal for those looking for a bit of extra privacy whilst still sharing the villa with the rest of their family and friends.  The lower floor also hosts an impressive game room with Table tennis table, Pool table, Playstation 2 and Flatscreen TV.  Those who like a work out before their day of sunbathing will be able to make use of the multigym and those who want to enjoy that added degree of relaxation there is also a sauna.  

Outside, the villa maintains its high standards.  There is abundance of terracing in which to relax and sunbathe whilst the dining furniture and chairs make sure most of your meals will be taken outside.  The built in Charcoal BBQ is a real feature.  The gardens have an array of native plants, trees, flora and fauna which add to the overall beauty of the villa. The inviting private pool is the perfect place for a cooling dip whilst the children’s pool provides a great area for the children to enjoy. There is also a handy poolside shower.  The pool and terracing are bordered by lawns laid to grass.

Linen and towels are provided but please bring your own pool towels. The kitchen has a large refrigerator/freezer, oven, iron, washer (no dryer) and dishwasher so we will not have any trouble preparing what meals we wish at ‘home.’ We can also plan to do laundry before we begin our second week in Spain!

BARCELONA

Arrive Sunday, 10 May

Barcelona is amazing. It’s easier than Paris to handle on foot so we will not worry with car rentals, parking and the extra expense. Instead we will buy a 2-day pass on a double-decker bus and see the sights. It’s hop-on-and-hop-off. After that we can easily do by foot or metro the rest for getting around. Even from the airport we can take a bus to the city.

 

Views from the Double Decker bus

 

Parc Guell, residence of Antonio Gaudi

 

Familia Sagrada…the only modern day Cathedral in the world being built after its beginning more than 100 years ago. It is funded by gifts and entry fees.

 

Palau Musica…the most outstanding combination of mosaics and glass for a music venue I have ever seen! We will go for a concert for little more than the cost of tour!

 

The market off of Las Ramblas in Barcelona

 

About our apartment in Barcelona: It is a metro ride from anywhere in the city. More later!

 

DETAILS:

Flights:From our direction flights into Malaga, Spain come either through Madrid or London (and those through London may stop first at Faro—and airport taxes in England are outrageous). Since we will all fly from different starting points, we will designate a target date and time for arrival in Malaga. Our car rental begins at noon. If you wish to travel with me through the DFW airport I can give you my travel plans and we can fly together! Or, you might be able to connect with us in New York. These are things we can work out when we know who is coming from where! I’m hoping we have enough advance notice to find some really good flight deals out there and I’ll let you know when I see them. You can make your own arrangements on this as I know some are using frequent flyer points. We are also taking a small flight from Malaga to Barcelona for about $100. We have transport arranged at the airport to the apartment and also for a return.

 

Packing:We are not going to work on large scale paintings, but rather art journaling. All you will need is a small travel pack. I would suggest a Tombow pen and some Pitt pens (I like black, but they come in all colors), a watercolor block or travel journal for drawing/painting, some small brushes and a small palette that could be carried in an over-the-shoulder bag. Pretty simple stuff! Of course, bring your camera! I actually depend on my camera and paint when I get home! Pack light as you will have your suitcase on your lap between the airport and our Spanish villa! The vehicles have very limited cargo space but comfortable passenger space once we shed the suitcases!

 

Rooming: My goal is for us each to have our own bed…even if we might have a roommate. There may be 2 people to a bedroom, but separate beds.

 

Travel:I have rented 2 vehicles that promise room for 5 passengers and 6 large bags. Renting cars is always a surprise, so we will see! In Malaga we return the vehicle to the place where we rented it…no crossing borders. In Barcelona we can do fine with public transit. Travel distances from our villa in Fuengirola are:

Malaga airport to Fuengirola: 21 miles/ 34 km (42)

Rock of Gibraltar: 70 miles/113 km (140)

Granada: 95 miles/152 km   (190)

Cordoba: 116 miles/186 km   (232)

Seville: 145 miles/233 km   (290)

Ronda: 58 miles/93 km (116)

Grazalema: 77 miles/124 km from Fuengirola  (156)   [from Ronda 20 miles/23 km]   (40)

Indidentals: 100 miles

Total estimate: 1150

Gas price: $1.45 USD per liter [4 liters = 1 gallon] so $5.80 USD / gallon

Vehicle getting 10 miles to gallon= 115 gallons=$667 USD

 

On Site:I usually snag scenes in my camera and paint when I get home, but on this trip we will slow down enough to allow time to sketch/paint (without easels and a lot of equipment). We will use the Girl Scout Buddy System…no wandering off by yourself!

 

Schedule:If you choose to stay at the rooms any day and rest, relax and paint that is fine but I am planning a new place to visit each day (and tickets are required each day).

Sunday, 3 May: Leave the US

Monday, 4 May: Arrive in Malaga, Spain in the morning, get car, unpack, relax, groceries

Tuesday, 5 May: Cordoba

Wednesday, 6 May: Granada Alhambra

Thursday, 7 May: Ronda and possibly Grazalema

Friday, 8 May: Rock of Gibraltar or Malaga area

Saturday, 9 May: Seville

Sunday, 10 May: Return car, fly to Barcelona and settle in our new digs. We will visit the market for unbelievable fresh food.

Monday, 11 May: Ride the double decker bus…get on and off as much as you want. It will give you a good ‘lay of the land!’ We will have a 2-day pass. Of course, I have suggestions….

Tuesday, 12 May: Use the 2nd day of our double decker bus pass. We can visit museums and churches, shopping, whatever is your pleasure. We won’t really have as much of a schedule these 2 days so you can do what you want!

Wednesday, 13 May: Parc Guell

Thursday, 14 May: Familia Sagrada

Friday, 15 May: Evening performance at the Palau de la Musica. Optional.

Saturday, 16 May: Check out and fly home!

 

Meals: Mentioned earlier, I do travel cheap! We can buy wines and food at the market. We have a kitchen in both locations and will plan on buying out only one meal a day…at your own discretion! Paella is definitely a must! In Barcelona they have the most famous market in the world and the produce is unbelievable!

 

Entertainment & Ticket Cost: Some local restaurants will have flamenco performances so we can check on that when on the coast. Tickets to some of the optional fun stuff have to be bought well in advance. (That’s why I am asking for a major deposit now for the group tickets).

*In Barcelona I found a great concert in the Palau Musica— A musical tour with Catalan composer and performer Eduard Iniesta. Iniesta is a specialist in Mediterranean double-string instruments, playing more than 40 different types. Together with the National Classical Orchestra of Andorra, he takes the audience around Barcelona, Greece, Turkey and the North of Africa. I will buy group tickets for this~~ check it out: http://www.classictic.com/en/a_mediterranean_journey__eduard_iniesta/27670/203695/

 

I will also pay for the tickets for:

*Double Decker Bus in Barcelona for 2 days (2 different routes)=$45.31 USD

 

*Familia Sagrada in Barcelona is $23 USD for audio guide or $28 to go to the rooftop (you can take elevator up but have to walk down 400+ steps)

 

*Parc Guell in Barcelona have to get tickets in advance $8 USD (2014 prices) group rate

 

*Gibraltar has a fee for the Cable Car which will include some of the sites=$25 USD

 

*Cordoba palace and gardens has a fee…waiting on that amount

 

*The Alhambra in Granada is about $20 USD (for March…might be more in May, cannot access those dates yet). I will buy group tickets. Check this: http://www.alhambradegranada.org/en/

 

You will pay for your metro tickets in Barcelona (abt $12 USD), your airport transfers in Barcelona (abt $25 for round trip) and for your airfare to Barcelona from Malaga (abt $100)

 

Passports:Your passport must be up to date (you can get one at the post office near your home). If you already have one, be sure it has more than 6 months before the expiration date or you cannot enter the country. (Example: expiration date must be after November). Allow several weeks for processing at this time of year.

 

Other Costs: I like to travel as cheaply as possible but with comfort in mind. I know ahead of time what the actual lodging and car rental will cost. I’m guessing at the gas required and cost.

 

Your airfare to and from Spain is not included but I suggest using airfarewatchdog.com and set your dates and locations (leave the US Sunday, 3 May and arrive Malaga 4 May, depart Barcelona 16 May—you will arrive in the US the same date because you are traveling with the time zones) for an ongoing search. I will let you know what the travel schedule is as soon as I have deposits from everyone and can proceed. These are now firm dates.

 

Summation: My next step is to find some good flights for us. I’ll let you know which one Gary and I will be on. IF we don’t fly together that is okay…we will just try to get to Malaga at a general time to load into the cars. Then we can all proceed with our individual airfares. To help facilitate lodging payments, group tickets for several items and Malaga to Barcelona airfares I require $1000 per person now.

 

It looks like the trip is $2000 each (not including food). Your deposit is enough to get us started on our reservations. I think you will be pleased with the cost, sites and accommodations!

 

We have room (and I’m hoping) for a couple more attendees if you wish to share this ~~Darla

DARLA'S 2015 CALENDAR 

 

The Calendar For Sale Tab to the upper left has details! There are 3 left!

 

   WATERCOLOR CLASSES

Learn something new...or more than you do now

 

WHEN: Fridays, 9:30-noon (but we bring a lunch and usually stay until close to 2!). This is an ongoing class…new students can join in anytime!

WHERE: Hobby Lobby Classroom in Denton on Loop 288 and Colorado across from the mall, at the back of the store.  

COST: I started this class in February 2013 with the goal of having an ongoing class for a group of painters. Instead of charging for a set block of time (say 6 weeks) you pay for the days when you come. Of course, I hope you will make every effort to come to each class since the lessons progress as a series, building upon what was learned earlier. The pay arrangement is unique. You purchase a card with 6 sessions for $150. Each time you come your card will be validated. After six have been used, you may purchase another card and continue with the classes. This system allows for more flexibility with your schedule. If you miss a class due to travel, company, illness or appointments, you don't pay for a class you don't attend!
Each class begins with a critique on work done at class and even works done at home. No fear…It is gentle and positive! I paint demos and work through the same assignment as the class. If you already paint with watercolors, I will be taking you in new directions with new windows to open in your art work. If you are a beginner, or have not painted in awhile, I have something for you also. We all begin somewhere and we all progress from that point. Through my lessons there is something for everyone, at any level.
LESSON PLANS:
Each week you will get a printed sheet for future reference of the lesson, examples, and information. I try to incorporate a bit of art history so you can get a feel for how other artists have approached the subject matter. (One day I am going to print a book! In the meantime, you get loose sheets) Some of the topics are:
Contour Drawing/Value Study, Smooth transition in shapes/shadows, Complementary Colors, Color Temperature, Texture, White Space, Negative Space Painting, Mood through color and light, Negative Space, Perspective, in Shadows, How to Photo Document Final Piece & Frame, Rhythm and Overlapped Pattern, A Landscape in Three Analagous Colors, Cool Subject – Hot colors…Colors You Don’t Expect, Mood, Pattern, Contrast in a Figure Painting, Neutral Colors and more!

ABOUT DARLA:

I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts and have been an art instructor for 40+ years! I regularly paint demonstrations at North Texas area art associations and once a year I teach a workshop/retreat for one week at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, NM. My art has been published in national magazines, books, on television and won many awards in national juried art exhibits. Currently I am serving as President of Society of Watercolor Artists based in Fort Worth, TX. I would love to share with you my passion for painting!

 

I'm included in the Best of Worldwide Artists, Vol 1

I am one of 124 artists from 21 countries chosen by Kennedy Publishing to be released in 2013. Three of my images have been chosen: "Sweet Dreams", "Rainbow Agave" and "Peony in Pink, Lintao, China" for a 2-page spread.  The 3 paintings are pictured below.

"Best of Worldwide Artists, Vol I" pgs 22,23

I am included in the Zentangle 9: Color with Mixed Media Book now available! This is what happens once you begin doing Zentangle, a meditative style of graphic design. This particular image began as a watercolor I painted in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico titled "Cabo Hibiscus." Several years later, I improved it with Zentangle and it is now "Tangled Hibiscus." It is one of two of my paintings included in Suzanne McNeill's book, "Zentangle 9" in which I am a featured artist!

My turtle photograph was chosen by Norie Sato as a reference for one mosaic column installed as part of the Chisholm Trail Parkway in the Fort Worth North Texas Tollway Authority public art project. Mosaics were made by Franz Mayer Studio in Germany. Each column is 2' diameter x 13' tall. The columns crossing the Trinity Riverway focus on water creatures and plants in that area.

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