The cork oak, stripped

stripped cork

The cork oaks have recently been harvested, or stripped of their cork. This always, to my eye, leaves them looking rather naked and vulnerable…. I imagined dressing them again. What would they wear? This cheeky cork oak tree has managed to get laced into a rather lovely red basque. The knickers wouldn’t go on and have been discarded on the woodland floor in disgust.

If you are interested in the whole (real!) process of the cork harvesting in Andalucia, my good friend and eloquent writer, Grandolfo, wrote about it here:

A2 canvas board. Acrylic and ink pen.


Oranges and lemons…

Oranges and lemons

When we bought our house we inherited a lemon tree with an orange branch grafted onto it. It is very strange, and many people do not believe such a thing is possible 🙂 It is a magnificent tree, providing us with nearly a year round supply of lemons and Seville oranges. Well, we think they are Seville, they are quite tart but very nice added to juices.  They are full of pips though! The leaves and blossom are quite different too; the orange blossom smells glorious when it is out. The ones I picked today for this picture found the lemon leaves quite pale and yellow in comparison to the orange leaves.  Having arranged them nicely to sketch and paint, I found the leaves seem to move on their own! Most strange…..Watercolour and ink.

CIMG1094Our tree, just outside the back door.

The cork oak clings on…more adventures with my ink pot


This cork oak tree is valiantly clinging onto a collapsing bank, it is actually tilting at quite an angle and I will add some photos to show you. The cork bark has been harvested off the main trunk but not the branches, which is why they look thicker. This tree is up a steep hill over the river to the south of Jimena. I am enjoying working with my ink pot and brushes! I love the drama and simplicity of black and white with shades of grey.

IMG_0072 IMG_0069 IMG_0070

I am currently in England with my parents so WiFi is limited to my Dad’s wind up machine 😉 so please forgive me if I don’t get to answer any comments quickly. I’ll catch up with you all very soon. Wendy x

The orange tree in the plaza

Naranja 2

The main square in Jimena, la plaza de la Constitución,  has orange trees all around it. This particular one is near to the cafe bar ‘Pastor II’, and one particular lady always sits under here with her 2 dogs to have coffee from 11.30 onwards most days. She is a bit of a landmark now and we all tend to congregate around her. Sadly for us, she has gone back to the UK  for a while, but hopefully will be back under the tree next February. We miss you, Kate! And her dogs Olly & Dylan…..

The nodding horse under the tree

The horse under the tree

I snapped a photo of this horse a few weeks ago up the north end of Jimena on the way up to the white cross (here I could put a link to my post from then if I only had the know-how 🙂 ). He was nodding his head up and down and swishing his lovely tail at me. Too hot to be outside sketching so I thought I’d work from a photo today. Anyway, horses don’t really keep that still…..

Oleander on the rocks


I was fascinated by the oleanders clinging to the rocks down by the river; the twisting roots as they cling on tight seem to merge into the trunk and branches and until it’s hard to tell where the roots stop and the branches start! And just to prove, especially to my lovely ‘mentor’, that I DO get outside and draw and not just work from my photos, here I am in action drawing this very oleander (photo thanks to my husband who was dispatched off further up the river to give me some peace 🙂


The Cork Oak tree


I found this cork oak tree down below Jimena, near to the river. There are lots down there; this whole area is famous for them, and they are harvested for their cork every 9 years or so, I believe. That’s why it has a smooth section in the middle! This appears as a reddish tan colour, but as I am not doing colours yet you’ll just have to imagine it 🙂 The whole area here is a natural park and is named after them, ‘Parque Natural Los Alcornocales’. As far as I know, they are protected and if you have one on your land you are not allowed to chop it down (not that you would want to!) The harvesting of the cork is done entirely by hand and the cork carried back on a mule.