Symbolism in landscape and (self) portraits

Art Classes

Attend the art classes of Gerlo Beernink about symbolism in portraiture and landscape combined with the wonderful nature and the rich Spanish culture.

It's an Art Week on a inspiring location in Spain, Andalusie to inspire and to enrich you. Enjoy good food, have interesting conversations, make new friends and connect with the locals.

Learn and explore about symbolism in portraits and landscapes in painting and photo's.

You'll go home full of new idea's and insights.

Don't forget to bring your camera. Even if it is your phone.

Symbolism in (self) portraits

The (self-)portrait changed significantly during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Our understanding of the individual, body, and soul changed by advances in sociology, psychology, genetics, philosophy, urbanisation and not to mention the medical world.
One's soul and appearance, which once seemed fixed and controllable, are now subject to various influences.

Developments in the Renaissance have made us look at each other and the world differently. Artists and photographers explore issues of gender, race, age, health, landscape or the body, trying to bring multiple, complex identities together. In addition, the social media revolution in the 21st century allows people to present themselves directly in front of an audience of millions.

Everybody has become a photographer, model, editor, publisher, and spectator. As a result, the visual experience and representation have changed significantly in our contemporary visual culture. As a result, interest in (self) portraits and the changing environment has grown, resulting in works of remarkable diversity and complexity.

The (self) portrait and landscape is bent in new directions as if broken through a prism.

Titian, Portrait The Venus Of Urbino

A hallmark of the Renaissance is the desire to be realistic.

In the Post-digital era, social media is indispensable. It forms a parallel world that (almost) replaces the real world. We can no longer always determine what is real and what is fake.

Alternative facts and dream worlds present themselves as reality, where we enter into a relationship with personalities entirely formed by the computer. We look at fashion models who were never born. The promise of intimacy that the viewer expects or experiences is, of course, only an illusion. It is up to the artist to realize that illusion.

The (self-)portrait and landscape says a lot about the era in which we live. It mirrors our desires and fears. Furthermore, with far-reaching image editing techniques, we can ward off decay and create an optimal world in which we seem to remain forever young in our glass sky scrapers high above and far away from nature.

Gerlo Beernink

Gerlo Beernink is an independent visual artist. He studied mathematics and physics at the University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Since 1981, he has been working as a photojournalist for the trade unions, the Groene Amsterdammer, Time-life, and Der Spiegel. His work has been awarded many prizes, such as the World Press Award and the Zilveren camera.
The history of photography has his particular interest. He also lectures in that specific field at Emerson College, Boston, USA.

Gerlo Beernink

Photography - Art program

Before you begin your art week in Lubrin you will meet Gerlo Beernink through a zoom meeting, get acquainted with his classes, receive your first assignments and the comprehensive handout to prepare you.


Day 1 Friday January 5

Arrival in Lubrin. Make yourself comfortable in your room. Get some rest after a long journey. You will be welcomed with the famous tapas and cava.

Explanation of this week's program.

Then a walk through the village with stunning views of Lubrin from El Castillico on the hill.

At the end of the day you will have the opportunity to present your home assignments to the group. After discussion and feedback, you will be given the assignment for the next day.

We conclude the day with a Spanish-style dinner at Casa de Arte. A great opportunity to get further acquainted with the other participants.


Day 2 Saterday, January 6

8:00 a.m. Breakfast at Casa de Arte "home" with tostada and almazara from the local olive factory honey from the local honey factory.

9 a.m. Lecture on Landscape and Portrait.

In the morning a tour to the pueblos blanco's Turre, Mojacar and Carbonera. In Mojacar we discover the authentic town flattered against the mountains and then take a walk along the beach and enjoy the view and a drink at beach bar Juliana.

We drive on to Carbonera where we have a delicious lunch at Bellamar. Especially the little squids are recommended. Butter soft with a crispy coating.

The ride back is via the Karst mountains Yesos de Sorbas.

The rest of the afternoon is free to spend.

19.30 Discussion of the day , possibly with presentation of photos.

Dinner in bar La Plaza.


Day 3 Sunday, January 7

8.00 a.m. Breakfast at Casa de Arte.

9.00 a.m. Lecture on the history of the portrait with many examples from art history and photography. We study what a portrait in a landscape can be.

You are "free" for the rest of the day. You can do something yourself, sea, beach, walking. Or study to read your reader. Or prepare yourself for tonight's presentation.

6 p.m. Presentation and discussion of the first assignment. Enjoying together and looking back on the wonderful moments of the past days. A new assignment for the coming days. 

Dinner at Casa Arte.


Day 4 Monday, January 8

8:00 a.m. breakfast Casa de Arte

Short briefing on the work of Spanish photographer Carlos Pérez Siquier who has lived in Almeria all his life and created a very inspiring series on the working-class neighborhood of La Chanca.

9.30 We leave for the Ibáñez Museum in Olula del rio where the work of Carlos Pérez SiquierAlmeria hangs. Here we can see the work of the master himself. Then we drive on to Almeria, to the neighborhood of La Chanca and follow in his footsteps. Portrait and street photography. There will be ample opportunity for photography.

Lunch in Almeria.

The afternoon is up to you. Presentation of photos.

Dinner in Spanish style at Casa de Arte.


Day 5 Tuesday, January 9

8 a.m. Breakfast at bar La Plaza

Taking portraits at the weekly market in Lubrin on Wednesday where the market stalls are scattered in the narrow streets and village square.

Communal lunch at noon on the village square at bar La Plaza.

15.00 In the afternoon there is an opportunity to photograph in the beautiful photo studio under the guidance of Gerlo and Simone. Or you can work on your photo assignment.

Dinner is at one of the restaurants in Lubrin.


Day 6 Wednesday, January 10

8:00 a.m. Breakfast at bar Plaza.

9.00 a.m. Presentation on Landscape

10.00 am Trip to the Tabernas Desert with views of Spanish Hollywood. A 35-minute hike from Oasys Minihollywood

Lunch on the way back or in Lubrin.

Afternoon: Self-division and preparation of tonight's presentation.

6 p.m. Presentation of assignments and own work with snacks and drinks.

8 p.m. Dinner at Casa de Arte.


Day 7 Thursday, January 11

8.00 am Breakfast at bar Plaza.

9 a.m. A beautiful trip to the Calar Alto observatory. The observatory is located at an altitude of 2200 meters. The highest peak in the region. Nearby is La Merendera with fantastic views. Bring warm clothes, it is cold at that altitude.

We have lunch on the way. A well-stocked cooler goes with us. 

Back to Lubrin through the mountains of Sierra de Los Filabres, via Seron.

Preparing for the final presentation and perhaps already preparing your suitcase for tomorrow.

5 p.m. Final presentation. 

Final evening. Restaurant La Montagne.

Day 8 Saturday, January 12

After breakfast, it's time to head back home.
Learned a lot, experienced a lot, full of new ideas and inspiration on the way to new photographic work!


  1. Lodging: 7 nights at Casa de Arte. Based on a two-person room. Extra charge for private room 25,-  pn.

  2. Welcome drink and tapaz.

  3. Classes and personal coaching by Gerlo Beernink.

  4. Hand-out

  5. Breakfast, lunch, dinner

  6. Guided tours pueblos blancos

  7. Walk nature reserve Tavernas desert

  8. Visit Museum Ibáñez in Olula del rio

  9. Final presentation with drinks and tapaz.

Not included

  1. Flight

  2. Car rental

  3. Insurances

  4. Diner at la Montagne

  5. 1 drink is included with lunch and dinner after that it is at your own expense.

Travel information:

Fly from Amsterdam to Alicante with Transavia.

Book a car to travel to Lubrin with Sunny cars.

Be smart, share a car.




Lubrin, Spain

Gerlo Beernink

Host Simone Henken

max 8 participants

Pets allowed

1850,- incl vat

If you don't need lodging and want to skip meals and tours, you can also book just the course.

1250,- incl. VAT

The course consists of several parts:

  • welcome with drinks and tapaz
  • lectures by Gerlo
  • extensive handout
  • presentations of your assignments
  • personal coaching by Gerlo and Simone,
  • guided work in the studio,
  • discussionsfinal evaluation


The master of cubism and creativity: “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child”.

Pablo Picasso

When you say portraits in Spain you say Picasso, Dali, Pérez Siquier and Chema Madoz. 

Photo: Chemo Madoz

Photo: Pérez Siquier