17 C SPANISH SACRED BAROQUE


"It is because Karla cares so much that she was so worried about how her lectures would work in the new virtual environment - well she needn't have.  Her Sacred Baroque lecture delivered over Zoom was just as engaging and thought-provoking as any other I have attended.  

In fact, Karla made good use of the technology by going close up on features of the paintings so we could see and learn more about what some of the symbols and icons meant. We otherwise might have missed these details.  She also put paintings side by side so we could compare them and see how different artists tackled the exact same subject, showing us how artists evolved in terms of their skill and to reflect changing trends.  

As always, we saw history through the eyes of the artists and given that many artists she covered were painting at the time of their own pandemic hundreds of years ago - this had a particular piquancy.  

Highly recommended and I can't wait for the next one."

* Christine Wood - Javea

17 c SPANISH SACRED BAROQUE

"As usual, Karla combines history, to explain the context of the times, and the pictorial techniques, to help us better "read" a painting. She talks about the painters' lives, their travels, motivations and influences. 

Altogether, this makes for a very interesting and informative lecture. In this case, the evolution of Spanish baroque religious painting. 

I am looking forward to the next lecture on Spanish baroque profane painting.

Karla is very knowledgeable in Spanish culture and history.

I recommend Karla Darocas teachings"

* Josette Jouas, Denia

Spanish DOGS - History Book


"Well, I must admit that I have never given any though to the representation of dogs in art. As the owner of two Spanish dogs, I will now. 

From prehistoric through to the 20th century, Karla guides us in interpreting the art, and also engages us to understand better the roles that dogs played in daily life.  

Karla writes in an engaging fashion, and brings the subject to life very well. I often judge people based on how they treat their animals; now I’ll be both noticing, and interpreting the dogs I see in art. 

I always enjoy the opportunity to increase my appreciation and understanding of art, and this book has opened a new window for me to look through."

Chris Newkirk * Las Peñitas, Nicaragua

Spanish DOGS - History Book


"There are tons of books on "Dogs", so what makes Karla's book stand out? I would even say, what makes it exceptional?

It is the first book on dogs in Spanish history and culture. The means by which she chooses to present them appeals to me greatly - through artefacts and Spanish Art.

Her time period spans from the time of the Neanderthals to modern times. She speaks of the working dog, the dogs of war and lap dogs. Her illustrations go from religious art to court paintings. We discover famous painters and their relation to dogs (from Goya to Picasso).

Her book is very detailed.

What makes it interesting to read are the many stories and anecdotes that accompany the information. Karla, with her artistic background, leads us into a painting and draws our attention to something we would not necessarily see ourselves, and explains the "why and the how".

I strongly recommend Karla's book for those who love dogs, Spanish history and culture, and/or Spanish art. Her writing style is easy to follow."

* Josette Jouas, Denia

Spanish DOGS - History Book


"Spanish Dogs is a fabulous journey. The author, Karla Darocas, had me look at dogs in Spain from the Stone Age through to Modern Day. Along the way she showed me cave drawings, artefacts, pictures and portraits from great masters, depicting man's interaction with dogs. The result is a fascinating adventure with dogs intertwined with Spanish history and humans. The sad part was the shocking realisation that in many parts of Spain, dogs are not protected and are often badly treated.

This book tells of many interesting and diverse facts that I had never considered before like how Egyptians worshipped a dog-like god, Anubis, and how the Roman legions trained dogs to be warriors and wear fighting armour.

It also explained how both the Greeks and the Romans kept small dogs as pets for their children and often buried the pet dog along with the child, enabling them to be together in the afterlife.

I also learned how the Muslim Conquest of Spain introduced the Berber water dogs that would assist them in fishing and bringing in the nets.

I didn’t know that in Spain during the Renaissance, companion dogs were kept as sleeping partners in order to attract the fleas that were common on Catholics who did not wash because they might be mistaken by the Inquisition as a Muslim and tossed in prison.

It was interesting to see what kind of dogs the Spanish Habsburg Kings kept for hunting and how dogs would aid beggars and blind street performers.

Even into the 19th and 20th centuries, dogs took their place in the portraits of famous people.

I found the whole of this book informative and engrossing. I would recommend it to anyone who loves a good read and interesting humanist knowledge."

- Judy Dicken, Scotland

TOLEDO History & architecture in 3 parts


"I attended all three of the Toledo lectures and was glad I did. Although I knew a little about the subject, Karla always brings more depth to the subject and you walk away knowing so much more then you imagined. I love learning about Spanish artists and architects, and this is the class to gain that knowledge. I feel fortunate that Karla is doing Zoom, otherwise I would be too far away physically to attend the classes. I am eager and look forward to attending more lectures. Karla always has a backstory or two that adds so much to the subject she is discussing. I definitely would recommend Karla Darocas as a teacher of all things Spanish."

* Mimi Carrera, Valencia, Spain



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TOLEDO History & architecture in 3 parts


"Goodness! So much information about architecture, art, Toledo... These lectures are a fascinating history of the city. Karla introduced us to many architectural styles and terms, illustrating everything with excellent photographs. I can't wait to see Toledo again after learning so much more about the history and architecture of the city. Karla's lessons are informed organised, and enthusiastic. I absolutely recommend her classes."

* Denise Bayes, Barcelona


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TOLEDO History & architecture in 3 parts



" I recently attended a 3 part class about Toledo, and its history and architecture and its Cathedral.

Why I took this class is difficult to sum up in a few words. Basically, I decided to take the course because I knew Toledo was a special, unique place but did not really know exactly why. I had visited Toledo and yet really knew very little about it. 

The teacher, Karla, led me on a trail of historical adventure through the high points of the city and that really helped put everything into perspective. I think what surprised me the most was the layers and layers of history that she revealed.  

What I found especially interesting was how things were built up and upon by the changing cultures and people in power. There was an incredible wealth required to do that much restoration. It surprised me to discover just how much I had missed on my trip or had looked at with out understanding what I was looking at. 

The course was totally fascinating with just the right balance of information and photos. I particularly like the group chat after when we could clarify any points or express ideas with other course mates and Karla. I am hooked and look forward to taking some other classes! 

I am impressed by the teacher's own passion for the subject and her ability to bring an event from the past back to life with humour so that you get it! 

I would happily recommend taking a class. "

* Rhonda Jager, Switzerland

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TOLEDO CATHEDRAL


"I just attended the SpainLifestyle lecture on Zoom about the Toledo cathedral. Karla gave us a very privileged guided tour of the cathedral, which is one of the most ornate cathedrals I have visited. Her knowledge of its history and architecture (inside and out) is immense. Karla's teaching style is easy and natural without elitist, hard to understand language. I would recommend you try her lessons."
* Josette Jouas, Denia



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Karla Darocas as Educator

 










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TOLEDO CATHEDRAL


"I just attended the lesson on the Cathedral of Toledo. I learnt to appreciate enormously the beautiful art portrayed in the Cathedral, the history behind every facet..all very interesting particularly when described in Karla's inimitable enthusiastic and knowledgeable way. Karla always puts her vast knowledge and enthusiasm into every class or lecture. I absolutely 1000% recommend her lessons."

* Diana Santiago, Xàbia

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International Gothic Collection in Valencia Museum


"This lecture was a real eyeopener into an area of art that is often overlooked. As Karla said, many of us walk past these works in galleries. However, when we discovered the many skills that different guilds brought together in these works, it was fascinating. Karla showed us what to look for in the early Italian influenced works, both in churches and in galleries. Later she explained that the Flemish influence that followed changed the style. As well as showing us many works, Karla explained the processes used to create them. 
Karla talks with enthusiasm and shares many interesting images. I Absolutely recommend her teaching and lectures."

* Denise Bayes - Barcelona

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International Gothic Collection in Valencia Museum


Studying 14th and 15th century  International Gothic art through retablos was extremely interesting. I had never realized that so many people, working in guilds, were involved to create one retablo. They were truly artists. And to think that 99% of these creations from this era were destroyed or sold! Karla not only presents us with the artistic side to these works, but also the historical side : the social, economic, political context of the time; why things came about and how they evolved.
- Josette Jouas, Denia

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Sorolla: THE NAKED TRUTH of Academicism, Social Realism & Costumbrismo


"Another fascinating lecture from Karla on Sorolla's work. It was fascinating to learn about the need to produce popular regional paintings to make money while developing his professional reputation through social realism paintings. As Karla talked us through the paintings, I learned about the links between the sciences and arts in the period. As the world adjusted to the discoveries of Darwin, artists began to focus on naturalism. Sorolla walked a tightrope between this new world and the traditions shown in his costumbrismo works. Another fascinating talk leaving us with much to reflect on." - Denise Bayes, Barcelona

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Sorolla: THE NAKED TRUTH of Academicism, Social Realism & Costumbrismo


"Karla's lecture are so full of the historical context of Spain. I enjoyed the Costumbrista style masterpieces of Sorolla. His academic work was beautiful too and when you keep in mind of his young age when he was painting these works, amazing! The historical philosophies of Spain and Europe at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century comes to life in the absolute master works of the great and unique Sorolla. He formed a unique style with inspirations from master painters from Velazquez to the modern era of Monet." 

-Trudi van Dorp, Benitachell

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Sorolla: THE NAKED TRUTH of Academicism, Social Realism & Costumbrismo


"Fascinating lecture by Karla. I almost felt like an insider to the paintings presented, most of which I had not seen before. I became fascinated with the "Costumbrista" era of Sorolla's Spanish paintings. I absolutely loved them. I appreciate the way Karla presents the information. Her knowledge gives you a wonderful perspective and you are grasping for more. I feel fortunate I ran across Karla on the internet, because living in Valencia, I didn't have the opportunity to "attend" her classroom sessions until the Pandemic, when she started on Zoom. In situations like this I always go back to my favorite Haiku: Barn's burnt down -- now, I can see the moon. - Mizuta Masahide Muchas gracias Karla, can't wait for the next one." 

-Mimi Carrera, Valencia city

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Sorolla: THE NAKED TRUTH of Academicism, Social Realism & Costumbrismo


"I thoroughly enjoyed the lecture. The detail and amount of information you covered was enormous. As you know I am a Sorolla fan and have painted many of his works, but do enjoy the early paintings. They have a different style and show what a talented painter he was. I look forward to your next lecture." 

- Best wishes, James, Javea

Sorolla: INTO THE LIGHT of Impressionism & Luminism


"With a keen eye for details, Karla makes the paintings of Sorolla come alive. This time we were able to capture the action, the expression of extreme movements and the joy in the making of a painting, using vigorous brush stroking, but mixing this with dabs/ little blobs light. What a unique style Sorolla developed and his work became known all over the world. And how great to admire his naturalistic and impressionist style with themes from our own Jávea beach, reflecting the sunlight on the water, capturing intimate scenes of the maritime community. Sorolla lets us see the wind, feel the rain and sunshine. Fantastic. Karla teaching style is full of clear information and interaction." 

 -Trudi van Dorp, Benitachell

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Sorolla: INTO THE LIGHT of Impressionism & Luminism


"What a wonderful lecture from Karla this morning! Her understanding of Sorolla, his style, subjects was fascinating to hear. Karla is passionate about this great Spanish painter with his close ties to Javea. The vast array of paintings she used to illustrate his work was greatly appreciated and I finished the lecture feeling able to appreciate the work of this painter better in the future. Many of the pictures used in the lecture are not available to be seen in Spain. I look forward to hearing more from Karla." 

 -Lorna Ainsworth

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Sorolla: INTO THE LIGHT of Impressionism & Luminism


"Fascinating lecture on the progression of Sorolla's style. Loved his mixture of naturalism and Impressionism to create his own Illumination. Karla has a great understanding of his works and you leave the class feeling stimulated. Looking forward to the next one! " 

 -Mimi Carrera, Valencia