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Ajijic

Wine Seller at the Plaza

If you are not having a great day, sitting at the Ajijic Cultural Plaza will cheer you up.  It’s fun to get a snack or cool drink and just watch what goes by.  There are the usual vendors who have a lot of exciting things and are always showing something new.  People strolling, singing, children playing, and flowers and great foods are a staple.

And then there are the very unique

This man makes a drink called “tuba”.  It’s a fermented coconut wine.  To start with, he climbs to the top of a tall coconut tree and with his machete in hand he slices off a piece of the center growth (the pure sap of the tree) and transfers the liquid into a container.   This liquid gold is  the ingredient he needs to make his drink.  He sets the stage for fermentation. He uses sugar,  yeast and I’m sure other secrets.  It is a short fermentation and is meant to be used quickly, compared to other wines.

He sells his drink from the “bule”.  This one is colored red, most are yellow or tan.

tuba-web

I loved painting him because of his jolly personality.  I don’t know if I captured his sweetness and joy but here he is if you would like to purchase a print.

 

 

Uncategorized

Friendly Dogs of Mexico

big dog
This big guy is on my “to do” list and I can’t wait to paint him.

Dogs can melt your heart.  There are a lot of dogs here–of all breeds and sizes.  Most of the time it’s easy to spot the dogs that are well cared for and have homes.  They are groomed, look healthy and well fed.  Most of these are usually found around their caretakers’ homes or businesses, as in the big dog in the photo above.  If my memory serves me, he belongs to a carpenter and hangs out in the front doorway of the shop every day.

I’ve never run into a dog that has been super hungry or dangerous.  They all sort of hang out in theirO given area with their designated people.  Some make their scheduled rounds to plazas and restaurants and visit the Malecon every day, just in case somebody did not finish their helado or ice cream.

When a dog is hanging around without a home you can tell because they look like they are seekers.   Often kind people temporarily adopt them and make sure they eventually get a permanent home.   Lots of x-pats make it their mission to do this.  They pay for their shots and neutering and move on.  I am impressed.  This kind of work is usually done by  retired couples who may have the property or the means  and the big hearts to do it.  Sometimes single old women  (watch out,  I’m in that bracket) share their time, dollars and compassion. They have clubs and groups and cafes that they go to just to keep the word going.  It’s a system that works.  They connect with public agencies that help.  Sometimes they find adoptees who take the dogs back to the states and keep them there. Their communication networking is astounding.

A local doggie phenomenon here seems to be two-fold:  Midnight wailing of dogs downtown and roof dogs joining in the chorus.  Roof dogs live on the roofs of the brick buildings behind the Ajijic walls.  Just look up and you will see them peering down at you.  This keeps them off the streets and in a friendly family culture.  They guard, sing, and watch from up above.  I’ve never seen anything like it and I’ve grown to really love the “dog” culture here.  So far I’ve never seen a bad event.. That doesn’t mean it does not exist, I have just never witnessed one.

Somewhere in my “to do” list, I have a chihuahua roof dog looking down and me and growling fearlessly.  I need to find that photo as he is painting #2 to do.  So many dogs, so little time.

flora and fauna, thoughts behind the work

Painting saves my life

I had an accident on the carretera a few weeks ago (the main drag) and damaged my knee.  I now have a few weeks of pain under my belt: a leg brace, a walker and general all around disability that I am ready to leave behind.  I want this to go away but it’s not happening yet.

In the meantime I am still working on my Spanish, I go to class when I am up to it and I try to fumble through as much speaking as I can.  It’s getting better.  Painting makes everything fell better.  It’s my comfort zone.  If I am not feeling any pain I can paint– if I have enough energy.  If I can speak a few words to my friends and neighbors en espanol,  it makes me feel like I’m getting something done.  I have amazing friends and family.  That makes all the difference in the world.

pink flowers-web

I am painting flowers and sketching them almost on a daily basis.

I am posting to my POD sites online pretty regularly.  I’ve got two major sites I’m working with and my almost daily Facebook postings keep me in touch with my friends here in Mexico and also in the states.  I am corresponding with the art community here and online.  I love people and they are holding me up almost on a daily basis.

The fall has been very hard on my psyche and the recovery is very slow.  Cracked bones don’t heal quickly and it’s tough being temporarily disabled.  Mostly it’s the trauma of the event that can be depressing.  I try to not think about it because it’s so scary.   I am grateful for my internal time table that pushes me to produce so much art.  It’s not every day in your life that you can be motivated to paint and draw.  Only since I have been in Mexico can I actually do it and not just think about it.   I have the vision of painting the people here, their simple daily lives and the work they do.

Ever since I can remember I have had an obsession to document my little life, from sketchbooks, to articles, to letters, to greeting cards.  It never really goes anywhere except to realize that it’s a part of me and who I am.  I am learning to accept it.

This recording of events may be silly and useless to lots of people, but it has been my way of coping with good and bad happenings.  It is what it is: so if I can turn it into something that others can gain any hope or encouragement from, I’ll just continue to do it and then forget about it, and move on.

In the meantime, the work is accumulating and I am healing.

Ajijic, people

4 Musicians in Mexico, painting completed

Link to purchase my painting

3musicians--th

These musicians can be heard in various venues around Ajijic.  Their music is very pleasant and rich.  I love the combination of instruments. They come in and do their thing while people enjoy, converse and eat.  I noticed that generally people don’t seem to listen much…maybe that’s my personal opinion.  But I loved the mix of instruments and above all, the way they communicate with each other; and that comes back to us, filling the room with music.

Listening to them reminded me of many nights going to little jazz clubs years ago in Los Angeles.  It was so easy to drift into the  music and lose your daily woes.  It gave me the opportunity to get lost in the moment where music can allow you to raise your presence from your body to a higher level.

I am happy to say those memories are renewed here in Mexico.

Ajijic, flora and fauna

Jimmy and her orchids

jimmy-wc

 

print available for purchase       Jimmy loves her orchids, her garden, her life. Orchids to her are more of a life-style than a hobby.  So when she invited me to her home to see them, of course I was eager.  It was a treat.  I wish I could remember all the names and things she told me about them, but I can’t.

There are three gardens.   First there is the front garden which you see when you enter through the black metal gates.  Then there is the orchid garden which is an enclosed patio from the house and lastly, there is the fruit orchard and flower bed garden at the back.

 

When you are walking through San Antonio, (an area in Ajijic) you see many sets of metal gates.  You really can’t guess what lies behind them.  There are homes and gardens of unimaginable intrigue and beauty.  I love Mexico for all its surprises

Jimmy is a walking encyclopedia about orchids.  It’s a full time job to keep everything watered and pruned and looking happy and pristine.  I don’t know how she racks up the energy, walking with her cane, to do all of her daily chores to maintain this lifestyle.

 

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Here is the beautiful orchid herself “Jimmy”.  She told me there were no boys in the family and she was the last one, so they named her Jimmy after her father.

When you enter the house, you see a table, a mirror and a collection of hats that she makes.  It’s a welcoming site.

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She makes hats and knits for babies for charity and does much more.

My favoritething she told me was when she went to elementary school in a one-room school house.  She always asked a lot of questions, to the annoyance of adults around her. One day a new teacher told her she could ask as many questions as she liked.  She jumped for joy and went home saying, “My teacher said I could ask any questions I wanted.”  She said it was the happiest day of her life.  She still is an independent spirit.

jimmy-wc
My quick watercolor of Jimmy.