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Botanical Art with Shevaun Doherty



Painting under the sun

As I picked up Shevaun from the airport, laden as she was with paints, pots and vellum, I was excited to be able to sit down with her and put the final touches to the planning of the two botanical workshops that were to be held at La Bonita. But first there was a surprise in store -- Jess Shepherd paid us a visit on the Sunday and before we knew it, we were doing a Facebook Live from the patio of the farm house. Great fun! If you want to watch these two artists talk colour, palettes, and brushes whilst drinking La Bonita's white Moscatel wine as I prepare raisins in the background, check out the video on Hacienda La Bonita Facebook.


On the Monday, as our first students arrived for their morning class -- having travelled from Denmark and Chile -- the sun shone down from a clear, deep blue sky. The classes were held in the shade by the pool, whilst all meals were taken up at the house outside in the rancho overlooking the gardens. Shevaun taught about outline, form and colour and slowly, over the five days of tuition, showed her students how to create extremely delicate botanical watercolours. As an extra, Yoga classes with Susanna took place on two days of the art course, and we were treated to a private Bossa Nova concert by Sergio Sands. The ladies on the course also toured the farm and had a walk among the avocado trees whilst I explained the intricacies of avo farming. It really was sad to see them leave on the Friday.


Come the weekend, Shevaun gave a two-day intense masterclass to three further students, one of whom had travelled especially to learn how to paint on vellum. The Saturday dawned stormy and windy, and even though I'm the first to smile if it rains, the downpour was quite something. Once I'd stopped the irrigation working, I prepared the mid-morning break of watermelon, honey biscuits and fresh orange juice and finally had the chance to sit down and get to know the new cohort of lady artists. What a wonderful group! They were all very different, each with their own style of painting, and yet it was wonderful to see how quickly they formed a friendly group and chatted away at lunch. Sunday's teaching took place once again under the Andalusian sun, and passed all too quickly. Carrying their art work, and some olive oil, honey, wine and lemons, these lovely ladies vowed to return. Shevaun and I are already looking at dates for 2019, so stay tuned!

These two workshops were, without a doubt, a heartwarming and genuinely intimate and fun experience. When you meet ladies from all over the world, and all, without exception, feel relaxed and at home, and express how delighted they are with the teaching and homecooked meals and relaxing atmosphere, it makes my vision of La Bonita come alive. I truly hope they all return, but this time for sure as friends.




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