An Artist’s Eyes Never Rest!



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“All artists are a little bit crazy!”   “Artists are different.”

Over the years, I’ve chuckled when someone looked at  my whimsical works and noted the difference in our personalities.

Yes, artists are programmed differently, and most of us rejoice that every waking moment is a gift!  Whether soaking in a sun-drenched street scene or admiring an alignment of  overhead pelicans or noting subtle color differences in a landscape, an artist’s eyes never rest!

When living in Costa Rica, I lived immersed in nature and marveled at the beauty that surrounded me.  I was also intrigued that most of the handmade products I bought were made in Ecuador.  Hammocks, pottery, linens, masks – Ecuador, Ecuador, Ecuador.   From my first exploratory visit,  Ecuador stole my heart!  I now divide my time between Ecuador and Central America, and I look forward to exploring more of South America.

Although you cannot step inside my studio from your vantage point, this site will give you a glimpse into the life of the zeebra.  Hopefully you’ll emerge with a lighter heart!

Thanks for stopping by!  Z

* (Click the sidebar  at the top left to receive updates in your inbox, or scroll to the bottom of this page.)

Timeout for Art: The Gift of Uninterrupted Solitude


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P1970879 studio colors painting in progress

“The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. Be alone – that is the secret of invention; be alone, that is when ideas are born.” Nikola Tesla
Although I live five kilometers from town and share the riverbank with my neighbors the birds, an interesting queue of people find their way to my door/gate. As they step into the studio for the first time and touch the tromp l’oeil floor then gaze at the river from the second-floor balcony, I’m humbled with the reality that my life is unique.


The beauty of the river provides a rich environment and incubation chamber for inspiration. One’s pulse naturally slows while watching the frigates spiral to the skies then swoop for touch and go’s on the water while petite wrens and swallows perch on branches near the house. During those times, silence is the best conversation.

Cocoi Heron

Cocoi Heron

For five or six hours each day, the river is not so quiet. Slightly upriver and downriver are oxen-sized pumps that supply the shrimp ponds with fresh water. During those times I often pair painting sessions with a music playlist; meticulous details require subtle piano, and ‘mas alegre’ music nudges me into a faster painting tempo!
Late at night while most of my neighboring world is asleep, the magical world of blissful silence casts its spell over my work environment. Sunset usually signals the end of (very little) traffic on the gravel road, and the pumps cease as the river lowers with the tides. Ahhhh, aside from nature’s whisperings, all is serene and quiet. Music during those times is an intrusion. Continue reading

El Nino Phenomenon

Playamart - Zeebra Designs:

Back flashing through the eyes of an 8-year old, Silvana- in her unique voice – shares what it’s like to wonder if one should be living in an ark during the last ‘super el nino’ that affected ecuador…
After reading this post, please enjoy the previous one where her humor burns through once more as she experiences the difference between the middle of the world and the ‘middle’ of the usa.. brrrrr, you made us laugh, silvana – what a gift! .

internet is too slow to open the inbox, much less wrote a post, so timeout for art will arrive tomorrow, weather permitting!


Originally posted on monoaullador.:

A few days ago there was a storm (rain, thunder , lightning ) that prevented me to go out to the fields for working as usual,  I stayed for a moment looking out the window mesmerized while Jackie asked me : Are you nervous? I said -No- but the true is that yes, I was nervous , I must confess!!! YES the heavy rains make me feel a little nervous, when I see it I go back years (1997-1998) when I was 8 years old I experienced one of the worst seasons on the Ecuadorian Coast  (El Niño). Lisa asked in her last post to share our experience about “ El Nino Phenomenon “.  I decided to share mine.

View original 560 more words

El Nino Phenomenon – Yes or No?


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(Written two days ago, and then – poof – no internet until now!)
P1970709 rio jama april 10 11

After punishing the Solomon Islands,  a now-category 5 ITA assaults the Western Pacific and bears down on Australia.  To my friends in Australia, I will be thinking of all of you and your country.  It seems when Mother Nature is swirling bad storms, she often kicks with a strong earthquake as well.  The moon is almost full, so everyone, beware!

(* I see that it downgraded to a category 3 but have not read any reports yet…

* – notices  also show that Nicaragua shook Central America, and there’s a tsunami watch from the Solomon Islands quake.  Goodness, Mother Nature, you’ve been busy, so please sit back and rest for a long while!)

View of Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador

View of Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador

When I ask people (in Manabi Ecuador) about El Nino of 1997/8, they often add, yes, and a really bad earthquake hit Bahia de Caraquez.

For the past month, I have kept one weather eye on the “Kelvin Wave” – a pocket of warm (hot?) water that’s perculating west of Ecuador. The weather gurus are comparing this year’s charts with the ones from 1997 and ’98 when El Nino focused his wrath on Ecuador and Peru. Continue reading

Timeout for Art: Careful Study


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Detail: Magnificent Frigates - Acrylic

Detail: Magnificent Frigates – Acrylic

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
Albert Einstein

This week finds me working on a nine-foot wide painting to be used as a mural on a restaurant wall.  The owner showed me several photos of picturesque palm-lined beaches with tropical water in the background.  I suggested that we dress up the view of the local landscape which is equally as beautiful as the images he provided.  (A week later I questioned my decision, as the seascape required accuracy – or risk every “local” pointing out the mistakes!) Continue reading

Barbara, My Hummingbird Friend


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Hmmmm, do we recognize someone in this picture?!  Barb poses in Guayaquil's Malecon Gardens.

Hmmmm, do we recognize someone in this picture?! Barb poses in Guayaquil’s Malecon Gardens.

Barbara Seibel and I have been friends for about fourteen years.  Our paths crossed when I moved to Guanacaste Costa Rica, and we were instant friends.  Over the years I’ve marveled at her perpetual energy, and her ability to stay positive, and her gift of juggling many tasks at the same time while sometimes carrying on several conversations at once – and keeping up with all.  I’m a one-task-at-a-time kind of person, so I admire those traits that she juggles so well.

Barb at Punta Prieta, just up the coast from the town of Jama

Barb at Punta Prieta, just up the coast from the town of Jama (Ecuador)

Small and petite, she zips from task to task while smiling and chatting, though she requires lots of little meals to maintain that energy.  It’s easy to understand why I often call her Hummingbird!  We painted this design last year when she was helping with the bodega floor (magic carpet) and she sent the photo of it hanging in her home in Panama.

A Hummingbird for a Hummingbird!

A Hummingbird for a Hummingbird! – You might be seeing that little bird flitting here and there in the near future on WordPress!

My hummingbird friend has a serious side, and many of us know of the times when her life wasn’t sunshine and flowers and hummingbirds.  Someone once said to me, ‘I try to stay out of other people’s shadows, and I hope that they stay out of mine.”     I try to do the same by not finding fault with others or sharing stories that are painful or open old wounds that have (hopefully) healed.

P1840648 hummingbirds how many mindo

Barbara has chosen to go OUT with one of the most painful chapters of her life, and she speaks to women’s groups about that event.  She has recently uploaded this story to a new website, and I am pleased to share that address with all of you.

Buckle your seat belt; the story ain’t purdy.

You can find it here:

Her main site doesn’t have a comment section, so she and I reactivated a site she started a year ago when she was helping paint the Magic Carpet floor!

After listening to her story, drop her a line and welcome her to WordPress HERE:  forgiveness4healing.

Off she goes!  Parapente Barb in Cruzita Ecuador!

Off she goes! Parapente Barb in Cruzita Ecuador!

Thanks, also for supporting Arash’s petition that addresses the apathy/lack of compassion from insurance providers. I just checked the stats, and it’s down to 9 more signatures needed to reach the goal! Grrrrrrrracias! You’re the best, WordPress world! Z

“51 Needed” – Arash Recovery


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Don's first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean - Playa San Miguel, Costa Rica

Don’s first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean – Playa San Miguel, Costa Rica

At times when Life presents a hurdle or three in my path, instead of allowing a wave of self-pity was over me, I remind myself to be grateful that I am not facing that challenge from the vantage point of a wheelchair.    I am instantly upgraded to a more-positive attitude, and I spend the next few minutes counting my many many blessings.    I remember too well the day that my nephew’s world spun out of control, and that story can be found HERE.

Another hero to many is Arash Bayatmakou, whose determination to walk again is shared through his blog Arash Recovery.  This week he asked for help with a petition by stating:

“Too many paralyzed survivors of Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) are abandoned by their insurance companies, not provided with their most basic needs (such as a wheelchair), and told to adapt to their physical limitations despite the possibility for improvement.

This has to change.”

His closing paragraph states, “To learn more about my story (just one of the 12,000 annual cases of SCI in the US), check out:

He’s only 51 signatures short!  Let’s play ball!   Please sign the petition HERE and help bring this need into the spotlight.

Thanks!  Z

Guaranda Bound via Misty Chimborazo


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(Near Volcano Chimborazo and Guaranda Ecuador)

P1580255 guaranda bound burro  fogMy friends Hank and Marie trusted my recommendations and veered off the beaten path to view the lovely snow-capped Volcano Chimborazo.  Beyond “Chimbo” was the quiet Andean city of Guaranda, our destination for the next few days.

Time slows while white-knuckle driving through dangerous cloud-shrouded mountain switchbacks.  I had traveled that road ten years earlier, and at times I wondered if I had pointed us in the wrong direction!   Continue reading

Little Wing, Butterflies and Zebras


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"...I know I saw it somewhere around here... There!  There you are!... "

“…I know I saw it somewhere around here… There! There you are!… “

Manabi Province/Ecuador -

Yesterday while pulling tender rank growth in the shady recesses of the gardens, I noted an abnormal splash of electric color near ground level.  Pausing for a closer look, this Zeebra allowed a psychedelic caterpillar to alter the next ten or so minutes of my day! Continue reading

Timeout for Art: Staying Young at Heart!


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“It takes a very long time to become young.”
― Pablo Picasso

This Timeout for Art project was simple and easy! The design, inspired by a pre-Columbian artifact, was painted on a pillow to bridge the painting on the wall (below) with the fabrics on the sofa and chair. Continue reading

Dodging Bullets


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April 1, 2014 - Did the sun know of the upcoming earthquake?

April 1, 2014 – Did the sun know of the upcoming earthquake?

At sunset yesterday, I noted that the tidal waters seemed a bit different – I could not articulate why, but there was something strange or surreal about the way the water was moving;  the birds used different flight patterns as well, and many more egrets and herons roosted in the mangroves; the pelicans were absent.  (That happened last year a few days before bad weather approached.)

After sunset, I came inside and followed a random ‘tweet……. tweet……………….. tweet…………….’ to its source and welcomed a frightened nomad for a B&B night at Casa Loca!  Last year I flunked Baby Bird Rescue, so this year I tried a different menu.

Look who came for dinner!  (I fed it aloe vera water and mashed aloe vera pulp!

Look who came for dinner! (I fed it aloe vera water and mashed aloe vera pulp!

Continue reading

She Moves On


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Silvana enjoys a last sunset at the riverhouse.

Silvana enjoys a last sunset at the riverhouse.

Today one of Jama’s bright young shining stars soars out of Ecuadorian airspace and lands in a most unpredictable spot for the next nine or so months of her life! If you started guessing right now, my money says that you won’t guess her destination! Continue reading

Who Has The Right-of-Way?


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Wait!  Where's the road?!

Wait! Where’s the road?!

Manabi Province, Ecuador

This past weekend I visited the fishing village of  El Matal and found ample material for this week’s Photo Challenge of ‘STREET LIFE.’   On Saturday, the high tide washed across areas of the front street, where fishing boats trumped automobiles for use of the road!

P1960289 hibiscus post el matal y boats

P1960979  el matal end of march 2014

First-aid options for the vanishing beach are tied up in red tape.  Concerned locals watch as each wave brings the next spring tide a bit closer.    How much longer will there be room for boats and autos? Continue reading

Where Time Slows to an Easy Pace


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RAMON PAINTS P1970078 URBAN photos shoes bamboo ladder

Jama Ecuador (Manabi Province)
Only one street back from the center of town, Hostal Ciragan provides a quiet respite – unless there’s an all-night fiesta nearby!
RAMON PAINTS P1970070 HOSTAL CIRAGAN  bamboo ladder urban art yellow alamanda

Mid-morning on Saturday, I walked down the quiet street near Ciragan and pondered my good fortune to have my health, happiness, and many talents to keep me happy; I also felt lucky to have a large support system of people who care about me. I noted wild tobacco in bloom near the sidewalk, and then I noted always-smiling Ramon painting the sign to the hostal! Continue reading

Are You Ready for Earth Hour?

Playamart - Zeebra Designs:

Balancing a metal colander to double the usb internet reception on the laptop’s left, and using an external keyboard on the right, I’m nudging you to read who what when where and how to prepare for earth hour. Many of you have already seen that hour come and go, but we can start planning to make next year’s event a grand one!!

8:30 – 9:30 tonight – your local time – please: EXTINGUISH YOUR LIGHTS, turn off your chargers, and bask in the darkness. in honor of earth hour!
Spread the word!
yikes! it’s too slow for a reblog prompt!

Originally posted on Petchary's Blog:

Tomorrow – Saturday, March 29, 2014 – lights will go out across the globe from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., local time. It’s just over 17 hours away in New Zealand.
Earth Hour 2014.

Earth Hour 2014.

Earth Hour is about much more than “lights out.” It is a global movement that aims to create an inter-connected global community that will create opportunities to create a sustainable world (and face the challenges, too!) This year Spiderman has just zoomed in as Special Ambassador for Earth Hour.

How did Earth Hour get started? It started with one city – the beautiful city of Sydney. Then Communications Director with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Australia Andy Ridley convened a think tank in 2004 to discuss one simple action that would turn the spotlight on climate change. On March 31, 2007, over two million households and 2,000 businesses in Sydney turned their lights out for the inaugural Earth…

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End-of-Day Reflections


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P1960914 weird sunset rio jama

Manabi Province – Ecuador
As if to announce a change in our ‘rainy season’ drought, this sunset cast an eerie glow across the entire landscape.  Still muddy from early February rains, the river seemed to bounce the colors back into the sky.  That night the heavens soaked the parched earth with an inch of rainfall.  We received another inch of rain the following night.

A similar color returned to the end-of-day skies three days later.  My friends were draining the shrimp pond, and the surreal colors played well against the lone canoe.   Continue reading

Timeout for Art – Sharing Your World with Others


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P1920021 botanical

When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. (Georgia O’Keeffe)

Inspired by my friends’ gardens in Mindo Ecuador, this evolving make-believe garden of acrylic paint has grown one flower at a time! Gingers and heliconias make excellent subject matter for botanical studies, but it’s been about ten years since I painted the lovely queen of the night.

A fringe benefit of working from life is the fragrance of the flowers!

A fringe benefit of working from life is the fragrance of the flowers!

Capturing the essence of the elegant datura (brugmansia) raised the bar and challenged me to transport the viewer into the mysteries of a nocturnal cloud-forest scene.  Datura, a bewitching queen of the evening,  opens at dusk and releases her intoxicating fragrance throughout the night.   A dangerous hallucinogen, it is used by shamans in ayahuasca ceremonies and is also abused by criminals to drug unsuspecting victims.  Devoted gardeners cultivate it for the beauty of its flowers and the delicate lemony aroma.

After working inside during the night, I worked briefly the new morning before the flowers closed.

After working inside during the night, I moved to the garden and painted briefly the next morning.

The daturas preside over shade loving plants, and each compliments the other.  Deep crimson king’s torch gingers dig their toes into the cool soil and stretch skyward toward the datura.  Flaming-orange heliconias squeeze between available gaps and fill in the middle ground.   At night, I sometimes wonder what creature might be lurking in the shadows only a few feet away!

Continue reading

Idle, Neutral, Forward and Reverse!


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P1500457 happy horns

A few of my WordPress friends will relate to the following message that often appears at the top of an “Add New Post’ page:  “Connection lost. Saving has been disabled until you’re reconnected. We’re backing up this post in your browser, just in case.” 

Slow connections can test the patience of Job!   Sometimes the above message remains on the screen for hours as images upload or backfire with snitty red Error messages.  Last night’s “pink”  images took three hours to upload, and I worked on Thursday’s Timeout for Art in another window while battling with the uploads.     Emails loaded slowly, comment and like options failed to load.  Notification stars blinked in the upper right corner, yet the drop-down box revealed a white field.

Although I had typed several hundred words, the Timeout for Art/Save material was still idling with a 31 word count from hours before!

This beauty parades through Jama (Ecuador)

The headlights work; I wonder if the clutch and brakes are dependable!   Slow internet is like an ancient vehicle!

Comments in moderation arrive in the inbox, and the final jump to approval rolls to a dead end!   Other comments that I attempt to answer often swirl for a minute or two before either leaping to the proper place, or they vanish – poof! – or I can sometimes hit the ‘back’ button and return to my comment, let the page load again, then send it a second, third,fourth, and hopefully it reaches its destination!

Today as I watch my comments swirl in neutral space before they sail into a dead zone, I reflect on the time spent trying to move forward.  It’s like having a road-weary vehicle that’s lost its transmission fluid or gets stuck in neutral!   The blank screen reminds me of the odometer stuck on zero!  Instead of raising the hood and searching for solutions, I place the USB modem in a stainless steel bowl or metal colander, and the speed usually doubles…  juggling that with an external keyboard while trying to keep the homing device on the cell tower is a balancing act,  but it’s still too slow in daylight hours.

Continue reading

A Bouquet of Pink


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P1950962 for KATHY  pink flamingo

Almost twenty years ago, a friend sneaked this flamingo into my gardens in Natchez, Mississippi. Kathy’s calling card moves with me, and it still triggers a smile. Presently it watches over a young ceibo tree that was rescued from the blade of an excavator.

P1950962 pink flamingo for kathy

The pink flamingo proudly watches over this assortment of flowers in honor of Ailsa’s travel theme, PINK!
P1750556 saritas hibiscus pink

Continue reading

Timeout for Art: Timeout for Equinox!



P1960726 march 20 2014 equinox

Maracuya fruit marks high noon on the equator – March 20, 20140 equinox

“There are times when we stop, we sit still. We listen and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper.”  James Carroll

There are also times that beg for a fast timeout for art;  the above image illustrates one minute’s prep in the kitchen, a dash outside to record the sun’s shadow at high noon, and a few minutes of doodling with a paint program for a hand-drawn smile!

Compare today’s shadow with the image from last June’s solstice, when the sun stretched as far north as the celestial laws permit! Continue reading



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Brilliant Sunset March 12 - Jama Central

Brilliant Sunset March 12 – Jama Central

Could this March 12 sunset have been an omen for an unusual upcoming day?

March 13 began with an early-morning walk to town…  I spotted the first Peruvian Meadowlark for the year, then stopped and admired a smooth-billed ani.  The black and white stilts, herons, ibis and egrets are perennial bonuses!

Some days the walk is muddy; other days it's dry and dusty.  There are always interesting fora and fauna waiting to be discovered!

Some days the walk is muddy; other days it’s dry and dusty. There are always interesting fora and fauna waiting to be discovered!

Grabbing a drink and banana bread on the run, I hopped in a collectivo pickup bound for El Matal….

P1960289 hibiscus post el matal y boats

After a brief check at El Matal, where Project Sandbag is underway, I returned to Jama for lunch and Timout for Art post then home to resume work on the painting…
But wait! The sound of a helicopter veered me off course, and to the airstrip I went! Continue reading

Timeout for Art: Aim High!


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2012 Watercolor by Lisa Brunetti

2009 Watercolor by Lisa Brunetti

“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” – Michelangelo

P1920043 botanical

Datura-Ginger-Heliconia from Mindo Cloud Forest (Ecuador) Acrylic detal

There are times when, with sensitivity, I instruct my students, “Always stop before you think you are finished.”   Sometimes we can overwork a painting, and in search of precision, we lose the spontaneity and freshness.  It becomes overworked and heavy.

There are other times when I nudge my students to stick with the work a bit longer.  I remind them, “The difference in an amateur and a professional, is that the professional takes it a few steps more and puts in a few more hours…’

P1920046 lllli

This painting held its own with the background left stark white. The colors sing against the white background.  Shadows could be added, and it would fool the eye, as it was already fooling mine!   My friend Xavier often walks into the studio and says, “I can never tell what’s painted and what’s real!”  and when this painting was flat on the magic-carpet floor, I often forgot that it was not part of the floor!

When a painting is 35 inches by 48, it’s taking a few more weeks to finish! After several moments of self doubt, I  ‘soiled’ the white background with a medium value wash of dark blues and purples and greens.  I knew there was no option to return to the original white background!!!  I continued adding layers of paint… Continue reading

More Lovely Women of Jama Ecuador!


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P1950981  IRIS Y GALS

Anyone who knows Jama will surely smile at this photo! (More below)

Jama Ecuador

Losing a friend sometimes reminds us to embrace those that are still with us.   This past week’s blog feedback regarding my friend’s death touched my heart, and your observations abut Jama’s Lovely Women filled that same heart with joy. Thank you; I am blessed.   I hope to acknowledge your comments by the end of the week.

Internet options at my house remain poor, so I am only online when in town – usually in short doses while having lunch or dinner at Restaurant Exclusivo. (Thanks again, Sivana!)

Silvana wears many hats!  She touched many of us when she acknowledged the cluster of extranerjos that participated in the Wear White for Peace March. (2013)

Silvana wears many hats! Our appreciation for her tripled when she acknowledged the cluster of extranjeros that participated in the Wear White for Peace March. (2013)


Silvana and her father have visited El Matal to show support and concern for the vanishing beach.

Silvana and her father have visited El Matal to show support and concern for the vanishing beach.

And she can paint!

And she can paint!

Silvana, btw, is preparing for another internship/cultural immersion in the USA; she leaves on April 1st and will be there about six months. She will surely share those details with everyone soon.

Are you ready to meet more fabulous women of Jama? Continue reading

Postscript for As Beautiful As You


P1720826 casa loca y more

Whenever I return home, I note the placement of the gate latch, the padlock on the outside of the bodega doors, and I step inside, look at the floor and say, “Hello House!”    Yesterday after a three-day absence, I returned home to find everything in its place.

Except for one item. Continue reading

The Lovely Women of Jama Ecuador


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Silvana and her family took a rare afternoon off from their Restaurant Exclusivo.  These gals juggle university studies with restaurant responsibilities!

Silvana and her family took a rare afternoon off from their Restaurant Exclusivo. These gals juggle university studies with restaurant responsibilities!

Tapping into photos from the past year, I present some of the hard-working women from the Jama (Ecuador) area.

Nelly took a rare break from her restaurant for Mother's Day 2013.

Nelly took a rare break from her restaurant for Mother’s Day 2013.

Most of these women touch my life on a weekly basis, if only through a smile as we pass on the street.

I always pause to speak to the ladies who keep our streets free of litter!

I always pause to speak to the ladies who keep our streets free of litter!

01C P1960218 street sweeping smiles 01B P1600660 jama street sweeper - Copy

Sometimes they are quite weary at the end of teh day.  But they can usually reach down and find an honest smile.

Sometimes they are quite weary at the end of the day. But they can usually reach down and find an honest smile.

01AA END OF DAY 00 - Copy 01AA END OF DAY 00 TIRED but smiling - Copy

Sorting through these images made me wistful for those syrupy long-ago days in the Mississippi Delta. We did not need trendy gadgets or sleek modes of transportation. We delighted in tending the vegetable garden and shelling peas and beans in the cool shade of the mid-day sun.  Life in Manabi Province in Ecuador reminds me of those days. Continue reading

…As Beautiful As You…

“Just as we take the train to go to Tarascon or Rouen, we take death to go to a star.  What’s certainly true in this argument is that while alive, we cannot go to a star, any more than once dead we’d be able to take the train.”  Van Gogh to Theo (

A very talented and dear friend died yesterday after a brief illness.  Shine on, Joe Kaknes;  your sweetness will live on in my heart.


Timeout for Art: Be Yourself!


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P1950718 thunbergia portal z frog

“The Magic Portal” – Watercolor – Lisa Brunetti

The hardest challenge is to be yourself in a world where everyone is trying to make you be somebody else.
~E. E. Cummings

Watch the frog come to life!  These photos show how a subject can seize control and affect the mood. Continue reading

Timeout for Art: Learning to See


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P1570579 hacienda guachala AGAVE

“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.” Camille Pissarro

Hacienda Guachala, the oldest hacienda in Ecuador, provides endless subject matter, especially when the early-morning sun warms the gardens.  Although dramatic shadows showcased the architecture of the two churches, my attention wavered to the subtle voice of the agaves.

Agave Study - Watercolor - Copyright Lisa Brunetti

Agave Study – Watercolor – Copyright Lisa Brunetti

Walk with me through the gardens, and hopefully you’ll agree with my choice for this (above) watercolor study. Continue reading



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Quick! How does one mark the sun on the March Equinox?    Long Live Paint Brushes!

Quick! How does one mark the sun on the March Equinox? Long Live Paint Brushes!

Thank all of you for your kind comments on the last post, ´WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?¨  You´ve helped me wrestle my ego and lock it down where it won´t nudge me into trouble!   Tim- Forester Artist made me chuckle when he commented, ¨They waited until you left. I think they’re afraid of you!  ;)¨

P1680356 bodega doors paint brush

Mary, of Oil Pastels by Mary, triggered a big smile when she wrote, ¨Long live paint brushes!

Marina lightened the mood by stating, ¨…please don’t “retire your urban paintbrush”

I´ve always said that if one removes the ego from a conflict, the conflict usually vanishes.  It´s been hard to reconcile this one, as if someone doesn´t speak up for the voice of the artists, then…. what?    When does one watch from afar, and when does one become proactive?

Your feedback really helped keep this from beocming a burrrrrrr beneath my blanket, and I know first hand how loco that will make most horses!

These archive photos illustrate Mary´s point, and with a smile I present, ¨Long Live Paint Brushes! Continue reading

What Is Wrong With This Picture?


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luchy cafe net 01

Many of you will remember the extremely-popular (It Started With One Light Pole) post from 2012 that circulated round the world – more than once! Several periodicals pointed readers to this community project that was triggered by one lone light pole.

Just last week someone else featured this community event – (And did not ask to use my photos!) – I refrained from scolding them about using my photos, since this was about the locals in Jama and not about me.  The more the world read about those artists and about the positive things happening in Jama, the better.  Right?

For a refresher, see IT STARTED WITH ONE LIGHT POLE. (2012)

It Started With One Light Pole

It Started With One Light Pole

Looking better!

Looking better!

"It Started With One Light Pole"

“It Started With One Light Pole” – (Remember this view!)

One year later...

One year later…

I’ve enjoyed watching Luchy transform his petite little building into a work of art, and we sometimes smile and say, ‘It started with one light pole.” That lone post triggered two years’ worth of urban art.  I witnessed shy insecure young artists bud into confident ones.

But something is amiss this week, and I’m struggling with warring emotions.  Continue reading

Timeout for Art: Awaken Your Creative Voice!


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June Solstice - High noon on the equator!

June Solstice – High noon on the equator!

“Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What’s a sundial in the shade?” Benjamin Franklin

This quote by Franklin reflects two totally different themes that touched my life this week. One is an ongoing payback to a dear friend who owns Hostal Ciragan in Jama Ecuador. Because I have stayed with them so often over a seven-year period, she often refuses my money.

“Hmmmm. Two can play that game,” I smirked, and when possible, I leave behind a token, “Thank you” smile. Continue reading

Define Incongruent, Por Favor!


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Although there are thousands of egrets, comorants, frigates and pelicans in my neighborhood, one lone cocoi heron stands guard in front of the riverhouse.  Thanks, neighbor!

Although there are thousands of egrets, cormorants, frigates and pelicans in my neighborhood, today one lone cocoi heron stood guard in front of the riverhouse. Thanks, neighbor!

(Webster’s II – Office Edition 1984)
Incongruentadj. 1. Not congruent. 2. Incongruous
Incongruousadj – 1. Not corresponding: disagreeing  2.  Made up of diverse or discordant elements. 3. Unsuited to the surroundings or settings.
Congruentadj. 1. Corresponding: congruous.
Congruousadj – 1. /Corresponding in nature or kind.

Jama & El Matal Ecuador – February 2014
If this last bend of Rio Jama were populated with thousands of Cocoi Herons and few egrets, a different species might be featured above!   There’s something special about close encounters with elusive species.   On the first day of this year, the distinct call of the lone osprey whispered, ‘I’m back; did you miss me?” (Yes, I did!)

Roosting egrets at sunset  streak home in low light!

Roosting egrets streak home in low light!

Equally elusive is the lone Cocoi Heron, a pearl of a recluse that dodges society. At times this feathered beauty stands guard in the mud flats upriver, or it edges closer to the ibis and egrets that forage beneath the blue-green mangroves. Quite shy and untrusting, it soars away at the slightest hint of human presence. Today, however, this closest neighbor of mine stood guard slightly downriver from the house while rough-winged swallows flitted nearby!

Cocoi Heron Stands Guard

Cocoi Heron Stands Guard

Gazing out the other windows, I’ve observed a different scene for over a month. I’ve briefly mentioned this new activity, though I’ve tried to dismiss it; this daily intrusion sometimes lasts into the night. Continue reading

Beach Loss Reaches Critical Status; Community Unites


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Waving valiantly, this flag joins many along El Matal's fishing fleet. But many fishermen are not with their boats - they are attending the public meeting about their vanishing beach.

Waving valiantly, this flag joins many others in El Matal’s fishing fleet.
At noon on Valentine’s Day, many fishermen were not with their boats – they were attending the public meeting about their vanishing beach.

El Matal (Manabi) Ecuador

Residents of El Matal and concerned citizens from nearby areas displayed a united front at the public meeting to discuss the critical status of the eroding beach.   Engineer Daniel Santata, a coastal specialist, joined the Minister of Pescadores and the Director of Risk (Portoviejo), though the meeting began without the presence of Mayor/Alcade Alex Cevallos.

Where beach restaurants once stood,  a withering young palm stands guard while 70-plus locals gather for the community meeting.

Where beach restaurants once punctuated the public beach, a withering young palm stood guard while 70-plus locals gathered for the community meeting.

Because of difficulty in understanding sometimes rapid-fire Spanish, and straining to grasp what I heard through the outdoor acoustics, I apologize in advance for errors in translation.  The essence of the meeting follows.  Z Continue reading

Here, Birdie Birdie Birdie! Great Backyard Bird Count!


, , , , these are the last two days for the backyeard bird count!
These are the last two days for the Backyard Bird Count!

How Many Birds? The text field is not showing on the "New Post" page, but these photos should get the message to all of you!   Start counting birds!

How Many Birds?
The text field is not showing on the “New Post” page, but these photos should get the message to all of you!

How many feathered friends are awaiting your attention?  Start counting and share your results!

How many feathered friends are awaiting your attention? Start counting and share your results!

El Matal Middle and Upper End


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El Matal (Manabi) Ecuador – February 2014

While waiting for a bus connection, I’m pulling these photos out of draft status before rolling to home sweet jama! These photos were taken one week after the destructive tides that washed away most of the remaining beach. (See It’s Devastating)

Gallivanta continues her support with helpful feedback from across the Pacific  (New Zealand) – i am especially grateful for this radio interview with coastal scientist Jim Dahm:

The bus just rolled into town, so without any captions added to the photos, I share the images taken in front of El Matal “proper, past Coco Beach Village, and along a natural area. Continue reading

El Matal – The Southern End


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Community \meeting at Rau l      '           s

Heads up, Jama Residents:  Community meeting with officials at Raul’s Corner Restaurant – Tuesday February 11, 2014

El Matal Ecuador –  This past Friday, I walked almost the entire stretch of El Matal’s beach, from the southern end closest to the landmark of Punta Ballena to El Matal “Proper” and Coco Beach Village, past the site of the new Punta Ballena Development, through the river mouth (low tide) and stopped for a very late lunch at  the community of La Division.  I’ve surely earned the title of “Beach Inspector” for this past week!

Although I missed seeing the devastating high tides, the beach wears its scars from its battle with Mother Ocean.  The powerful waves stripped the sand beneath the thatched-roof bamboo structures that once sheltered the boats.  In the next assault, will she devour the road and advance to the houses and restaurants?



(Pardon me, but you’re blocking the road!) Where will the fishermen put their boats if the ocean destroys the road?

Overwhelmed with hundreds of photos, I’ll start with the southern end of the beach.  Walk with me  and enjoy the beauty while pondering the dilemma of the vanishing coastline. Continue reading


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