This idyllic art gallery set in the heart of Tavira is definitely somewhere I would recommend to all fellow art admires especially if you are looking for something special to take home as this gallery has a wide variety of works which I am sure will please most of its visitors.

I had the pleasure of speaking with the owner of the gallery and artist, Karen D’Oliveira, who is an art connoisseur especially when it comes to selecting the best art and that is exactly what this gallery promises. “Tavira D’Artes aims to support and popularise local, national and international artists and their art”, additionally the gallery is open Tuesday to Friday from 11am to 6pm and on Saturdays they are open 10am to 1pm. They are closed to the public on Mondays and bank holidays but if you would like to request a private viewing that can be done on a Monday too.

Karen opened the gallery six years ago and said: “I didn’t particularly open the gallery just for me it really came about from meeting artist, Fonseca Martins guided me, he was my mentor at the beginning of painting and we have been painting together for 10 years now. He really supported me in making the decision to open the gallery and I wanted to bring something special to Tavira as there were no galleries in the East of the Algarve.”

A passion for art

Karen has always been passionate about art “I am the youngest of five sisters and we were brought up surrounded by arts and crafts and we can all embroider, sew, knit, crochet because that is how our parents brought us up”. Karen has lived in Tavira for 25 years, originally, she was a beautician which is why she specialises in painting the human form. “Karen’s art conveys a natural yet contemporary vintage style, perfect for capturing beautiful subtleties; form and posture, character and mood and the complexities of light and shadow as they fall across her subjects.” Karen has two styles, a more modern style and then she has a classic style. Specialising in oil, she has painted for years at home prior to opening the gallery. Karen is an extremely talented artist and I personally love her style; my favourite collection is called Primavera. She told me how the collection came about: “I paint people and Fonseca Martins paints flowers; we came up with this idea that I would paint the women and he would add the flowers and we have worked together to make these pieces. We did a collection of them and there is only two left. We will see if these go and then decide if we continue the collection.”

A selection of artists

Tavira D’Artes focuses on a mix of artists of all different nationalities, including Portuguese, Swiss, French, Polish and Spanish. “I am in a very fortunate position to choose the best and I believe that I have and because they are professional and so good, I can’t ever lower that standard.” Her resident artists include: Fonseca Martins, Lotti Klink, Sylvie Paulic, Flávio Horta, Olivier de Pannemaecker, Juan Galán, Angelina Maia, Miguel Redonde, José Faria, Dagoberto Silva, Véronique Clanet and Stela Barreto with her latest two additions being Andrés Moreno and Magdalena Morey.

“The oldest member of the gallery is Fonseca Martins; he is Portuguese and he is a very well-known artist in the Algarve and he is our local resident artist. His style varies, he has got his classics and he is known for his windows and his flowers and he uses acrylics, oils and water colours, he is a very versatile artist. He is also does more modern big brush stroke pieces and we have one that is of Portuguese Poet, Fernando Pessoa. Fonseca Martins is scattered around the gallery and he has been here since the day we opened.” His paintings look like photographs which are incredible and I was told his Tavira architecture is painted from memory.

Lotti Kilink is an abstract artist from Switzerland, her pieces have so much texture, “she uses bits of wood, sand, ash, paint, paper, everything goes on her paintings”. We have French artist, Sylvie Paulic, with a classic oil painting style which is just superb. Then we have a Portuguese artist from Alentejo called Flávio Horta, “he specialises in local costume so we have a Shepherd painting and normally his figures have tattoos but those pieces are so popular so they are sold. His detail is amazing and is classic but with a modern touch to it.” “We have gold and silver sculptures by Angelina Maia, this is made of card believe it or not, it’s one big strip that is worked and worked to get this effect which is absolutely stunning and they are all dotted around the gallery.”

“A few months ago, Spanish artist Andrés Moreno, contacted me and just sometimes it catches your eye and he is nowhere else in the Algarve and we are both delighted. He does amazing beach scenes with a touch of urban in the background and all this wonderful abstract at the front. He always has these wonderful abstract colours and collage as well. His two collections have completely sold out but next week there is a new collection coming in.”

The second newest artist to the gallery is Magdalena Morey from Spain, “which has been such a success and she hasn’t even been with us a year yet and we are onto her next collection. She does figurative paintings and her seascapes and she always use real gold leaf and her seascapes are actually of the Algarve coastline and again sold out so next week we have three more coming in which is great. With the Figurative paintings, she uses acrylics, like I said the gold leaf and pastels, so it’s definitely mixed media but the colours are just superb.”

Small art pieces

Lastly, they have small art pieces for tourists, “there are Tavira doors painted by Miguel and again loads of texture there.” Then there are the “bread and butter of the gallery, we call them the Beach Babes and they are for fun which is from a local Portuguese artist, I must have sold 100 at least.”

Karen explained that “my taste is quite generic and some galleries have a particular taste whereas I like to deal with a lot of different people of different nationalities. This year has been the best year for the gallery and I have sent a lot of our pieces to America this year, Texas, Seattle, California, Sweden, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland so every week they are going all over the world.

For more information about all the artists and their work or to purchase any artwork, please see which offers artworks in all styles and sizes. Tavira D’Artes ships all over the world and they can also get the pieces framed for you. You can also email Karen D’Oliveira at Similarly, you can follow the gallery on social media at @taviradartes on Facebook and tavira.dartes on Instagram.