More From the Algarve

We have found that hotels with cafes at their swimming pool will often allow you to use the pool if you buy lunch, so we often search for one.  We found a fantastic one overlooking the Mediterranean in Majorca. We weren’t so lucky in Lagos.We found a pool on the roof of a building that housed a supermarket on the ground floor and went up to check it out but it was dark and seemed just a little weird so we continued our search. We finally found a kind of municipal pool and swam but it was very stark and bland, including the snack area. Maybe it was a leftover from Portugal’s Communist days. On the way home Amy spotted a Chinese restaurant. It was amazing, this restaurant could have been transplanted from the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Everything was familiar, the menus looked familiar, the tables and chairs looked the same as our neighborhood place, the only thing different was the Portuguese on the menu. We ordered familiar things and, when they arrived, they looked just like they did at home. The only difference was that nothing tasted the same. It became clear that the dishes were prepared to appeal to the Portuguese, just as they are adapted to the American palate in New York.

This is the view from our little balcony in Lagos on Portugal’s Algarve coast. I was in the shade doing the other drawing but the August sun beat down on the balcony so I couldn’t sit there long. Sometimes I would draw from inside with the slider open just to get some shade. The buildings in the foreground looked like they were destined for urban renewal. I’m not sure whether anyone lived in them. The rooster, and some other animals lived in a fenced-in portion of one of these structures.


I like the idea of drawing the same thing from a number of angles but I have always had a love/hate relationship with this drawing.  I can look at it sometimes and really like it and then I can look at it differently and think that there are a lot of disappointing touches like the decrepit wall on top of the center building.


The two clocks really told different time.

I probably should have waited for an issue with drawings from Spain rather than Portugal but here is my only fresco. I always admired Al Hirschfeld’s caricatures and especially the one he did for Man of La Mancha. I tried copying it in oil on the wall of my room in The Bronx.


My friend, Bob DeChiara, would let me use his studio apartment on 15th and Third when he was on vacation and it really helped make me know I wanted to live in Manhattan. Anyway I told Bob about the mural I had done behind the closet door so no one could see it and he invited me to do one in his apartment. This is it. It was 1967 or 1968. Bob doesn’t live there any more but he says the building super told him that for years it would still bleed through no matter how many coats of white paint were put over it. He thinks there is still a Man of La Mancha ghost that appears on the wall of that apartment.


The apartment had a tiny windowless kitchen so I also did a “trompe l’oeil” window on the kitchen wall. It really looked nice and I painted it partly open. I intended to paint a scene through it but wound up suggesting they put a photo of a scene behind the window. I didn’t think I could pull off a landscape.




Al Hirschfeld’s original. I can’t tell how many Nina’s were in it.

 Close Ups

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All material copyright 2008 Neil Borrell