Travelling with a paintbox in Western Portugal

It’s not often I want to visit a place twice, but we were so enamoured with the south west coastline of Portugal last year that we made a return trip this October to see the beaches we missed and get a better feel for the area.

At the last minute decided to slip in the watercolours and sketchbook just in case, although having so busy for the past few months thought a break might be a good idea, but as it turned out I had lots of opportunity to do a quick sketch in paint and reacquaint myself with the immediacy and simplicity of working with watercolour.

On the west coast, the roads are lined with pine and eucalyptus with deep valleys and rivers leading down to the sea. The valleys are incredibly fertile with orange, lime and olive groves and an abundance of sweet potatoes this time of the year. The southwest peninsular around Sagres and Cabo St Vincente is very barren, exposed and rocky in complete contrast. You can almost draw a line dividing the two.

We arrived in Aljezur and stayed at a farm boutique B & B , Herdade Quinta Natura which was stunning. With just four rooms, a private terrace, chefs breakfast, it was the so peaceful and relaxing. You also had the use of the all the living spaces and kitchen so could move around. There was a couple from France and a couple from Luxembourg, who were great company too. Outside our room there was a large cork oak tree which was the first thing I painted while Don recovered from tonsilitis he came on holiday with.

Over the next couple of days, we travelled up and down the coast to Odeceixe , Rogil , Monte Clerigo, Amoreira, Arrifana, and then down towards Bordeira and Carrapateira where our favourite beach lies, Praia Do Amado and further south to Casteljo and Cordoama before you hit the most southwesterly point and turn the corner back along the Algarve coastline. Here are a few of those beaches.

And here are the watercolours I captured in around ten to fifteen minutes in my indian handmade paper sketchbook A5 size. Has reconnected me with watercolour and I will definately be carrying it around with me in the future.

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