The Estremoz Paintings

Estremoz Castle, Spring
Estremoz Castle, Spring. 25 x 35 cm, oil on panel.
Estremoz Castle in the Summer
Estremoz Castle, Summer. 25 x 35 cm, oil on panel.
Oil painting of Estremoz Castle in the Autumn
Estremoz Castle, Autumn. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.
Estremoz Castle, winter
Estremoz Castle, Winter. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.

It’s been over a year now since we left Portugal, and even longer since I last wrote a blog post, but I wanted to show the series of paintings I did while we were living in the beautiful town of Estremoz. I had hoped to exhibit them as a group at the time, but between the Covid lockdowns and our other shows, I never got a chance to organize it.

Estremoz Castle #5. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.

(Above is a YouTube video of the process for the previous painting).

oil painting of a field of
Yellow Lupine in an Cork Forest. 70 x 90 cm, oil on linen.

We loved our three years living in Estremoz. The Portuguese people were as wonderful as everyone says, the towns, cities and landscapes of the Alentejo are gorgeous, and the history and culture is utterly fascinating. I had no idea how much of the world’s culinary culture was influenced by the Portuguese. From the vindaloo curries of Goa, to Japanese tempura, to the multitude of peppers worldwide, Portugal had a huge influence on food everywhere they went.

Today as well, the food in the Alentejo and the Algarve is amazing, and not as well known as it should be. The seafood is especially great, in part because the area south of the Tagus (Tejo) river is the only area in Europe where cilantro is still part of the regional cuisine.

Today there are a lot of great restaurants in Estremoz, but we especially loved Larau and Mercearia Gadanha.

Saturday Market, Estremoz. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.
Oil painting of Carnival in Estremoz
Carnival Parade, Estremoz. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.
Cafe Alentejano
Café Alentejano, Sunday Morning. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.
trees in bloom painting
Spring, Estremoz. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.
Câmara Municipal, Estremoz
Tower of the City Hall, Estremoz. 30 x 20 cm, oil on panel.
Artists Society of Estremoz
The Artists Society of Estremoz. 25 x 28 cm, oil on panel.

We hadn’t originally planned on living in Portugal. It was one place on our list of possible places after my wife finished her studies at the Florence Academy of Art. But we really liked our time scouting in the Alentejo so we thought we would just look around at possible towns. One problem we had at first is that much of the architecture is designed around small windows as the summers are so hot. As artists we were looking for large windows with a lot of natural light. So we were thrilled when we discovered Estremoz. Much of the town is built on the north facing side of the hill under their castle, and there are a number of old, beautiful buildings with large north-facing windows.

Sociedade de Artistas Estremocense
Largo General Graca, Estremoz. 25 x 35 cm, oil on panel.

As we walked around on our first visit, we stumbled across a large, ornate, empty building with large north-facing windows. The plaque next to the door read ‘Sociedade de Artistas Estremocense’, the Artists Society of Estremoz, so we asked next door if anything was for rent, and moved in a few months later.

We are very thankful to the Sociedade de Artistas for all their help in getting us settled into their beautiful building, and into the life and culture of Estremoz.

Rossio Marquês de Pombal painting
Rossio Marquês de Pombal. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.
wildflower painting
Wildflowers. 25 x 35 cm, oil on panel.
R. da Campainha painting in Estremoz.
Rua da Campainha, Estremoz. 30 x 20 cm, oil on panel.
(Another process video, with thoughts on urban plein air painting in general).

plein air painting of the Igreja de São Francisco
Igreja de São Francisco. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.

I also painted a few larger paintings. One is posted above, and here are a couple more:

large plein air landscape painting of Estremoz castle.
Estremoz Castle. 120 x 140 cm, oil on linen.
Plein air painting of my wife on our terrace in Estremoz.
Tina on the Terrace, Estremoz. 120 x 90 cm, oil on linen.

This last one is of my wife on our terrace in the Artists Society building. I love the huge chimneys that you see all around the Alentejo, apparently they were for curing meat for storage.

sunset painting
Sunset, Estremoz. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.

Overall we had a wonderful time in the Alentejo and it is a period of our life that, despite the Covid pandemic, we will always look back on fondly.

Portrait Painting Video

I’ve recently posted a demo video of laying-in a portrait in oils using the sight-size method. I hope you enjoy it.

These days my videos go first to my Patreon supporters for three months. After three months I release them to the public on my YouTube channel.

If you get something out of these videos, please consider supported my equipment budget through Patreon. I make all these videos myself.