It is a pleasure to see individuals setting up and doing business here. Not much equipment is needed to set up the store front. It can be an old fishing boat moored on the beach; an existing wall with a few hangers, some rope and you have a clothing boutique; a space on the beach gives a food stall, plus add a large umbrella, smoking briquettes, a few stools and the groceries.
When you sketch in public spaces you need to be aware of the present and let go of the doing. If an old lady is waving her shotgun from her porch or a young man is throwing pebbles, you maybe the target and maybe not. Time to move on and find another spot.
These happenings and others made me think about my senses- sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. Usually, I am just interested in sight. Now I pay attention to; unfamiliar smells or noises, biting insects and inquisitive people… ” people talking without speaking, people hearing without listening”.
Sebastian Stoskopff (1597-1657), French Baroque, painted this still life of a young girl with symbols of the senses. In this era there was as many things to be aware of indoors as outdoors.
In this small Mexican village I continue to sketch and watercolour in “seguridad”.
By now if you follow my post you know one of my favourite artists is Frida Kahlo and we cannot mention Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) without Diego Rivera (1886-1957). Twice married they led a turmultous personal life but each a spectacular professional life.
Rivera was known for his involvement and participation with the Mexican Mural Movement beginning in the 1920’s. He painted big fresco murals in Mexico City, Cuernavaca, Chapingo, San Francisco, Detroit and New York City.
The tradition of mural painting continues today, see video Aztec meets Urban. The choice of canvas is street buildings, lamp posts, benches; the tools of the trade stencils, freehand drawing, stickers, stencils, spray paint. Now, it is a supported and encouraged art form. Graffiti Festivals are sponsored throughout the world.
Although not in my sphere of activity, I appreciate the vitality and talent of these artists.
I continue my sketching on paper and watercolour pigment along the beaches in La Peñita and Guayabitos.
I write “Frida Kahlo and her pet monkey” on a piece of paper because my verbal skills in Spanish are limited. Off to the local stationary and internet shop on Sol Nuevo, the main avenue. I pass my piece of paper to the gentleman at the desk. When the images of Frida’s art work comes up on his computer I point to the printer. Voilà, a copy. My mission is to copy but as always my hand and mind are not synchronized but quite contrary to each other. Strange how the hand can be so independent.
Many have commented to why Frida chose to self portrait herself with her pet monkey. One of the most popular is the association of promiscuity and sin symbolized in the Mayan and early Christian culture. Doubtful, “She lived as who she was, no apologies”.
In the vein of old but grandiose Dames one of the oldest hotels in our village is Jacqueline. Why not paint it when someone shouts from his van, ” show me I might buy it”.
The bandstand or the Spanish word quioscos is another grandiose sign of the past, the Victorian era. The bandstand originated in the 1800 when it was a place to gather and listen to musical concerts. Throughout the world many fell into disrepair or were demolished but not here. Both Guayabitos and La Pentia are renovating their plaza and bandstand.
My morning starts with latte art, a cappuccino made by barista Arturo at café La Ola in Guayabitos located on the main street near the Mini Super “Popin”. The café is closed Thursday.
Later in the morning more Mexican art. I open my email and receive a letter from my favourite and best source of art news. This girl does not disappoint and here is the proof – Washed up:Trashed Landscape by Mexican artist Alejandro Duran.
Most locals and tourist celebrated on the weekend with a three day holiday. This meant lots of vendors on the beach. The food vendors are my favourite to sketch as they are stationary with their beach kitchen. I am grateful to these workers as they do not mind me staring and sometimes measuring them up. They come over and laugh as they try to find their family in my sketch.
Where to go to find a sanctuary in a foreign place? In Guayabitos the Catholic Church is open to the public on extended hours, no admission fees, beautiful and comfortable. I go there to sketch and remember my loved ones with a lighted candle. It not the simple act of lighting a candle and giving a donation. You need to cross the street and buy your candle at one of the local depanneurs or 7-11 stores. There is a good selection of votive candles; hot pink, red or lime green or religious icons for about 30 pesos. The offering box is near the main alter. You give what you want. The church is named, The Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The icon of Mary and Child associated with this church harks back to the Byzantine era of the 15th century.
There are other places of tranquility but not of the same quality. Beyond the maleçon in La Peñita the fishermen beach their boats when not out in the bay.
I return to the building site on the maleçon for my final look at progress.
Then, I take out my sketchbook to do a watercolour of suburbia Guyabitos. Here quiet persists except for the barking guard dogs and a few pedestrians out for a leisurely walk or a quick walk to the swing bridge to look at the crocodiles.