“Drawing is the backbone. It is no good having a lovely sense of light and color if there isn’t the firm foundation underneath.” (Alexander Creswell)
This past week found me in the cloud-forest community of Mindo Ecuador. The hostal where I normally stay was closed, and someone pointed me down the street to a flower-draped hostal beyond “Hostal Charito.” The owner of Hostal Charito and I shared eye contact, and there was something in her posture or her eyes that nudged me to her door.
I asked if she had a room (yes she did) and how much ($12.50 with breakfast) and if they had wifi (yes) so I followed her up the stairs to see the room and agreed that it was perfect for my road-weary body! I looked forward to taking a time out in the squeaky-clean hostal.
My two-day stay extended to four, and as I ebbed and flowed over the next few days, I pondered what might draw more walk-in guests. Iliana’s hostal was one of the first on ‘Colibri” Street. (Colibri: Hummingbird) Around the subtle bend were other hostals with more flowers as well as the bodega area for the rafting tours.
After breakfast one morning, I showed Iliana the butterfly studies I had painted. I suggested that Iliana put a bright colorful sign to the right of her door – at eye level. One that suggested, “Happy people live here!” I sketched the idea and told her that I had paints and brushes, all she needed to do was find a slab of wood!
She had a sheet of very thin plywood, and we drew the dimensions for a new sign, then she held the plywood while I cut along the lines with her slightly-broken hand saw! We sanded the edges, and she prepped the board while I left for a late lunch. When I returned, she watched in awe as I drew the design on the board. I suspected if I handed her a brush, she would help! (Place your bets!)
Whenever I’m tackling a new project, I select non-intrusive background music. My favorite ‘zone-out’ music: Dirk Maassen. (Thanks Carlos/1Cruz del Sur for this treasure!)
We warmed up on the stripes, then with the drawing in place, Iliana and her daughter filled in the colors while I worked on the letters. A second coat of purple made the colors pop!
Would you consider staying here? Does the sign add curb appeal?
Even a simple line drawing can take flight and transform an area while placing a smile in one’s heart. The “Happy People Live Here” sign became a reality because we took a timeout for art!
(Happy Fourth of July to those of you in the USA!)