An Algarve winter - Roma Markov’s exhibition on display at Galeria Côrte-Real in Paderne

An Algarve winter – Roma Markov’s exhibition on display at Galeria Côrte-Real in Paderne

Between Albufeira and Armação de Pera, Praia do Evaristo is the subject of Roma Markov’s grand-scale painting, now on display at Galeria Côrte-Real in Paderne.
At this time of year Evaristo’s cove is tranquil, nestled below a semi circle of low cliffs. The sea glitters and the sun radiates some warmth. Off-season and visitor-free, the sun-beds have been packed away and the beachside restaurant is closed. An ideal time for Roma Markov, equipped with his easel and canvas chair, to enjoy some plein air painting.
A fresh water course that dries up during the summer splashes its way down towards the sea. Visiting birds such as Dunlin, Ringed and Kentish plovers run along the shoreline and forage in the rocky pools. Close to the cliffs, flocks of Lapwings gather on cultivated fields. Standing sentinel above the golden sands there are the tall stems of Agave Americana.
These Mexican desert dwellers have become naturalised along the Algarve shores throwing up a single candelabra-like inflorescence and flowering just before they die. With a lifespan of up to 30 years, its common name – the century plant – is a gross exaggeration!
Subjected to Atlantic winds, although the stems will topple, the plant produces offsets or ‘pups’ from suckers running at its base. In a final act of parental nurture the plant’s slowly dying leaves offer shelter to its offspring.
Born and brought up in the Algarve, Roma is familiar with all aspects of the local landscape, its flora, fauna and changing seasons. Fascinated by the natural world which he paints with flourishing brushstrokes and naturalistic colours, he is also very knowledgeable about plants.
He points out: “In Mexico the Agave Americana is used to create a potent drink. The flowering stem is cut and as much as 1,000 litres of sap is collected then distilled and turned into mescal.”
He goes on to explain: “A related plant, Agave Azul, is used in a similar way to produce Mexico’s most famous alcoholic brew, tequila. It’s appropriate that in Ancient Greek mythology Agave was the daughter of the King of Thebes and an avid follower of Dionysus, the god of wine, agriculture and the fertility of nature!”
Roma’s love of the Algarve is apparent when you talk with him. Expressed through his paintings, the owners of Galeria Côrte-Real promote his talent and applaud his desire to conserve the Algarve’s wildest places.
“Tourism is an important part of our economy,” he says. “But we must not allow the beauty that visitors come to see to be destroyed by so-called progress. In the winter our cliff tops are verdant and green with shrubs, wild thyme bushes and Umbrella pines. The first rains encourage the growth of statuesque Asphodels sprouting white flowers on tall stalks. Inside every nook and cranny, plant life is beginning to stir after the scorching heat of summer. There is no better time to explore paths and beaches and appreciate the solitude.”
“Saúde! I’ll drink to that!” says Pedro Côrte Real.
Visit Côrte- Real’s new Pop-Up Gallery located above the estate agents ‘Fine and Country,’ close to the beach in the centre of Carvoeiro, Rua do Barranco.
The main gallery ‘Galeria Côrte-Real’ is signposted from Boliqueime, Ferreiras and Paderne. It is open from Thursday to Sunday, 11am to 5pm.
912 737 762 |
Photo: Agave Americana growing beside Praia do Evaristo
By Carolyn Kain