In the news last week, I came across an inspirational story about how the concept of an "open-air" art gallery transformed a struggling village of 323 people in the Castellón province of Spain and is now part of the world's circuit of street art events.



PRE REQUISITE - Introduction to Photography 


Montgo Verd * Garden Centre

Cami Cabanes 136, 03730 Xàbia, Alicante


10:00 Arrival  (if you order coffee or juice = pre-pay)


"Absolutely excellent. I was given a lovely camera as a present two years ago but had no idea what to do with all the complex options it came with. So I had hardly used it. After just a couple of hours on this course I had learnt so much that I am planning trips just to take my camera out. There was lots of personal attention from Karla and loads of ideas of simple things to try that were really effective."

* Christine Wood of Javea

"I thoroughly enjoyed it. I found it very helpful and interesting. I found myself absorbing lines, shapes and textures all the way home!! Also this workshop gave me a greater confidence to play around with the camera. I learned a lot in a short time. Karla is very informative with a lovely sense of humour which makes it a pleasure to learn from someone who obviously has great knowledge and a great passion for what she does."

*  Laura Donoghue

"The notes and lecture that Karla started the morning with were most instructive. I have become more familiar with my camera, which was my aim in taking the course. Holding the course at Montgo Verd was an inspired idea - there was no shortage of subjects to photograph. Karla's teaching style is informal, well planned, thoughtful. I would recommend Karla Darocas."

* Julie Price, Javea

"It was a fantastic sunny day and Karla was very friendly and informative. She taught with enthusiasm on how to take photos by looking at the beauty of things around us and applying the principles of harmony, colour, form, texture and lighting, etc. I would certainly recommend Karla’s photo walks as it is a great way to meet other people and a fun way to learn how to take better photos. I feel I received some great photography tips and my photo taking has much improved only after a few short hours." 

* Shirley Renouf - Orba, Alicante

"Karla had a friendly relaxed style of teaching as we wandered around the village. The focus of the information was less technical than I had expected, concentrating on the beauty elements of the shot. I was amazed at how much my photos improved throughout the morning by employing the principles that Karla taught us. Karla has a keen interest and background in Spanish art and this knowledge shines through in her approach to photography. I recommend her walks not only in order to learn more about the art of taking photographs, but also as a pleasant way to pass the time." 

* Anita from Moraira

"Karla is a truly talented photographer. She combines her background in fine arts with the camera's technology and through the lens wonderful creations are born enabling the viewer to see and appreciate the hidden beauty that is around us. A flower, an insect and a building come to life as a digital portrait reflecting her passion for photography." 

* Margaret Den Hartog, Javea, Alicante

"I highly recommend Karla's photography workshops. Even with my little compact camera, I learned a lot about how versatile it really is and what happens when I dig down into menus I had rarely touched. Whatever level you are at or whatever gear you have, Karla will help you get more out of your digital photography. Definitely give this a go!" 

* Maya Middlemiss, Denia, Alicante




Thank you to all who worked with me to make this first ever Art Market a joyous and successful event. It had always been a dream of mine to have a room full of artistic talents in one space celebrating their creativity and sharing their passion for art. Well, that dream came true on the 16th of March, 2017 at the Church Centre in the old town of Javea. We were 12 dedicated artists exhibiting, promoting and selling our artworks.

Thank you to Lizzie Clayton for her hostessing services and chatting up the guests. According to her feedback from the approximately 150 folks and friends who came out to support our efforts, the comments were very positive and encouraging stating that they were impressed with the quality of the works. Many guests expressed a delight in seeing yet another art show in the near future, as they will bring friends. It is a proud moment when you find true art lovers who care about our creative culture verses the plastic machine manufactured garbage.

Like Picasso said,"Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.". You could see the joy in the faces of the guests who purchased their pieces of artworks and met the artist who created it.
Many excited guests signed up for commissioned works by many of the artists in attendance. There were folks who just bought a brand new villa and decided to fill their walls with our local artworks. There were other artists who were very pleased to meet us as an artists community!!

Thank you to musician Roger Saunders who is a fab friend for coming over and entertaining us with his sweet sounds on guitar, harmonica and vocals. Roger is part of my other creative cultural group called CrossRoads, which is another fun experience during a Saturday coffee morning that has been rolling for over 3 years now over in the Salon of Bar Mediterraneo in Teulada!!

The facilitators of the Church Centre were very pleased that we were using their location to celebrate human activity and expression. They have asked us back again!
Robert Richardson did a great job on the street signage and I met people who came to our Art Market because the placards caught their attention. Robert hosts a FaceBook social group called the Javea Art Hub and I encourage his efforts to keep up this coffee morning in order that we all can network with more artistic creators.

And of course, Thank YOU to all the artists who contributed and participated in this first Art Market Sarah Beattie, Georgie Poulariani, Angela Rich, Victoria Sand , Alice Davies , Susan Hankey, Gwen Roberts , Frances Jones, Tony Franklin, Robert Richardson and Val Blakeman.


Artfully Yours,
Karla Darocas


Having retired as a teacher in England, Val Blakeman moved to Spain at first on a semi-permanant basis. Within time her love for Javea made her decision to move here permanently, ver easy. Now Valerie lives in Javea and can be close to her church, which is the Javea International Baptist Church, who are our friendly hosts for the Art Market.

"I have always had a creative flair and I used that in my teaching profession," explains Val.

With the encouragement of her brother-in-law, Val decided to take lessons with Julia Evans first at her outlet in Gata de Gorgos and now in her studio in Benidoleig.

"Julia has inspired me and has taught me much of the skills I now possess," admits Val.

Val likes to take a whole day to devote to her painting. "It is the time when I can immerse myself completely in what I am doing," she explains.

"I love to express my love for people in my paintings. I try to express feelings and emotions in my work. If I had the time I would paint every day. I hope to develop a skill with the pallets knife"

Val is interested in artists who portray people with character and movement. Javea is the ultimate place for an artist who admires the sunlit paintings of Valencia's most famous artist - Joaquín Sorolla.

Val Blakeman will be at the ART MARKET so come visit her and admire her creativity and joy of painting.


Thanks to my good friend Jack Troughton, the Art Market scored a full page in the newspaper!!

Let the celebrations begin!!

Karla Darocas


Scottish born Sarah Beattie is now yet another Costa Blanca artist.

Sarah has always been a creative person so it was logical that she would study interior and environmental design at Duncan of Jordan stone college in Dundee.

"I graduated with a BDES Hons in 2006," explains Sarah

When it comes to her art practice, she admits at not having any preferred style but she confirms that she likes to create abstract art!

"My work is mostly abstract landscape," she confirms. "I don't aim to create an exact scene but to capture an essence of that place, through the use of mixed media and the use of bright and contrasting colours!"



Originally, a Fine Art and creative student, Victoria Sand worked in a secondary school teaching art where she rediscovered her love and talent for art. This provided her the environment to be inspired and to explore her creativity, flourishing as an artist. Consequently, she went on to study a BA Honours degree in Fine Art.

Report & Interview by Paula Boulos

In asking Victoria what brought her to Javea she shared, "I recently moved to Spain with my two children and I cannot quite believe the journey I have been on over the past year. I have overcome so many hurdles; I left my comfort zone and faced fears head on. My confidence has grown so much, and I am overcoming my anxieties."

She continues, "I have had to be so versatile, it has been so hard, including being admitted to hospital twice since I have been here as I suffer from a chronic illness triggered by stress, but I am well now and fighting back. I'm a different person to who I was a year ago."

After hearing about Victoria’s personal journey, it was equally important to further create an understanding in her work.


PAULA - You clearly have great experience in painting, what is your favorite medium to work with and do you focus on a specific subject matter?

VICTORIA - Thank you. I still have a lot to learn, to be honest my focus is currently quite commercial compared to my previous work where I focused on the roles and expectations of women and particularly domestic abuse.

I work a lot with acrylic paints, as I like to work fast and to a large scale. Recently, I have been working a lot smaller using watercolour and paper or fabric and fabric paints.

PAULA - Who would you say is one or more of your most influential artists?

VICTORIA - There are a few.... Frida Kahlo, before her time, was a legend for women in the Art world - an inspiration.

Marina Abramović is a performance artist whose work has a real emotional impact on me.

Susan Lacey influenced a lot of my work on domestic abuse; I just love her approach and the way she challenged society on subjects including abuse towards women.

PAULA -  What do you gain personally from painting/art? What is your earliest memory of your creativity?

VICTORIA - I do find art has helped me through some really tough times, including being really ill, especially when I'm working on something personal, it helps healing and gives me motivation.

My earliest memory, where I realised I had a flare for art, I entered an Easter competition decorating boiled eggs and recreated a scene from 'Hickory Dickory Dock' to my amazement, I won.

PAULA -  What do you hope to gain from sharing your art with the public?

VICTORIA - Currently, my work is quite reserved and I would like to think of it being lighthearted and something people would like to have in their homes to enjoy.

Previously some of my work has been shocking and not to everyone's taste, but I feel it got across the message I wanted at the time.

PAULA - Have you seen a change in your art technically or in subject matter since living in Spain?

VICTORIA - Yes, most definitely, not only for commercial reasons but I'm in a much better place and feel I can now enjoy the world around me and paint more positive subjects.

PAULA - Do you feel positive about the growth and future of art in Javea?

VICTORIA - I do, I feel Javea Art Hub is a great start where all kinds of artists can share ideas and bounce off each other. I have introduced some of my students to the group too and I think it is just going to keep growing.

CONCLUSION - It is evident that Victoria has been on a very personal journey which her art parallels, with her reflecting her experiences and emotions along the way. Her art is fueled with not only her personal experiences from good to bad but she is constantly challenging herself as an artist, with recently exploring photography where she has produced captivating images similarly to her beautiful paintings.


Benitachell artist Alice Davies is a well known woman in this neck of the coast, if you can say that, as you will find Alice at many of the regional fairs and markets. Alice's impressionistic visions of beauty in watercolours are collected by local folks and tourists alike. How she became an artist is a fun story!

About 25 years ago, before the time that Alice was an artist, she was out walking on a mountain and started chatting with another hiker and discovered that he was an artist.

"I met a fellow hiker who turned out to be the famous watercolour artist Trevor Waugh from the Cotswolds in England." explains Alice. "I told him that I wanted to paint and he offered to come to Javea for a week to teach if I could find 6 people who would join the class."

Well, that was 25 years ago now and Alice has been painting and selling her paintings and making greeting cards from the paintings.

Even if you have met Alice before, come out to the ART MARKET on the 16th of March and meet her again :) xx


Tony Franklin is a creative person who has found being an artist a great way to express himself freely and a path to offer different opinions on a variety of subjects.

Hailing originally from Hertfordshire, English, Tony is a new-comer to Javea landing here only in April 2016 with his family.

"I've been a creative artist since I was young," explain the young artists. "I was into making drawings, sculptures or paper planes at a very young age but have been a practicing artist for the past 6 years."

Tony goes for the Impressionist artists and sights Claude Monet as his favourite.

You will get a chance to meet this young artist at the ART MARKET on Thursday, 16th of March in Javea.


The wonderful and lovely Frances Jones was a Londoner who lived and worked in Sussex for many years as a hair stylist. She always enjoyed art but owning her own salon kept her too busy.

Finally, when she and husband Myke moved to Spain and settled in beautiful Benitachell in 1988, she picked up her paint brushes and oil paints and never looked back.

Fran is a big fan of the Impressionist painters like Monet and Nydia Lozano, (1947) a Valenciana from Alginet, Valencia, who worked in the tradition of Valencian artists much the same as Sorolla.

Fran's work also shows that she is an admirer of Fabian Perez, who is an artist born in Buenos Aires but currently residing in Los Angeles and is known for his paintings of the tango and for his portraits.

Perhaps Fran is drawn to painting because she was always told that her ancestor was Sir John Millais, an English painter and illustrator who was one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and perhaps most famous for his epic painting of Ophelia (1852) at the Tate Britain, London.

"The family thinks that Sir John Millais is my ancestor because my mother's maiden name is Millais," explain the Benitachell artist. "However," she continues, "I have little proof of that!!"

You will be able to meet Fran and admire and purchase her beautiful paintings at the Art Market on Thursday, 16th of March.


Angela Rich is a Javea-based grandmother who retired from North Wales 16 years ago. Since that time she has come into her creative talents in the most unusual and surreal way.

 According to Angela, "One morning, about 6 years ago, I began to write my shopping list when my hand began shaking uncontrollably. I thought I was having a stroke or a fit," she announces.

"When it stopped, I had written strange words down the paper. Within a couple of weeks I was doing drawings," explains Angela. Shocked and surprised by her unconscious talents, she searched the internet to see if anyone else had experienced a similar event in their lives.

She found an artist Andre Masson (1924), who according to Wikipedia became associated with surrealism, and was one of the most enthusiastic employers of automatic drawing, making a number of automatic works in pen and ink. Masson experimented with altered states of consciousness with artists such as Antonin Artaud, Michel Leiris, Joan Miró, Georges Bataille, Jean Dubuffet, and Georges Malkine, who were neighbors of his studio in Paris.

Realising that her artworks were indeed a form of art that were recognised by many artists throughout history, she continued to explore her new found gift.

"Everyone who sees my drawings says they are amazing," admits Angela. "I am not in any type of trance but my hand moves automatically."

You will meet Angela Rich at the ART MARKET event on Thursday, March 16th at the Javea Church Centre only a few meters away from the regular Thursday market in Javea.

"I can demonstrate it any time," continues Angela. "I have no idea where it came from. but at 60 years of age it's not something you expect but it is a real gift. I love it!"



Georgie Poulariani, originally from Georgia (ex Soviet Union) has lived in Spain for 10 years. Originally, a businessman, sitting behind a computer he came across his talent in a very unusual way.

REPORT BY Paula Boulos

Whilst in the garden Georgie saw the results of expanding foam - the form and different shapes it had created sparked curiosity.  This led to his intrigue of materials and the prospect of creating objects with the use of his hands.

With his newfound creativity and fascination in different materials, Georgie immediately began experimenting. He started working with clay, fiberglass and eventually metal, with every piece hand made and welded. As a result, he has produced extremely beautiful and intricate sculptures.

"I started to create with my hands 2-3 years ago. I have tried different materials including clay figures, fiberglass and metals. I find metal the most challenging especially steel," Georgie explains.

When questioned on the subject matter and if there are influences such as political, social or economical factors, contributing to his artwork Georgie responds, "an idea comes into my head and I make it. There is no connection or factors. I think about it, make it and I constantly try different things,"

Since becoming a sculptor, Georgie has found himself consumed by art "everything I see is art’ he says, "everything has to do with art, we are surrounded by it here in Benissa, Calpe, Javea…"

As a recent sculptor, Georgie is constantly stepping out of his comfort zone with different materials and evolving as an artist,  "I don’t know if I have found myself yet so I may change my style."

Georgie has a beautiful gallery and studio in Benissa and exciting projects on the horizon. His aim is to focus solely on his art and to share it with as many people and in as many places as possible.

He is also very excited to be part of the Art Market Project on Thursday, March 16th at the Church Centre in Javea. Come to the Art Market and meet this savvy sculptor!