Artist in an Algarve residence

Phyllis Calvin Thomas lives in the bucolic surroundings of Petaluma, Northern California, yet for the last six years she has come to the Algarve for a month or more. Staying at the artist’s residence in the grounds of Galeria Côrte-Real in Paderne, her visits form part of an annual journey to explore and paint Europe’s natural attractions.

Selecting different regions and different seasons, she spends time in France, Italy, Spain and Portugal. Her landscape paintings of the Algarve reflect the end of winter, the start of spring and the height of summer.

Working directly from nature, she explains: “Being out of doors is the most rewarding method for me as I can capture the colourful richness of the scene.”

Her favourite tool is a palette knife. “It dominates my work,” she says.

“It frees me from focusing on too much detail and moves the paint rapidly with a lively texture.”

Despite the spontaneity of her work, every location is recognisable, picturing tranquil places along the coast, the fields and hills near Silves and the vast plains of the Alentejo.

She is an itinerant artist on the move but before she leaves each location, some paintings are specially selected by the galleries where she stays. Others make it back to California to be seen at solo exhibitions, collectives and art fairs in the USA. Her current show, entitled ‘The Spirit of Adventure’, can be seen at the California Art Club, San Francisco Bay. Additionally, a vibrant exhibition of her paintings has been mounted at Galeria Côrte-Real on the outskirts of Paderne.

Phyllis Calvin Thomas is an associate artist with Oil Painters of America.

Côrte-Real has a pop-up gallery in the centre of Carvoeiro, above the estate agent, Fine & Country.

The main gallery is signposted from Boliqueime, Ferreiras and Paderne. It is open Thursday to Sunday, from 11am until 5pm.

912 737 762 |

Photo: Painting by Phyllis Calvin Thomas