Ajijic, Odd Little Stories, Places, thoughts behind the work

Early Days of Wire Collecting in Mexico

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When I first arrived in Mexico I did a hell of a lot of walking.  I walked every day, up and down steep hills, and over broken streets with potholes and cobblestones.

When  you do this kind of walking, it’s very important to look down.  If you don’t look down, and look at the surroundings all the time, surely you will stumble and fall.  I believe the majority of seniors here walk with canes.  I walk with a cane now too but only when I’m going to wild places and very old parts of town like Ajijic.  |My vertigo has gotten much better as I work at it all the time.  The sidewalks are extremely narrow as are many of the roads.  The cobblestones are worn and bumpy and some stones are popping up, which can catch you off guard if you foolishly wear sandals instead of good walking shoes.

The most dangerous part aside from crossing streets is my depth perception problem.  I have a hard time trying to judge the distance from the sidewalk to the street.  Sometimes it can be very steep and that is really hard if you don’t have a cane; especially with a week leg, or if both legs are not strong.

When I moved to San Antonio my life got immediately better.  Before my infamous tumble when I injured by knee, I used to collect wires I found in the streets.  There is always lots of construction going on around here.  People are building all the time.  When construction is in full swing, the combination of chain link fencing, cement trucks, flatbed trucks of bricks and wire towers seem to be everywhere you look.

The vehicles run over everything and smash anything soft into the cobblestones, changing the poor victims into unrecognizable shapes.  Wires are my favorite things.  Although I dearly love the disappearing metal soup and soda can lids.  I find them pretty nice when they are rusted into oblivion and are full of holes, leaving them wafer thin like some sort of ancient ceremonial disc.

When wires are run over many times, it really improve their shape when the cement trucks do their damage.  I got to the point where I was actually looking for them. I just could not help myself from this new compulsion.  That can be dangerous.  I’ve had lovely friends collect some for me too.  They have left them for me on my patio table.  How fun is that?  I have kept these smashed treasures  from my travels and someday I will create a few works of art from them.  Until that day, I want to catalog my precious collection here so I won’t forget my early days in this amazing place.

Illustrations, Pen and Ink Drawing, Places, street scenes

New Mexico Street Scene

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Street scene in New Mexico. Truthfully, it could be any town u.s.a.
It’s the colors that make it all about the southwest.  And don’t forget the planters with big agave spikes reaching upward.   I don’t know about you, but I love strolling down this kind of place.

This artwork is for sale through my online shop.

ice cream, people, Places

Selling ice cream (helado) by the Lake

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This wonderful happy man can be seen in the villlage of Chapala Mexico in the state of Jalisco.  On weekends you can pretty much always find him pushing his tomato red cart.  He sells ice cream, called helado in Spanish.   He has lots of flavors to make you happy.  The atmosphere is pleasant and the malecon (tiled walkway along the water’s edge) and the plaza are just lovely.  The lake is beautiful and cools the air. Right now there has been so much rain that the lake is the highest its been in 50 years.

You can stroll and eat and take in all the sights and sounds.  Very often you can find people dancing in the plaza to the music of local musicians.  Some of the bands will be a collection of guitars, drums, and various brasses including tubas.  Chapala is a great town.  Some may call it a city.  If it sounds like I am selling the place, I’m not really.  I just enjoy it.

In Mexico they churn the ice cream by hand, in huge metal canisters called garrafas. The canisters are filled with the ice cream base and placed inside of wooden barrels full of ice and salt, and then it’s someone’s job to stir the ice cream with a large wooden paddle as it slowly freezes.

This technique gives the ice cream a unique texture. “Mexican ice cream is closer to gelato, as it has less fat and air than American style,”

When I saw this guy, I was immediately attracted to the cart and his infectious smile.  I just had to paint him.  happy   happy   happy.

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If you are interested, click the picture to purchase a print or a textile of this watercolor.

Read more about making Ice Cream in Mexico here:
http://www.tastecooking.com/mexicanicecream

Ajijic, Places

Empty Church

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I first saw this unique building from a friend’s balcony high on the hill.  I knew it was something that needed to explore.  That was in August.  It is now January and I have since  moved to Ajijic. This was on my  ‘to do’ list and  this mysterious building turned into one of my first watercolors here.

My roommate and I figured we could get there by hiking down the steep and somewhat tricky footpath from our house.  We could see it pretty clearly from our azotea or rooftop.  That first hike was exciting and there were surprises along the way:  fresh sage bushes, small chickens and a small rooster as well as goats and their herder.  Like all things Ajijic, every step needed to be carefully taken.  Slippery rocks, water, mud and the like can be unfriendly.

When we reached the bottom of the hill, this wonderful building seemed to glow in the late afternoon sun.  It really was pink and yellow.  The building looked like it was never completed and even though a stone wall separated us, breaks in the wall showed us we could see it was empty.  The arches and three domes with their wooden crosses were signature markings.  So this is the second painting in this new series,  It’s very motivating to see new things to paint that intrigue and inspire.  This is identified as Capilla Vieja del Panteon Municipal De San Antonio, Tlayacapan.

This watercolor is available