Basque houses and villages

My paintings of Basque houses began as portraits of local farmhouses which I chose for their force of character and their role in the community. Traditionally, people in rural parts of the Basque Country are known by the name of their house, or etxea in Basque, and their family home is an important part of their identity. 

My own family home, Peikonia, is an 18th century house on the main street of the village of Ostabat, or Izura in Basque. Ostabat for me sums up the essence of a Basque village. In medieval times, it was an important staging post on the pilgrims' route to Santiago de Compostela. Today's modern pilgrims climb the hill past my house on their way to Saint Jean Pied de Port.