Symbolism in (self) portraits and landscape

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

Art week - program

Art week - program. Before you start your art week in Lubrin, you will meet Gerlo Beernink via a zoom meeting, you will get to know his lessons, you will receive your first assignments and the extensive handout to prepare.

Day 1

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

14.00 A walk through the village with a beautiful view of Lubrin from El Castllico on the hill.

17.00 At the end of the afternoon 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 provided by our host Simone. A great opportunity to get further acquainted with the other participants.


Day 2

9.00 Explanation of this week's program. Some tips for photographing in the market.

11.00 Taking portraits at the weekly market in Lubrin on Wednesday. A first exercise. The market stalls are scattered in the narrow streets and village square.

Communal lunch at noon in the village square.

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 in one of the restaurant in Lubrin. The rest of the evening is free.


Day 3

Breakfast at bar Plaza or you grab a yogurt from the fridge "at home" and spread a sandwich with honey from the local honey factory.

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

You are free for the rest of the day. You can do something yourself, sea, beach, walking. Or quietly read a book somewhere. And of course prepare yourself for tonight's presentation.

18.00 Presentation and discussion of the first assignment and any free work. Enjoying together and looking back on the beautiful moments of the past days. A new assignment for the coming days. 

Dinner in Spanish style at Casa Arte.


Day 4

Breakfast at bar Plaza.

9.00 Lecture on Landscape and Portrait.

Morning 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 Spanish style at Casa de Arte.


Day 5

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

We leave for Almeria, to the La Chanca neighborhood and follow in Perez's footsteps. Portrait and street photography. We'll go to the market in Vera via a beautiful mountain route. Discover the majestic landscape. There will be ample opportunity for photography.

Lunch in Almeria.

The afternoon is up to you.

Almeria has beautiful beaches. Visit the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park, the Arab fortress Alcazaba de Almería or the Catedral de la Encarnición de Almería.

Or get to work on the assignment or your own work.

For dinner we will go to La Alamendro in La Mela (

Day 6

9.00 Presentation on Landscape in the studio

10.00 Tour of the Tabernas Desert with views of Spanish Hollywood. A 35 minutes hike from Oasys Minihollywood

Lunch on the way back or in Lubrin.

Self-scheduling and preparation of tonight's presentation.

18.00 Presentation of assignments and own work with snacks and drinks.

Dinner in La Tasca


Day 7

8.00 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.

We will 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.

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

17.00 Late afternoon presentation of the work made by the participants during this week. 

Final evening. Communal dinner with authentic paella made by Marialuz.

Day 8

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



Lodging: 7 nights at Casa de Arte di Simone

Welcome drink and tapaz

Classes by Gerlo Beernink and personal coaching.


Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Guided tours pueblos blancos

Walk nature reserve Gabo di Gata

Presentation with drinks and tapaz

Not included

Flying tickets, car rental and gas


Travel information:

Fly from Amsterdam to Almeria with Transavia

Book a car to travel to Lubrin in 1hours with Sunny cars.

Be smart, share a car.


Lubrin, Spain

Gerlo Beernink

Host Simone Henken

max 10 participants

Pets allowed


If you don't need lodging because you live in Spain and you want to skip meals and tours you can just book the training.

295,- For the training including extensive hand-out, photographic material and presentation with tapas, incl vat. 

The training consists of three days.
In the morning you will attend classes. In the afternoon there are personal coaching sessions and early evening are presentations.


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