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December02

Christmas message – A newsletter and retrospective glance to 2016

We wish all  family, friends, colleagues and visitors  a warm festive greeting, a huge happy Christmas  and prosperity and health for the New Year!

Feliz Natal e Ano Novo 

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…..and now to a retrospective look at activities and
events at Sozo Arts 2016 and exciting new courses for 2017…

2016 was a year of consolidation building on our past art courses of painting and wine and photography on the Silver Coast, with an eye to creating some new courses for 2017.  Most notably  we sold our place in the UK eventually…and bought an apartment in Lisbon. We have now truly Brexited to coin an overused and ambiguous expression!  This is our third anniversary year of living full time in Portugal.

We made some artful and interesting property additions here at Casa Oasis in 2016.  An amazing pair of   bespoke flower steel gates (Steve Jones Steel Central Portugal) which  make a grand new welcome to our place. We  have rebuilt  walls and trellising to pretty up the garden and in the Summer constructed (thanks to Tuindeco Central Portugal) our first timber built shed, to store our ever growing supply of art materials and canvases.  Our plan for 2017 is to restore the floors of the cottage and add some safer step landscaping into the gardens.

It would be desirable  to expand accommodation here as Sozo Arts can only offer  the studio apartment to  guests, so we are hoping in some shape or form to develop accommodation and work this  into business plans over the coming years. Currently, visitors stay either in the studio apartment we have on site,  or hotels in nearby Sao Martinho do Porto. We have had the fortune and  benefit of architect Peter Ireland´s  input on expansion here. Peter and Liz  visited us in the Summer with their family on an arts retreat.

This year was short on personal creative time, but I (Samantha) did manage to produce a short ballet film on location, in  a warehouse in Figueira do Foz, titled ‘Not for Sale’ with  visiting professional ballerina Sadie Black from US. It would of course be wonderful to have either the time or the money to make more of these works, but it was a miracle indeed that this one worked out at all, and I was really fortunate to work with an outstanding artist highlighting the theme of human trafficking.  As usual I continue to enjoy photography, dress making, painting when I can, ( I have two burlesque women on canvas requiring a finishing off process in the new timber built shed!) hosting the art holidays,  and teaching English online to students globally.   In between work time, Kit created both a painting and a  time based media film of the art process with a new upgraded Canon camera and filmed the ballet work previously mentioned. He has extended his photography and film portfolio this year, and thanks to Nigel Harper and Cesar for their professional photography mentoring and  input. Kit  continues to direct and  host Sozo Arts holidays and teaches Vodafone (LTE) online about 1 week a month.  The Christmassy  image I attach of Salir do Porto was a manually created night time shot by Kit. You can see the ‘super  moon’ rising here, November 14  2016.

In the advent of both Kit and I joining Canto do Rola´s retreat week in the Summer, led  by Alan Pallister, talks by Richard Goodwin, we found ourselves describing  how the creative arts  in partnership with the church here in Portugal. This was subsequently filmed for a religious programme, shown on one of  the mainstream Portuguese channels.

So we are both very busy…it would be our dream to give up the day job if we could, and concentrate on offering more arts and doing  more of our own personal creative projects, but for the time being we just get on and spin the plates as you do.

We have enjoyed our trips to Lisbon this year, and been inspired by the area of Alges and Belem. Alges will be a great second base for us for in the Winter months and hopefully somewhere we can charge the creative batteries for the next season.

Sitting here with pen to paper, we are currently expanding our creative holiday programme for 2017.  Firstly with  a new Lisbon City of Lights photography course starting end March.  Additionally,  a  new Painting and Pottery course  on the Silver Coast April and September. In total, we hope to offer 12 course dates  for next year.  Please view these at  www.sozoarts.org website tram-cinematic

It remains for me to say this time in Portuguese,  Feliz Natal e ano novo 🙂

Samantha and Kit Jennings

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