“I’ll start with small things.”—Vincent van Gogh
Jama, Manabi, Ecuador
Looking out the window and over the river and across the shrimp ponds, I often gaze toward the little pueblito of La Division. About a half hour’s walk from the riverhouse, La Division retains a refreshing authenticity that many coastal communities have lost.
With that authenticity comes the ‘manana’ attitude, and the 2 o’clock classes usually don’t begin until 3. Paying customers trump art class, and sometimes Nely prepares lunches, insists on serving me the family special, then scrubs her kitchen squeaky clean before switching to student mode. On sunny days I usually order a cold cervesa and sit back and absorb the tranquil vibe and practice the Ecuadorian lifestyle!
Rossi commutes from Jama to La Division each day as the sole teacher for the petite “elementary’ school. Some days she is finished before two, and other days she works late. She and Nely consistently attend the drawing and painting class, and I remain humbled by their quest to absorb and master what I have to share.
Every so often during a demonstration, Nely and Rossi eagerly begin practicing before I am finished. “Ninas!” I patiently retort, “Mira – watch this…”
Sometimes one learns much faster by watching and then attempting the same techniques. Other times it’s best to let them swim, then toss a flotation device when they realize they’re a bit over their heads!
Quite rapidly they’re advancing, and I’m very proud to spend these few hours each week with my newest students!
My computer’s internal battery has died, so I’m totally offline unless writing from a cybercafé. Weighing the costs of a new battery to prolong a tired old burro-notebook or waiting a month to purchase a new one, I choose to touch base each week via cybercafé and hobble along until September.
There are many computer-free distractions to keep me busy until then!
Have a great weekend, everyone, and take a small timeout for art!