Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mini - Whites!

"Mini Whites" 8" x 10" oil on canvasboard - NFS
In joining others, I am posting this painting on
blog site. Each week she posts
a new source photo for others to use, interpret,
experiment with and invites them to send her the
image of the finished piece which she posts on the site.
You can see this one there (hopefully) and please - look at all the others.
This is the fourth week.
I saw the first one of her dear dog Jack (who had just passed)
just before leaving for Guatemala,
and knew I would want to be a part of this when I got back into the studio.
Let me know what you think!?

P.S., I just got my laptop back today. It's always a real comedy of sorts, when I try to find things I have put away in this house. I have run a true "Lost and Found" on software, which I needed to reload onto the new hardrive. Never fear, all is not lost. I have come to the conclusion that a crashing hardrive can be a good thing as it's all cleaned up now. Ha!

Pastel Landscape

"Blue Barn at Sunrise" - 3" x 12" pastel on Canson
For Sale
fits in an 11" x 14" frame
includes shipping
This one is done from a photo. The sky was a bright grey that morning. It would be great to change the color of the sky,
but then you wouldn't believe that bright light on top of the main barn metal roof.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Pastel for Today

"Santiago" - 4" x 6" pastel on Canson paper
While in Guatemala, there was an old man taking in the views of the marketplace, much as we were. I caught him gazing off down the cobblestone street. He is dressed in the local traje of the village of Santiago. This is a painting that will be in the "Miniature Show" in Grand Island for the month of October at the Prairie Winds Art Center.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Where I Stand Sunday and a Pastel Painting for Today

You have seen this view before..it's my "home" view - of 'Where I Stand Sunday'.
With all the travel lately, I am not going anywhere - on purpose!
"Land of the Free, Home of the Brave" - 4" x 6" pastel on Canson paper
Yeah, I am able to get back to the studio!
This one is being entered in a nearby miniature show in Grand Island, Nebraska.

Let 'art' lift your spirits, whether you make 'art' it or view it.
In this crazy state of uncertainty...ART SAVES LIVES, now more than ever!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

No Really, Just One More Day

I was to fly out of Guatemala City on the 3rd, and after arising early in Antigua and getting to the airport on time at about 9:30 AM to be at the gate by11:40, I found out at my gate that the plane had maintenance issues. I will tell you more about that, in a second.

First there was a luggage issue. Many of you have experienced a trip where you knew you planned on shopping and bringing back things from where you have been. I carried a large zipper bag with me, figured I could put my dirty clothes in it and check it, and the things I bought while on the trip could take their place in my bag. When I checked my luggage at the ticket counter, I knew I was allowed 2 free bags, thinking I would pay - and was ready to pay about $50 for the dirty laundry bag. The ticket counter guy said, "That'll be 234." I said, "Do you mean Quetzales?" He said, "No! That's American dollars." I about fainted right on the spot. He explained how he had watched the fee go up and up over the past weeks, a few weeks ago it had been $68. I was at a loss for words. But then this nice man guided me down to an open spot, where I could transfer the items in the zippered bag to my 2 pieces of luggage - literally stuffing them, and trying to keep them under 50 pounds each while using a scale. If it was over 50 pounds, I would have to pay an extra $138. Can you believe that? Well, I got the deed done and was off to security, where they confiscated two bars of soap I had bought in an Antigua shop. Grrr..I wasn't thinking of putting them in my check-ins at all, but bars of soap aren't allowed on International flights.

We were told that the plane would arrive at the gate in the next hour. Then is was by 3:30 PM, then 5:30 PM and then they had to fly another plane from Atlanta (3 hour flight) so we would be leaving at around midnight. Finally got out of the airport around that time, arrived in Atlanta - had to go through immigration, get my luggage - go through customs - get my luggage to the conveyor for my connecting flight, go through security, wait for my plane to leave around 7:30AM...all without any sleep...I can't sleep in airports or very well on planes, but my body and mind crashed on the flight from Atlanta to KC.

So there I was with 177 others waiting for a plane to fly to Atlanta on. My biggest concern the whole time was getting in touch with my parents in KC, to let them know that I wouldn't be arriving in the middle of the night, like I was supposed to - to avoid them having to drive to the airport...only to find I wasn't on that plane, and then not knowing what had happened. I didn't have cell service in Guatemala and there were no payphones (*believe it or not) but a very nice young man let me use his international cell to call them (twice, as things transpired) as I found out I wasn't going to be arriving that night. There are really nice people out there! The other kinda funny thing is that every announcement at the gate first came out in very fast Spanish and then very fast Spanish accent English..I didn't catch any of it and always had to get in line to hear it slower and more precise from a gate person. I wasn't alone, and when I found those bilingual people, I glombed onto them. They readily passed on the info to me.
Believe me I have nothing against the airline, as I wouldn't have wanted to travel on an aircraft that had maintenance issues. They fed us coffee, cokes and sandwiches throughout the ordeal, although I didn't eat or drink any of it, my stomach was still pretty messed up. Many had small kids, and I think it really helped pass the time for them. I have a whole new outlook on those who experience a layover in an airport. It's not fun. Has that ever happened to you?
So...you now know the basic itinerary for a 12 day trip with "Explore Guatemala". I highly recommend that you go on a trip like this if you are an artist (or even if you aren't) and like learning from other artists once in awhile. Not only was it a great painting trip, but I learned so much about another world out there. One where the people work very hard and live very differently. What an eye opener! I always felt secure on this trip. Our guides, John Korte and Anita Rogers were most knowledgeable, gracious and giving. The language was never a problem, most people spoke English along with their village language. Tourism is BIG there, they HAVE a need to communicate with us. Would I go back there? Probably not.. not because I didn't like it, but we saw so much and did so much..it would be hard to top this one. I would go somewhere else, though.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Last Day in Guatemala

And the title tells it, well almost, but you'll have to read the next post to find out more.
This morning we walked to La Merced, a magnificent cathedral in the city located near the Arco de Santa Catalina. We stood in the churchyard and looked down the street to paint the arch. Again, lots of visitors and complements from the town's people.

This is one of the paintings that I WILL revisit in my studio. It was the most challenging and is far from finished. The last night we had a critique and I know just what to do for it. Critiques, ya gotta love em! One thing wrong with it, is I lost my horizon line, and it looks like the street is going uphill. Again, I got the experience of the ever changing light and color with this one also.
This afternoon, we walked to the Museo de Conventos de las Capuchinas. It is the ruins of a cathedral which housed 26 (?) I am remembering only... cloistered nuns from 1736 to 1773. It was VERY interesting. The architecture was innovative and ahead of it's time.
Completed in 1736 under the direction of the chief architect of the city, Diego de Porres. Today the convent is partially intact and partially in ruins. The intact portions house a museum and offices for the National Council for the Protection of Antigua Guatemala. The ruined sections include baths for the nuns, and an unusual circular area containing novices cells, each complete with it own privy. Below this circular patio is a mysterious, subterranean chamber that resonates wonderfully on certain notes; no one seems to know the original purpose of this dungeon-like chamber. We entered both places and experienced the possible use for both of them. The sound resonance was truly astonishing! Anytime you are taken on a tour of something so grand, it is important to imagine yourself in the time and place that it was flourishing. Thanks to John's great tour, we were able to do just that!

The front door to the convent.

The restoration efforts on the main cathedral ceiling tiles.

John talks in a quiet voice to us as we each stood just inside an archway that we imagine the nuns stood in while collectively listening to a someone talk. We heard every word - clearly! Below this structure was a similarly shaped enclave that we imagined was a place where the nuns practiced their singing. The acoustics were incredible. There were little opening in the side that led out into the open air, and I imagined the lovely singing that was caught on the air and circled around the town. John and Beth sang for us from below. It was goosebump material! On the way back to the hotel we ran into John Mellen the guy who made us lunch on Day 4, at 'El Granero', after the bus broke down. He had just opened his restaurant in Antigua called 'Epicure'. He showed us around. It was lovely and I highly recommend you dine there if ever in Antigua! His cuisine is delicious!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Day Eleven of Twelve Days in Guatemala

The outside of the Dona Leonore.

We painted at the ruins of Santa Clara this morning. The cathedrals of Antigua are very beautiful. There are a lot of them. Antigua used to be the capital of Guatemala, but now it is Guatemala City, about 45 minutes away. More than 14 times, earthquakes devastated Antigua during 230 years in the 1500's. Many old buildings are now ruins. Some are in restoration. Once the capital was moved, the inhabitants were asked to leave the city. With it's nice little shops and layout, it kinda reminded me of a Guatemalan version of Aspen or Vail. Many Americans live here. You can see our western influence here and there.
"Ruins at Santa Clara, Antigua" - 9" x 12" oil on canvasboard
After lunch, we hiked down to the local market and sought out a subject to paint, however, after looking at the booths and shops and seeing that neither lent itself to plein air today, we chose to hire another local for our subject. Her name was Catalina. She was sitting in the sun, we were under an archway, not a lot of light for color mixing and as Kaye said, "Deal with it," and we did. Probably the one time I have been happiest with my color mixing the whole trip. This was one of those paintings that just sort of flew from my fingertips onto the canvas. Does that ever happen for you?

"Catalina" - 8" x 10" oil on canvasboard
And here I am at my easel. We had so many onlookers. I at least got my practice at that, in this place. Lots of little kids running around, also, tripping over easel legs. LOL.

This evening we went to the Jade Factory. A factory rep told us how the only real jade comes from Guatemala. Lots of vendors claim they have jade items, but unless you get a certificate, it isn't real jade. An American archaeologist and her husband located the areas to mine, based on Mayan history. It was interesting.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Day Ten of Twelve Days in Guatemala

The marketplace at Chichicastenango is like no other. We arrived on a 'market' day.

We were taken to a hotel for use of their bathroom. We had to pay and get a ticket, which I was glad of, it was fairly clean and much appreciated.
John and Anita (our guides) told us to carefully guard anything we took with us, because the crowds could swallow you and anything of value, if you weren't careful. Sure enough, one of the gals got her bag zipper opened and her driver's license and credit card stolen, right off the bat. I stayed with her as she tried to call her credit card company and with no luck tried to use the internet at an internet cafe to alert them...it was Sunday. Oh. Anyway, she did what she could. I would be freaked out, if it had happened to me, but she was pretty calm about it, having lost her passport on another trip to Spain.
To give you an idea of the crowds, take a look at the produce market, as we saw it from the balconies.

Our final destination for the day was the Palacio de Dona Leonore in Antigua, another wonderful 5-star property owned by the daughter of the people who own Hotel Atitlan. Dona Leonore was the daughter of Alvarado the conquerer of Antigua. This place has been restored, each room was a member of the family's in the 1500's. It was quite elegant. My room was spacious, and it even had a big screen flat screen TV. Orchids of all sizes shapes and colors adorned the courtyard area.
We dined in the candlelit open courtyard near the pool covered in rose petals at a place called 'Welten' near the hotel.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Day Nine of Twelve Days in Guatemala

Our last day at Lake Atitlan. On this day, we hired three models who came to the gardens and posed for 2 hours in the hot sun. I painted 'Amilcar' who was 16 years old. He was dressed in his 'traje' (trah-hay) - the local dress for males of the area.

"Amilcar" - 9" x 12" oil on canvasboard
After lunch, I didn't feel too well. It believe it had finally gotten to me. We were always careful to drink bottled water, but I think the change in foods and just plain eating so often and so much, may have done a number on my stomach. I had to take some 'down time'. Ugh. I was never the same the rest of the trip, but didn't let it stop me from really soaking everything up. The only thing I missed was doing the "zipline" through the jungle with a few of the others. Bummer. Went to bed early, we were to be up and at em in the morning to go to Antigua, via the marketplace at Chichicastenango.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Day Eight of Twelve Days in Guatemala

(Another version of this post appeared on Google Reader...it was the one that wouldn't post the other night when Blogger was having difficulty...anyway, you now get to read the new and improved version..)
After breakfast this morning we were on our way via boat to the other side of this large lake to the Tzutujil (zoo-too-eel) village of Santiago to the market. Along the way we saw lots of cayucos, little hollowed out fishing boats.

The market was awakening as we arrived. Lots of vendors, beautiful crafts and textiles, and many persistent sellers. We had been well versed on how to bargain with them. Many purchases were made. It was unbelievable as we shoved off, the vendors were literally leaning into the boat, asking you to give your "best price".
For a few Quetzales (7.33 quetzales converts to $1.00 American dollar) one lady unraveled and redid her 'tocoyal', the headdress that helps them carry bundles on top of their heads. We also were able to pay the locals for photographs, 5 Q's per. That's about 65 cents. We took lots of source photos.

We left Santiago for a short boatride to a property located on top of a hill overlooking the lake that belonged to an American who had relocated from the states to Guatemala 32 years before. She and her son and his family live there now. She created a foundation that helps to preserve "back strap weaving", as machines seem to be taking place of this waning art. Her house (several separate free standing rooms) was featured in the 2002 Architectural Digest "Exotic Homes" magazine. Everything here is self sustaining, from the coffee beans roasted on the fire hearth, to the wine made from local berries, to the fresh coconut in our coconut cream pie...we had a wonderful Guatemalan lunch prepared by the family.

This is Florencia, the granddaughter. She is 3 or 4, and quite a cutie!
The buildings each had a thatched roof, the mindset was to keep to the local way of life and not to create anything that looked out of place or didn't conform to how the people of the area lived. It was like paradise! We had some wine atop a two story, canopy covered lanai area. Here's to you!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Where I Stand Sunday

The harvest of 'season long' crops begin
the grower counts his yield.
The pay off is 'beauty' and 'color'
as the ground prepares to go dormant or
shelter winter's seed
for the next season yet to come.
ere I am back in Kansas, at home. The little decorative pumpkins I planted this spring were ready to be harvested. Being away, we still had lots to pick out of the garden. Have I told you - just about anything will grow here?
Don't know what I will do with the minis, but they sure are cute!
Maybe I will have enough to take to school when I 'substitute' in the next month or so.
Kids love em and they make great decorations in the house!
Stay tuned for more on the Guatemala trip.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Day Seven of Twelve Days in Guatemala

We painted the scene I showed you last post. Mine needs lots of work, if I was going to improve it, which I probably won't. The boats are too large and I don't have my middle tone green painted in yet, but the light was changing so fast. I needed binoculars to see it well from where I was standing, across the little bay. Not one of my favorites. So, just good practice!
"Across the Inlet at Hotel Atitlan" - 9" x 12" oil on canvasboard
After lunch we watched Kaye paint some garden flowers, some joined in, others watched. I watched anytime I could, cause I learn best that way. This is the group watching and painting in the gardens.

And this is the painting I did of some potted plants. I liked this one! It came out OK, because the sun cooperated a little more.
"Hotel Atitlan Plants" - 9" x 12" oil on canvasboard
The good thing about this place is I could get on the internet, finally. It is crazy when you are away from your peeps! Hurricane Gustav was going on, and I started to wonder about the trip home...with all that weather in the way. The Democratic National Convention was going on and Obama gave his speech which I got to see and hear, so I didn't feel so isolated anymore. Lots going on in the world is harder to take if you are in a third world country, but CNN in English was on every place that had a TV.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Day Six of Twelve Days in Guatemala

Lake Atitlan is the largest lake in Central America, it is located just outside of Panajachel. It has four or five volcanoes within view. One is active, it is nearer Antigua, but there is smoke coming out of it. We stayed at the Hotel Atitlan, a property with unbelievable gardens and accommodations!
The view from my balcony suite.
Out my window I could see the lake and a lot of the gardens and grounds. This place was amazingly beautiful! Every night we had a cocktail hour at 6:00 and a 5 star meal at 7:00. Each morning we had breakfast on the veranda overlooking the pool and the lake.
This was my room.

Tomorrow we paint this scene. It rains and sprinkles here often. Sun goes in and sun comes out.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Blogger is Whacking Out

Upon arriving home, I have been trying to post some more of my Guatemala trip, but blogger is really screwy tonight. If you caught a glimpse of my post on Day Eight, which Blogger inadvertently posted without anything I did, it wasn't complete, I deleted it, will have to repost it when Blogger gets "real" again!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Another Station Break!

We have just finished 4 beautiful days in the Gunnison, Colorado area. What a treat! Here are a few photos from there! Friday I will continue with the Twelve Days in Guatemala.
Here is the "Mother Ship" all set-up at the Elk Creek Campground at Blue Mesa reservoir.

Of course, every night we had a great campfire. We even got to watch the full moon come up over the horizon, as we listened to howling coyotes crossing the area, our dogs barked back. BTW, there was frost on the picnic table that morning!
Above is a view of Blue Mesa Lake and the Mesas in the distance. We looked at a 40 acre property in the area of the lake and dreamt about living in a fairly primitive area that had a great 360 degree view...including the Pinnacles at Blue Mesa and Red Mountain above Ouray. Sometimes, we are very tempted. We are still young enough to enjoy the 'raw' kind of living. I bought some Power Ball tickets today, $136 million would certainly allow it. Ha!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Day Five of Twelve Days in Guatemala

Today we painted and although I was just bursting to paint all along, we really haven't been in one place long enough to do so. After all the rain the night before and the possibility of more, we took our easels and paints to a place just inside a screened in porch and painted from a still life set-up. The flowers were so awesome here and we had a couple of choices for subject matter. After a demo by Kaye, and how she would paint it, we began by choosing which set-up we liked and got down to business. Keep in mind that all of my paintings on this trip are "plein air" studies. There are several ways to do plein air, either by sketching on location, making notes on colors and light, and finishing in the studio; beginning a painting on site, photographing and finishing in the studio; or like these are - painting what we see within 2 hours - light changing, color temperature changing, and then no intent to finish in the studio, and they are just that "studies"! A lot of these are fairly dry, and a little fingered..thanks to TSA upon my return flights. They check everything, even your wet canvas. Oh well, I am lucky that I got to my destination without any supplies being confiscated and then the trip home, same thing. Some of the travelers got their brush/paint cleaners removed from their bags, even though they were non-flammable. There is a certain way you need to address your supplies when flying. Call them 'artist colors' (not paint), download the MSD sheets on the paints as well as your cleaner, in this case I used a Turpenoid product called Natural Turpenoid, and a letter stating that painting is my profession, I spend lots of money on supplies, they are safe and I have no intention of traveling with any that aren't unsafe.
"Finca Still Life" 8" x 10" oil on canvasboard
Just a couple more photos of this place. We are on to our next destination, Lake Atitlan.

This is me at the lagoon we hiked to and the grounds at the Finca are below.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Where I Stand Sunday

I am not showing my feet, as I am not there yet when I set this up to post. We are in the high country, without internet service as you read this. I am at Blue Mesa Reservoir part of the Curecanti Recreation Area near Gunnison, Colorado on the Western Slope. I went to college here, hubster went to college about 180 miles to the southwest. We absolutely have to escape to here whenever we get a chance and we had the chance so here we are.

You can always count on awesome cloud formations here!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Day Four (Part Two) of Twelve Days in Guatemala

Upon leaving Comalapa, we headed back through the mountains. We were traveling in a new Hyundai diesel tourist van. Suddenly as we were climbing a steeper incline, the van conked out. The driver tried and retried the starter, but it wouldn't crank. And also suddenly, the Policia Nacionale showed up. They helped to alert oncoming cars that they needed to go around us, as we all bailed out and wondered what was wrong. After about an hour of waiting and the driver bringing back a can of gasoline, although we were under the impression that there was a mechanical problem...the police piled us into two of their Toyota trucks and escorted us to our next destination. We learned days later, that we HAD been out of gas and that we had been followed and closely watched over by the police. Interesting.
The van is descompuseto!

Here we are with our new friends. My head is sticking out from behind the gal in the yellow top. It looks like the policia are drinking Gallo's, but they aren't. I think they would have liked to after transporting all of us dizzy broads.

We were escorted to El Granero for lunch, which is on the way to The Finca at Los Tarrales. What a treat, once again. John Mellen is an American relocated in Guatemala, built a school, has a pork sausage production, teaches young kids the culinary arts, has his own line of sauces, preserves, jellies and cookies, just opened a restaurant in Antigua called Epicure. He was a very nice and interesting man. We ate lunch on the top floor of an old barn.

It was a beautiful spot, in the middle of the countryside.
On to the Finca (that means farm and plantation) at Los Tarrales. This place is owned by another American, who wasn't able to be with us. It rained such a storm as we arrived. We slept in the "Receivadore", a remodeled building with a few bedrooms. Four of the gals got to sleep in the forest in two tree houses. Straws were drawn for that sleeping space.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Day Four (Part One) of Twelve Days in Guatemala

Today we were on our way to Comalapa to our first Mayan market.

Locals brought all kinds of produce, handmade crafts and goods and small livestock like these pigs, also chickens, baby chicks and turkeys to sell.
These ladies were standing in line to look at the latest woven goods. Women carry their bundles (some of them very heavy) on top of their heads with such grace it would turn a catwalk model's head! Ha!
The one thing that was hard for me to put my mind around, was Guatemala's affiliation with their "dogs". Many were malnourished, mangy, and many were sick. and there was a prevalent overpopulation and overbreeding of them. They were savvy and knew why and how to stay out of the way of humans. They are just fixtures along the roadside, waiting for food to be thrown from a passing vehicle, or they lie in doorways, with longing looks for love and food - at least that is the way I saw it, a difficult pill to swallow for this animal lover. I thought briefly about making a photo essay of "The Dogs of Guatemala", but as time went on, I couldn't bare it any longer and you really don't want to see any of those pictures,...it ain't pretty. One huge wake-up call for me! Welcome to the third world, Pattie! I had to eventually make myself look away. I came home and had a long talk with my three dogs. They don't know how lucky they are! BTW, I saw 3 cats, the whole trip. In a world of dogs, there would be no cats, I suppose.

Happy 17th Blogiversary to ME

 I would like to admit, it's still here, I'm still here and it's still worthy of my attention - although sporadic.   Here are a ...