Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mexico journal pages

Lest you think I have forgotten my art or neglected it in favor of shooting photos all the time, I wanted to show the two journals that I brought along to Mexico. Miraculously, I filled both of them during the trip with sketches and collage. After the trip, Paula, Robin and I had nearly identical journal pages at times! This first journal cover was a piece of fabric that I wanted to use but the image was too large for my book. I copied it smaller then added a covering of clear contact paper to protect it.

This was my scrappy journal cover, and I enjoyed it, though did not like the wrap around tie for travel.
This was the first page of my scrappy journal, a corazon that I had stenciled at home. I used several of these prepared pages in this journal.
We spent a morning at Atotonilco waiting to see the famous frescos inside the church. We had plenty of time to sketch and watch the families as they gathered for a baptism. I started to sketch this mariachi player but soon he left, presumably to play in the mariachi mass, which we could not attend.
We spent another relaxing morning at the botanical garden just above town. The Dali Lama proclaimed that this was a peace zone, and had special significance for peace in the not too distant future. We certainly found it to be peaceful and full of butterflies and birds.
I picked up a few odds and ends while in Mexico in preparation for creating this little alter for the Dia de los Muertos show at Guardino Gallery. The show opens tonight, Oct 28th and I will be setting up an outside alter, too. In spite of the rain...If you're in Portland, come by and see the show!

Monday, October 18, 2010


Seems that not that long ago I was taking an American road trip, and not much later was boarding a flight to Mexico! My motto for this year seems to be like a line from a poem I heard:
"...blow into town then blow out again". So here we are, three gringas in San Miguel de Allende, the "Heart of Mexico". I was last here over 36 years ago, when I attended spanish language classes, as well as weaving and jewelry making. Needless to say, the place has changed a little since I was here last. This is a photo of our home for the week, Casa Feliz, as people lined up to view the parade.
The exterior belied what lay within, as this view of our inner courtyard shows. The entire house was filled with art and plants and it really was a visual feast.We joked that we could happily sketch there for the week, and never leave the house!
We had two courtyards on different levels, and the views from the rooftop were spectacular! That was my favorite spot for sketching, and most afternoons would find me up there soaking up some sun.
This says Mexico to me. The rows of colorful fruit that was so enticing, but that we did not buy.
This was my amigo, who graciously posed with an armful of colorful detritus that he had collected from a recent explosion in the square. Unfortunately we missed whatever it was, which happened while we were having lunch. The debris consisted of lots of little paper mache arms and legs, though, so I'm sure it was very interesting to see.
This is the scaffolding that we watched being erected in preparation for the evenings' fireworks display, which we did see. It was fantastic, with lots of spinning, twirling , screeching bits, some of which spun off into space. After that was the larger aerial display, right overhead. It was the closest I have ever come to being on a fireworks barge.
I remember seeing lots of flowers when I lived here before, though mostly what we saw this time were rose sellers. But oh, what roses they were! We enjoyed the bouquet in our home that grew more beautiful by the day.
The balloon seller was a ubiquitous sight, especially on parade days. We never really saw too many being sold, but I fantasized about buying up his whole bundle and giving them away to the kids in town.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

More American road trip

Well, it seems a bit strange to be writing more about this trip so long after the fact, and when I am sitting in a casa in Mexico, but I resized these photos, so by golly, I am going to post them for your enjoyment, I hope.
We had imagined that this trip might include much of Route 66, but when we changed our plans, it seemed like a good idea to seek out a bit of the route. Just outside of St Louis, we found Route 66 State Park, with a fabulous small museum and lots of information and interesting tidbits. It made us want to renew our commitment to drive the route someday. One man at the museum said his goal it to ride the whole route on his bike.
An interesting stop along the way was in Eminence , Missouri,a wide spot in the road . I would have loved to see inside of this antique store, or gone canoeing in the Ozarks, which is what everyone seemed to be doing. We passed hundreds of canoes for rent and of course wished that we had more time to stop for a leisurely day. We did see Alley Springs, though, which was the site of a former town, now long gone, but the old mill and one room schoolhouse are still there.
And it is a National Park, so we got one more stamp in our park passport. I guess we really are retired!
A new rule of travel for us is "If you see a guy selling watermelons from the back of a truck, stop and buy one". We did, and it was delicious!
Another National Park we stopped at was Hot Springs, Arkansas.This was the very first National Park, in fact and an interesting place to see. We especially liked the bathouse row, which has been in existence for over 100 years. There used to be many places where visitors could soak in the hotsprings, now there are only two in use. This is the beautiful original ceiling in one of the bathhouses that has been turned into the headquarters for the park. Tours are very interesting, and you should take the time to go for a HOT soak!
I can hardly believe that we made it all the way to Cafe du Monde, er, New Orleans on this trip, but we were sort of determined to try to see how NOLA looks 5 years after Katrina. We were there 4 years ago and were very discouraged to see the slow progress in rebuilding. This time,we felt very encouraged by what we saw. Everything looked pretty spiffy, though many buildings will never recover. Happy to see that our favorite Cafe du Monde is always the same, though. You always know what you are getting, and you are always happy, as the workers seem to be.
This was my favorite door in the 9th Ward. Yes, it is slowly coming back, but probably will be populated by new tenants and the face of the neighborhood will change. At least the changes seemed to be encouraging.
On the way to visit the cemetery (yes, I know it is sort of strange, but we both like cemeteries) we happened upon Longuevue Gardens, a historical home. Jim encouraged me to take the tour, so I did and it was very beautiful. It is NOT a plantation home, but a city estate, owned by the former heiress of the Sears fortune. Even though it was not a plantation, they included a traditional oak alley, and most of these are the original trees from the 1930's.
Every window in the house has a beautiful view of a different garden, and the interior was also quite unique. I enjoyed everything about the tour, especially the air conditioning!
This is just one of the many lovely angles at Metarie, a very famous cemetery, which is on the list of national landmarks. It is hard to find, but worth the trip.
In fact, everything we saw was worth the trip, and made us want to see lots more of this big and varied country. Who knows where the next "discover America" trip will take us?