Category Archives: enjoyable places

Huatulco, Mx

We are spending our last days of our winter retreat in Huatulco [ wa’tulko]. A beautiful, modern planned city with a different vibe from Puerto Escondido. When in Puerto Escondido, we stayed in the older part of the city. Routinely, we heard in the background roosters crowing, hens clucking, dogs barking and sometimes a child crying but they are sounds you become at easy with. Here it is very “ tranquillo”

In Huatulco, for myself, who enjoys plein air sketching it has everything needed – architecture, culture and people. However, the colour palette has changed to turquoise, pink, lemon greens, pale creams and cerulean blue.

There are several parks nearby with bandstand, manicured grass, shrubs and plenty of shaded areas. My choice is where the workers are up on the roof replacing tiles.

Bandstand, workers at work, watercolour, 2018

My next choice is the park of lovers across the street from our lodging.

Lover’s Park, watercolour, 2018

The main town square, La Crucecita, has a lot of shade, benches, shopping and restaurants but my purpose is the church, referred to as lgelesia of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Here, the Mexican artist Jose del Signo has covered the whole ceiling of the church with a mural of the pregnant Virgin Mary. It is worth the visit to see this image and enjoy the work of this Mexican artist.

Nuestra Sēnora de Guadalupe, La Crucecita Plaza, Photo from tourism Huatulco

 

Nuestra Sēnora de Guadalupe, La Crucecita Plaza, watercolour & gouache, 2018

The square is a place to enjoy the sunny weather which Huatulco offers 330 days a year with an average temperature of 28 degrees Celsius. I looked towards the water fountain and there is a sketch waiting for me.

Water Fountain, La Crucecita Plaza, watercolour & gouache, 2018

So for another year we wait to visit Mexico.

Churches of Puerto Escondido, Mx

The churches in Mexico are an attractive place to paint or sketch – usually safe, good sitting areas and architecturally interesting.

Here in Puerto Escondido, my first discovery was the unfinished church and “cathedral to be” on my walk to Playa Carrizalillo. I decided to do a watercolour sketch of this massive concrete form which took over a whole city block. The gentleman at the corner store offered me a table and chair, he then lowered the awning to give me shade, I ordered a cool drink and so began a serene afternoon.

Unfinished Cathedral, watercolour, 2018

Where do the people worship here if this church is not in working order? This takes me to the church overlooking the bay at Playa Principal, Neustra Señora de La Solidad.

Nuestra Señora de la Solidad, watercolour & gouache, 2018

 

Side Entrance, Nuestra Señora de la Solidad, watercolour & gouache, 2018

My recent sketching of church façade has introduced me to John Piper (1903-1992) a British painter, printmaker, stain glass window designer. opera and theatre set designer and writer. During the Second World War he was a British official war artist. He was fascinated by the destruction of bombed out churches in Britain. Often at the scene at daylight, he was able to capture both the beauty and devastation. His work has influenced my thoughts on drawing churches. I hope to emulate his strong lines and spaces but still keep my intuitive curiosity.

Happy Valentine, Puerto Escondido, Mx

Time to talk about food. For breakfast I like the arena style Los Juouilenas on 8 Norte before the big indoor Mercado. I order a fresh orange juice then add ice cubes, café con leche which always comes sweetened and a quesadilla à la flora (squash blossoms).  Good service, reasonably prices and variety of Mexican food on menu. As an alternative for breakfast, light meal or snack we have Chedraui a large megastore offering a cafeteria style eatery. Before you get in to this store you may be asked by the security guard to check your bags, maybe look in your bag, do not be offended, just smile. My favourite beverage here is illy coffee- cappuccino, latte or expresso This eatery offers good value, air conditioning and great people watching.

For atmosphere next to the sea, Los Crotos is one of many places for seafood. The prawns brochette is a simple meal but perfectly prepared and enjoyed. Pascale next door offers similar fine dining. The appetizer of grilled vegetables is plentiful and easily shared with another. Tuna about one and half inches thick is cooked to perfection served with rice and green salad.

For Italian cusine, Benditos, is at the end of the street fair on your left, open for supper. Excellent pizza from their wood burning oven but also lasagne, fettuccine with a light sauces of tomato, mushrooms and fresh grated Parmesan cheese for topping..much more to chose from you need to go often.

I continue to sketch and paint daily.

Los Crotos Terrasse, watercolour, 2018

Lady on the Phone, watercolour & gouache, 2018

The old grey Hen, watercolour & gouche, 2018

Happy Valentine, watercolour, 2018

Puerto Escondido, Mx

Always when I travel to a new destination, I feel the unfamiliar and the uncertainty of what to paint or sketch. The light is different here, airy and fragile. The colours are tints of purple, thalo, pinks with hits of venetian red, the yellows are creamy white with shots of cadmium orange.

I resort to the old standby, “paint what is familiar”. The second floor of our hotel has a small shrine with the Virgin Mary portrait, a small pedestal with baby Jesus in the arms of Saint Anthony, sea shells and a large bouquet of fresh Calla lilies. It is cool and sheltered from the sun, my kind of place for today.

I start with a quick sketch but quickly realize I need to have my own Calla lilies. The” floristeria” shop is nearby. But before paying, the salesclerk shows me a variety of white and orange lilies on his cell phone. He is telling me without a word the Calla lily is not a lily but belongs to the Araceae plant family. Here they grow naturally in the marshland of Oaxaca, purifying the soil and retaining the moisture of the wetlands.

How did the lilly get here? Juno, the ancient Roman goddess is breast feeding her son, Hercules. She decides to express a little extra. First the droplets form the milkway and then fell on the earth to give us the beautiful Calla lilly.

Shrine for Virgin Mary, watercolour, 2018

Early morning, I decide the stone statue La Musica del Mar is a my kind of subject matter – quiet, serene, and reliable.

La Musica del Mar, watercolour, 2017

We come for the sun, beaches, culture and food. Puerto Escondido is all of these plus beautiful sketching and painting spots.

 

Kamouraska, Bas- St- Laurent, QC

This month we spent 4 days in the Quebec village of Kamouraska. It is a plein air painter’s destination but also fulfills my needs to have gourmet food, interesting architecture, beautiful sunsets, and friendly locals. The food trail begins with the restaurants-L’Amuse Bouche, Côte Est Cafe, Bistro de la Mer/Poissonnerie Lauzier, the bakery-La Boulangerie Niemand, the brewery- Tête d’Allumette Microbrasserie, the chocolate shop, La Fée Gourmande.

The village architecture is influenced by what settlers had in France and the need to adapt to what the lower St. Lawrence could supply. The Côte Est Cafe is located in the original Presbytery built in 1848 with a “neo-classical influence”.  The former court house built in 1888 is located midway on the main street and often called the “chateau” but in the tourist information they are more specific saying ” second empire, la renaissance française”. As all French Canadian villages the church is the heart. The recent building was constructed in 1912, after four previous churches perished, by the architect Joseph-Pierre Ouellet with a “neo-renaissance influence”. For an interesting insight into this village the booklet  Carnets de Kamouraska ( french only) is an informative source.The text is by Paul Louis Martin and illustrations by resident artist Anne Michaud in watercolour and ink.

My contribution on how I see the village is through my sketches in watercolour & gouache on Arches and Fabriano paper. My interest in gouache started with my Chinese painting workshop last month. At the time of buying my supplies I was told gouache would be a good substitue for the required Chinese paint. Liam Quan Zhen our instructor, quickly, told me this is the sequence, watercolour, chinese paint, gouache. So I put aside my gouache and bought the required paint brand, Yasutomo. Liam pointed out the need to read the label on artist quality paint. A common colour name is not enough if you want exact results. For example, when he called for vermillion the number on the tube is #51 or phthalo blue #57 or light green #55. He pointed out the need for pigment colour index names and numbers   Often paint colours that have the same name or slightly different name can vary greatly once on the page. If you wish to have similar results to your instructor pay attention to the brand name and paint type.

Sketching from street bench, watercolour & gouache, 2017

Sketching from Church parking lot, watercolour & gouache, 2017

East Shoreline from Wharf, watercolour & gouache, 2017

Tide is Out, watercolour & gouache, 2017

Former Palais de Justice (1888), watercolour & gouache, 2017