Portoviejo/Manabi Province/Ecuador – Thanks to the magic of scheduling a post to be published at a specified date and time, this should reach you when the inauguration of Nomadas en Ecuador begins. What follows is my ‘Artist’s Statement’ written specifically for this event. Enjoy! Continue reading
Years and years ago, my friend Dan Wise (Rio Colorado Lodge/Costa Rica Outdoors Magazine – Costa Rica) told me about a high-energy woman who made beautiful floor cloths in Costa Rica. “You should meet her, Lisa,” he urged.
Although we never met, I subscribed to Laurel’s Originals Newsletter and always look forward to seeing new designs and projects. Her June newsletter brought a jolt of a surprise; sometimes Life does indeed grant us very-personal gifts. See if you can spot what placed a huge smile in my heart:
Now enjoy some of her designs:
Here in Ecuador, Museo Portoviejo pushed back the date for the Nomadas en Ecuador Exposition; most likely it will open on July 5, although the showdates are coordinated through the Museum’s home base in Quito. That’s fine with me, as it gives me more time to work on paintings – or to give an old one a new look!
One night I worked until 5 in the morning and was so absorbed in my work that I did not notice the light-loving insects that were just over my shoulder!
Stepping out of my ‘tent’ area, I was greeted by thousands and thousands and thousands of those wispy little insects. Outside the windows, however, were that many ‘more’ to the 100th power! These ‘hatches’ (?) have happened twice in the past ten months I’ve lived here, and now the numbers have returned to normal!
The flora and fauna continue to grant lovely moments; the squirrels continue to raid the bananas! One has now earned my respect and compassion, as it seems to have a deformed front left foot.
The natural supply of bananas attracts the Brown Wood Rails for some very-easy photo ops, though the rails are pretty predictable to spot during the final half hour of each day. The forage briefly before crossing the yard and entering their private domain of thick cover.
When I first ‘discovered’ that the rarely seen or photographed Brown Wood Rails were my closest neighbors, I thought they were chickens! They often forage near the chickens – the same way that cattle and horses occupy the same tract of pasture. At times the sometimes-territorial chickens chase the Wood Rails, which dart from zero to lightning speed, which always gives me a chuckle! Other times the Wood Rails strut across the yard while pumping their stumpy tails, as if practicing for a parade performance! This area is home to the Brown Wood Rail and five other VIP bird species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Last week while watching the end-of-day activities of the Wood Rails, I suddenly realized that one small brown bird in the cast was not a Wood Rail! Camera – quick! – I managed three not-too-clear images, but good enough for identification.
The Little Tinamou, which often graces the area with its perfect-pitch and projected whistle; several mornings earlier it called from what seemed to be right outside the window. Usually a second one answers, and sometimes a third. About every 45 seconds it repeats the same tune, and several minutes later they go mute. Let’s close this post with the audio of of an ultra-strong whistle from a very-timid little bird:
After I listened to the Tinamou upload, Sound Cloud rolled me to an artist I follow. Enjoy some of the music that often plays when I paint late at night – if you feel exceptionally creative, start the Maassen tune on the Sound Cloud page, and then add the Tinamou from this one! Now THAT’s a sample of my work environment!
May your week be a good one! Thank you all for your support! Lisa
“For most of history, man has had to fight nature to survive; in this century he is beginning to realize that, in order to survive, he must protect it.” – Jacques-Yves Cousteau
Poza Honda-Manabi Province-Ecuador – The handsome Whooping Motmot is often the early bird of each day, though instead of getting worms, it enjoys eating bananas at the breakfast bar! It – and the Brown Wood Rails – are usually the last birds to visit as dusk fades into night. One of the Motmots has lost its ‘tip feathers’ on its unique tail! Even with a short tail, it’s a lovely bird!
The Brown Wood Rails make almost-daily appearances in the yard; they’re pretty predictable when ripe bananas are available!
You coffee lovers out there – how’s this for ‘pick your own’ coffee? This particular ‘escaped’ coffee tree is growing beside my home!
Upcoming events in Z’s life:
Nomadas en Manabi – a group show at Museo Portoviejo – June 29, 2018 (Portoviejo/Manabi/Ecuador)
Birds, Butterflies and Botanicals – solo show at Museo Portoviejo – October 24, 2018 – date has not been confirmed.
That’s all for this week’s smoke signal!
Poza Honda/ManabiProvince Ecuador – Have any of you ever added images to Google Earth-Maps? It’s always been interesting to peruse those images and explore areas that we know well or to ‘cyber travel’ to new destinations without leaving home! The Satellite Image option helped me fine-tune my search for a new place to live, and reference images were very helpful.
This past week on Google Earth, I entered some GPS points for where I live – before passing them along for scientific reasons; almost immediately I hit a glitch. I could not find a place to type the coordinates. Perhaps that option is somewhere on the page, but I did not find it. Next I looked for my pinned images, and they were gone! In fact, there were no pinned images to anything on the map. Towns and places of interest were marked by name only. The letters were small and difficult to see – and my laptop has a large screen!
Eventually I found the image option, which on my windows browser showed in a long horizontal strip at the bottom of the page. There were photos from different areas, and mine could not be accessed until scrolling east on the map, leaving the house site out of view. After I selected and enlarged one of my ‘popular’ images, a little arrow-type bar zipped from the photo and pointed into the middle of the lake! Ha, I had to laugh – it was several kilometers from the right location and was obviously submerged at the bottom of the reservoir!
Unable to drag it back in place via the old system that worked well, I opened a new window and did a search which took me to a Google Earth/Maps forum. Oh my, demons must have firmly attached themselves to those who make decisions for Google Earth/Maps, and they have made a lovely mess of what was once a well-managed site.
I moved to another quadrant that I know well – the area around Jama, and I remembered that someone had posted a picture of a Royal Poinciana/Flamboyant. I was curious to see if it still marked the correct spot. In real life, the tree was within view of where I once lived near the mouth of Rio Jama.
There were zero photos of that area, but there were new ones from 2018 of the community of La Division. Checking various photos in the town a few kilometers inland, I discovered that the lovely flaming Poinciana tree had been magically transplanted to Jama! (Jama, still recovering from the earthquake, could actually use several dozen of those lovely trees!) Continue reading
“TO go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society. I am not solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me. But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars. The rays that come from those heavenly worlds, will separate between him and what he touches.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson – from Nature
Today a friend shared news of a New-Year’s Day airline commuter crash in Costa Rica. The Corazalito airstrip was near where I once lived, and there are many great memories of that unique little welcome center, complete with thatched-roof ‘reception shack’ with original art on its facade. I’ve experienced those turbulent winds that often announce the change of the seasons, winds that grasp a pilot’s attention as well as the passengers’ attentions. Although I did not know any of the 12 people who died this past week, the news makes me reflect on the shattered lives of the families and loved ones – while reminding us that we only have this moment.
That news put me in a deeper reflective mood than normal, one that prompted this poor attempt to explain what’s been percolating in my psyche over the past few months.
(You have the right to excuse yourself from this reading room; those who choose to hang with me, I hope that the following makes sense…)
.. Continue reading
45. – “The painter should be solitary, and take note of what he sees and
reason with himself, making a choice of the more excellent details of
the character of any object he sees; he should be like unto the mirror,
which takes the colours of the objects it reflects. And this proceeding will seem to him to be a second nature.” – Leonardi da Vinci Thoughts on Art and Life – Translator/Maurice Baring via Gutenberg.org
Manabi Province- Ecuador – The past few weeks have been physically demanding as I’ve worked on renewing my passport and getting it ‘in hand’ (10 more years – yes!) and also finished the move from Casa Loca. Since the Dengue/chikungunya illness, my body needs more attentive time for recovering from these trips – as well as unpacking and resuming projects. Of course it could also be that I am not as young as I once was, and it’s part of the cycle of growing older!
My new home offers an amazing immersion in nature – with wrap-around windows with tree-top views like this:
There are always tasks at hand, so every day or so I take a timeout and walk the very-short distance to a little roadside pond. Sitting there, I quickly merge with nature and leave all thoughts behind… I do not think of the past or of tasks in the future. The surroundings bestow me with an acute attention to what’s in front of me – and behind me – and overhead!
The Chachalacas often lure me away from the house with their raucous calls that sometimes last for hours! There at the pond I often illustrate Leonardo’s approach (see above quote) for observing nature. I sit on one of two rocks and observe the subtle changes from day to day. Not only is my body recharging its batteries, but I am also engaging in a task that Leonardo describes as essential to the seriousness of an artist’s work. It’s also essential to the health of my soul!
What WAS that flash of red – and blue – and yellow?
The Ecuadorian Trogon and the Whooping Motmot provide eye-candy rewards for my quiet disconnect at the pond. They are two of a revolving cast of unique birds that visit this pond.
One can work from photos and capture a strong likeness to the birds, but when one studies the birds in their natural surroundings, it’s easier to capture the true essence. This is true for any slice of nature… only through hours of observation will one grasp the nuances of each subject.
Recently, through the gift of the online Gutenberg.org site, I downloaded and enjoyed reading Leonardo da Vinci’s “Thoughts on Art and Life” — it was as if I had been channeling his advice during my visits to the nearby pond! Here are more of Leonardo’s words paired with images from the little ‘healing pond’ at Casa Poza Honda. Continue reading
“We are not going in circles, we are going upwards. The path is a spiral; we have already climbed many steps.” -Hermann Hesse
The spiral design is one we’ve all drawn or doodled at one time or another. When I share with others the joy of drawing, we often start with drawing ‘tornadoes’ – a repetitive round and round and round type motion that helps us adjust to the pencil as well as slowing down our thoughts in an almost-hypnotic approach. After going around and round countless times, it’s almost effortless to then – with the same light touch – draw an ellipse.
Many times I find myself drawing spirals in that same easy-going style; not thinking of anything, I draw those flowing lines that spiral from outside to in – or inside to out. It’s like a form of meditation – no thought involved, just relaxed and soothing lines, a bit like watching a ballet or tapping into the natural flow of music. Sometimes a second set of lines wraps inside the other. There are times when my mood or life is less relaxed, and the fluid movements are replaced by geometric grids and cross hatching, as if my internal computer is analyzing every pixel while searching for the ones that need attention! Continue reading
“Going back in time at least as far as Plato there have been those who insisted that poets, and artists generally, are mad as hatters. Plato thought they were “inspired” and the Platonic dialogues are full of exchanges between Socrates and assorted poets and artists who are unable to explain to Socrates what exactly it is they do and what it is they claim to know. “ – Hugh Curtler
Well, you see, or maybe you don’t, because I cannot really articulate exactly what it is that I do or do not do – it’s more like asking why a cat suddenly tweaks its attention to an unseen entity two feet to its right – as it leaps skyward and moves laterally three feet to its left – it’s a spacial shift of inspiration that strikes when least expected, Continue reading
“Often, we try to repair broken things in such a way as to conceal the repair and make it “good as new.” But the tea masters understood that by repairing the broken bowl with the distinct beauty of radiant gold, they could create an alternative to “good as new” and instead employ a “better than new” aesthetic. They understood that a conspicuous, artful repair actually adds value. Because after mending, the bowl’s unique fault lines were transformed into little rivers of gold that post repair were even more special because the bowl could then resemble nothing but itself.” – Teresita Fernandez
Panama City-PANAMA – Like a stepchild that it is not, an impromptu project at Barb’s condo in Panama has been waiting in the queue of stories to share. After receiving another two-year nonresident visa to work in the arts, I was free to leave Ecuador without a lot of red tape to return. I first visited Costa Rica for a week, took care of personal business, visited with friends, and then on the return trip to Ecuador, bailed out in Panama to spend a week with Barbara.
Barbara is my amazing and tireless friend who is selfless when it comes to helping others. Here are images from some of her past visits, starting with when she helped create the Magic Carpet at Casa Loca.
Postscript: Last year’s earthquake altered that Casa Loca chapter. But let’s move on….
Barbara has helped me with SO MANY projects, and even if it were just a week, it was time to spend time with her. “I’ll be bringing my paint brushes,” I stated, “so be thinking of a project.” Continue reading
“The joy in life comes from doing your own thing.” — Bob Ross
Near Playa San Miguel/Pueblo Nuevo de Bejuco – Costa Rica.
A counter top makeover quickly morphed into a totally-different style for a guest house outdoor-style kitchen. The original was painted about six or seven years ago and had seen much use. It deserved a renaissance treatment with fresh paint! It was easy to spot the areas of heavy use, and we tossed around ideas for dodging similar problems in the future. Hank and Marie have decided to put this part of their property on the market, and the counter top was one of few things that needed attention. See: “A Little Monkey Told Me” for a sneak peek.
We enjoyed passing many tranquil hours – in the zen of painting in harmony and at times making room for others to help as well. Thanks Patty and Wendy for your help!
From Dictionary.com : Amble “verb (used without object), ambled, ambling.
1. to go at a slow, easy pace; stroll; saunter:
He ambled around the town.
2. (of a horse) to go at a slow pace with the legs moving in lateral pairs and usually having a four-beat rhythm.
3.an ambling gait.
4.a slow, easy walk or gentle pace.
“We ought to take outdoor walks, to refresh and raise our spirits by deep breathing in the open air.” — Seneca
In the past three weeks I’ve been from Ecuador to Costa Rica and back via a stopover in Panama to visit my friend Barb. These were quick-but-very rewarding visits that combined ‘business’ with pleasure. Comparing the three countries, I definitely give Costa Rica and Panama the top scores for quality of internet!
Panama wins on shopping opportunities as well as the dramatic skyline contest… Continue reading
Trompe o’leil – ” an art technique that uses realistic imagery to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects exist in three dimensions. Forced perspective is a comparable illusion in architecture. “
Years ago, my friend Xavier Cevallos walked into my studio and stated, “I can never tell what’s real and what’s painted! I’m always afraid I’m going to step on something.” We were looking at a painting in progress, which was on the hand-painted floor – a painted illusion on top of another illusion.
Just recently my friend Dady Quadrado expressed a statement that made me laugh – yet it also made me more sensitive to the subject matter that’s painted. She did not want to sit on a sofa in Cafe Palo Santo because I had painted a little gecko near the top of a big logo painted on the space behind the sofa.
She explained, “I know it’s paint, but it looks so real that I am scared that it might drop off and fall on me!”
“Counting prayers while fingering beads is a universal use. The idea behind this lies in the nature of repetition that soothes like a lullaby. It is calming and introspective.” – Manuela Dunn Mascetti
Presently I’m visiting friends in Costa Rica and volunteered to re-work a design that was painted on the guest-house kitchen counter. They have decided to put part of their property on the market, and this guest house is part of that parcel. The counter deserved some attention!
My plans were to ‘patch’ the stained and damaged areas, but while scrubbing, sanding, then filling in the lost areas with splotches of white paint, I was inspired with new ideas. One problem with the previous design was that it was unforgiving and showed all stains and wear. There are now more options for protecting the surface, so the new work should last a very long time.
When Marie finished her other work and walked down to see how I was doing, I presented the “new idea. ” She wondered if it would consume too much time, but we decided to do a sample. She watched as I
mixed dumped red, blue and yellow to the white already in the container and eventually hit a color that matched the hues of the ceramic floor…
“In oneself lies the whole world and if you know how to look and learn, the door is there and the key is in your hand. Nobody on earth can give you either the key or the door to open, except yourself.” -J. Krishnamurti
Quito Ecuador – This past week Miguel, owner of Hotel Andino, sent an email to warn me to expect ‘something different’ for my one-night stay. When I arrived, Miguel explained that they were full with an out-of-town group of business people, but there was one option. He seemed hesitant, and I said that I loved surprises –“… Show me the space!”
We went into the main part of the house, and I wondered where in the world an extra room could be, and then we stepped toward a petite door located beneath the staircase. Like a child, I grinned and waited for Miguel to open the door. Continue reading
Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.’ Source: Lao Tzu —
Thanks TWICE to Eddie Two Hawks for two inspirational quotes in a row! eddietwohawks.wordpress.com
The owners of the cabanas probably think I am sleeping, but in fact, I’m following the above advice to write today’s Timeout Post. After selecting, “Publish” I’ll return to the project.
Project? What project?
Ladies and Gentlemen; step inside!
Jama Ecuador — “Leeee-sah!” Fernando quietly called from outside my cabana door. “Do you have the key?”
Approaching the 8 A.M. work hour, Fernando needed the key to open the gates to Kahlua 7.8, a discotheque he is bringing out of hibernation. The disco was always called, “Kahlua,” but the 7.8 links all comrades who experienced last year’s earthquake.
I opened the door, smiled and replied, “It’s hanging on the hot-water spigot on the water machine.’
“Oh!” He chuckled; the first person in the outdoor kitchen usually turns on the hot water option for tea or coffee… With his always-present smile, he added, “Excuse me – now go back to sleep!”
Five hours earlier under a stunning Carl-Sagan sky, I drove into the hostal parking lot just before the roosters announced the approaching dawn. Before retreating to my cabana, I pondered the best place to leave the key.
I had last seen Fernando the night before at his brother’s Palo Santo Cafe. We failed to discuss that detail when he handed me the key and said, “We are finished for the night. The lights are set up for you. Paint as long as you’d like.”
With a mischievous grin I replied, “You’re giving me the keys? And I have all night to paint? Oh my, you might be in for a shock when you show up for work in the morning!” Continue reading
“You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers this morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth, what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation….” — Joseph Campbell
Ecuador – Every so often someone offers a mirror, and we see ourselves through another’s eyes. That happened this week via Dennis Koenig aka Balsamean’s blog. Thank you again, Dennis, for an exceptionally-written ‘About the Artist’ review; I remain humbled.
Here’s his post
“Is that ME he’s talking about?”
His kind words inspired me to finish organizing words and images on an incubating website that showcases my art.
‘There was an ole artist who lived in a canoe… she had so many paintings, she didn’t know what to do!’ Pencil, Museum Studies, Flora, Fauna, Whimsical, Contemporary, Hand-painted Floors – it will take a while to lasso the offspring and tweak their placement in this eclectic family tree of art!
The ‘Portfolio’ site starts HERE: SKETCHBOOK NOTES
This week’s art is still growing, but a new member of the family tree is ready for a pre-party viewing. Meet “Abuelito” Grandfather Ceibo: Continue reading
“I spread out my map under a tree and made up my mind to go through Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia to Florida, thence to Cuba, thence to some part of South America; but it will be only a hasty walk…
I wandered away on a glorious botanical and geological excursion, which has lasted nearly fifty years and is not yet completed, always happy and free, poor and rich, without thought of a diploma or of making a name, urged on and on through endless, inspiring Godful beauty.John Muir — The Story of My Boyhood and Youth (1913),
Like John Muir, I had a childhood dream, but mine was to live in Argentina’s pastoral Pampas region, painted so lovely in my fifth-grade geography book. I wanted to raise quarter horses and ride the pampas like those gaucho cowboys!
Those Mississippi-childhood dreams faded, though every so often I was wistful to live in the Neotropics, home to exotic botanical specimens I thirsted to see in person, where locals conveniently used large tropical leaves for impromptu umbrellas and where heliconias soared to the moon.
The road less traveled eventually delivered me to Central America and then Ecuador, places where the temperatures never dipped below freezing – unless I desired to visit the peaks of Chimborazo, Cotopaxi or other high-altitude landmarks that dot South America’s Andean spine.
There are times when I enjoy an eye-to-eye inspection of those exotic plants, and by capturing their likeness with pencil or water media, I discover minute details that otherwise might be missed. I always walk away with deeper respect for the plant and its support cast of companions.
There are times when I toss the scientific seriousness aside and allow the personality of the subject to emerge. These always bring great mischievous joy, as if freeing a personality that was trapped by a long-ago wicked spell. Most people can easily spot the human spirit in Ecuador’s Ceibo trees Ceiba trichistandra.
Presently I’m in the tropical dry forest, where for half a year the climate is humid with bi-polar rainfall, depending on moods of the nearby Pacific waters. The rainy season weans into the dry season, and many trees go into a dormant stage.
It is in this section of Ecuador’s coast where the gigantic Ceibo trees join forces with the much-smaller Palo Santo. These two trees leave lasting imprints on those who bond with the flora and fauna of the area.
‘What is that unique sweet smell?’ people might ask. Many times it’s the subtle aroma of a just-bruised branch of Palo Santo. The dried ‘holy’ wood is burned to repel mosquitoes as well as to clean a room of heavy energies or bad spirits.
Recently my friend Luchi and I began work on a painting of a Palo Santo tree, which grows along Ecuador’s Pacific coast. He presented some photos he hoped to work with, and we inspected two trees growing in the hostal gardens. I began the painting as he watched, and then he joined the painting session! Continue reading
“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.” ― Pascal Mercier
Quito Ecuador – Returning to Hotel Andino is always a pleasure, and I am able to rest, run errands and almost always take a Timeout for Art.
Tucked on the back corner of the second floor landing, Room #7 offers a sweet little nest for one. A small built-in wall unit makes me wonder what the room’s original purpose was, and I suspect that the towel-rack area in the bathroom was once a doorway.
Each time I return, I hope that Room #7 is available for another Timeout for Art. Continue reading
Jama Ecuador – “Lee-sah,” my friend Nieve said when I stepped out of my cabana, “We were calling you and thought you were gone!”
With a bit of a shell-shocked gaze, I laughed and said I could hear nothing over the sound of the construction.
Just behind my cabana, workers have been working day and night on one of many ‘relief-house’ projects for those who are still living in tents. Ground shaking machines prepare the new areas before portable concrete mixers belt out their own source of background music. Workers tackle each house with amazing skill and seem to work in harmony, even if the noise level tested my patience.
Whenever I found myself getting frustrated about the noise, I reminded myself, “These sounds are like music to those who will wean from a tent to one of these houses.” Yes, if I had been living in a tent for over a year, those sounds would represent an upgrade in my life. Continue reading
“Please be a traveler, not a tourist. Try new things, meet new people, and look beyond what’s right in front of you. Those are the keys to understanding this amazing world we live in.” Andrew Zimmern
Ecuador – As a child growing up in the Misssippi Delta, I was painfully shy and dreaded interactions with strangers. A loner, I thrived when roaming the outdoors, inspecting wildflowers along ditch banks or immersed in the dense canopy of the woodlands, where I might sit for hours in hushed tranquility.
I am grateful for young-adult opportunities of teaching art as well as speaking to groups as ‘A Gardening Artist.’ I realized that we all have strengths and weaknesses, and that unique threads connect us all. Slowly I grew comfortable with interacting with strangers, and now I embrace those opportunities to know my fellow man.
Quito Ecuador – “Lisa, how much does it cost to stay at Hotel Andino?” my friend Stephen asked a few weeks ago.
“I don’t know – I don’t remember,” I replied, “It’s been a long time since I paid to stay there…”
He laughed, and I gave a quick summary. Their sweet hotel has many opportunities for touches of art, and we trade art for the hotel costs.
Recently I stayed in room #5 which is quite lovely, and there were several areas that seemed perfect for original splashes of art. Years ago another artist painted the hummingbird and flower in the bathroom, but the hotel’s well-scrubbed maintenance and new applications of white paint slowly altered the design. A bit of mildew also lurked around and beneath the pale colors. Continue reading
“Any fool can destroy trees. They cannot run away; and if they could, they would still be destroyed — chased and hunted down as long as fun or a dollar could be got out of their bark hides, branching horns, or magnificent bole backbones. .” — John Muir
Sometimes a work of art ‘just happens’ as if some invisible hand guides the process. Everything aligns as if magically orchestrated.
Othertimes a work of art requires preparation and homework, which starts as a spacial gathering of information and honing that data until clarity guides the artist forward.
The Muir quote has always fired my imagination, and I pictured trees frowning in disgust or wide-eyed with fear of being felled or even timidly hiding and peering from behind rocky facades. While pondering ways to illustrate the quote, I began seeking out and studying the twisted growth of mature guava trees – cousins to crepe myrtles – to merge the illusion of limbs and antlers. Continue reading
“Any fool can destroy trees. They cannot run away; and if they could, they would still be destroyed — chased and hunted down as long as fun or a dollar could be got out of their bark hides, branching horns, or magnificent bole backbones. .” — John Muir
Thank you for your positive feedback on the post, In Celebration of Trees! The tree theme continues with a rollback to last March when my friend Barbara helped with improving the trails. We selected many nature-related quotes then had fun painting signs on rainy days.
Here are photos from last year’s signs:
“Hummingbird teaches us to transcend time, to recognize that what has happened in the past and what might happen in the future is not nearly as important as what we are experiencing now. It teaches us to hover in the moment, to appreciate its sweetness.” – Constance Barrett Sohodski
Barbara/aka Hummingbird not only helped with painting signs; she also helped transform some of the trails.
Before selecting a board for the John Muir quote, I tossed around ideas for illustrating the message then decided that a board was too small. It deserved to be a more-serious work of art.
The other creatures with which we share this world have their rights too, but not speaking our language, they have no voice, no vote; it is our moral duty to take care of them. – Roger Tory Peterson
Mindo Ecuador – Sentinels of our communties, trees posses a strong power. They plant their feet firmly and stretch their arms toward the heavens as if tickling the sky. Horizontal branches provide support for a child’s dreamy afternoon respite or a house cat or even a jaguar! In the Neotropics, trees provide a unique ecosytem, where bromeliads, orchids, vines and ferns provide food and shelter for insects, birds, reptiles, mammals, etc. The dense shade cloaks the ground with welcome relief from extreme heat. Ah, who hasn’t expressed gratitude when stepping beneath the canopy of a large tree on a sultry day?
One friend long ago mentioned ‘custom harvesting’ a tract of land, and he knew that it bothered me. He explained, “But the trees are going to die anyway, so we might as well harvest them while the wood can be used. ”
I mentioned the dead trees’ importance and reminded him that dead trees were important habitat for the presumed-extinct Ivory-billed Woodpecker. “Where will YOUR chidren take their children to see a really-big tree?”
This past week while sorthing through old drawings and sketches, I paused when reviewing three or four pages of attempts to illustrate a quote. Then Rebecca Budd /Clanmother shared a quote about trees, which nudged me into bringing that sketch to life.
Those lovely sentinels watch over us, yet many times we forget to acknowledge their presence or worth.
Join me in this celebration of trees! Continue reading
“It was amazing what an hour with her sketchpad could do for her mood. She was sure that the lines she drew with her black marker were going to save her years of worry lines in the future.” ― Victoria Kahler, Their Friend Scarlet
Cosanga Ecuador – Napo Province – See Map
The Pachamama Birding Group also brought treats for the teacher… Really really really-nice treats! Watercolor paper! Brushes! Sharpie Markers – not used ones like at my drawing table, but brand-new ones with precise points!!!! But that’s for another post. Check below to see the view from the table where I took a 30-minute personal timeout for art:
… While the ladies were out birding, the two boys and I sat on the front porch for an impromptu art lesson.
Please join me as they experience a fresh pad of drawing paper while they discover the magic of a well-sharpened pencil. Continue reading
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.” Steve Jobs
With great pleasure, I’d like to introduce you to seven new feathered friends that have given me great joy! They can definitely be classified as ‘endemic” and are quite rare; they thrive in a very petite ecosystem in Mindo Ecuador.
Only one of these hybrid species has a name; the Purple-crested Puffball might be petite, but it is a bundle of perpetual energy. The rest are waiting for names, and I hope that some of you will help with suggestions!
“Art is the signature of civilizations.”- Beverly Sills
(Ecuador) Using my.yahoo.com as email provider home page, I view the most-recent emails, the 5 top news stories, news of Ecuador/Latin America, weather stats for specific locations, and science and arts stories. The custom page provides a quick summary of the day’s pulse when I log onto the internet.
One column features amazing works of art, and whenever possible I follow that link and savor Lines & Color’s ‘Eye Candy’... This week featured a black rectangle to illustrate a more-serious post. Please take time to read Charley Parker’s Lines & Colors Is On Strike Today –
From Lines & Colors: “…Yes, it’s a small, mostly symbolic gesture, but so are the recently announced plans by the incoming administration to eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting…”
I pondered how to share my own thoughts regarding the importance the arts play in our world. The best option seems to illustrate with images from old posts, where art played a large role in bringing people together while introducing them to the magic of self discovery.
We’ll start in Jama Ecuador, where locals are still recovering from the earthquake. I am not sure if this tree is still there, but in the past, the whimsical art continued to smile at those who considered looking up…. Continue reading
Kris Cunningham, who lives in the Republic of Panama, shared a ‘4-Minutes Experiment’ video that greatly affected me. Follow the link, open the video in the largest format possible, get still and very quiet, then select ‘play.’
“Do not judge—or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?” Matthew 7:1-4.
What surprised me were the negative comments on the video’s Youtube page. I pondered my own story, one of being embraced by the people of various Latin American countries. I did not have to prove my worth – they accepted me into their communities with amazing trust. Thank goodness they have not judged me based on negative PR regarding the USA, whether it’s caused by a single tourist or the military or our administration.
Sometimes we fill our days with too much chatter, when the best way for two people to communicate is eye to eye — or soul to soul. Continue reading
“You will fail many times but in failing you’ll learn and in learning you’ll find your way. Remember, there are no mistakes in life but only lessons, and lessons will keep on repeating until learned.” Paulo Coelho
Mindo Ecuador – The tragedy of last year’s earthquake has had an unusual effect on me; my patience and tolerance, thanks to several challenging lessons, have strengthened. A project-in-progress for the ‘Artist’s Nest’ has tested that statement!
Two local workers have been helping with a 3-day project that has stretched into eight. If I sweep the sawdust and debris five times, there’s always a sixth, and most likely a seventh, though at the end of the day these two sweet workers clean the entire area well before leaving.
When I grab the broom to sweep the steps yet again, I find that I don’t sigh and say to myself, “Again…” or get frustrated at redundant tasks. I think, “What those people who have no home would do to have this problem!” In addition to lessons learned via my nephew Don, “While the Worlld Outside My Window Goes Insane” , I think of those on the Pacific coast that lost so much, and I ‘Let it go’ instantly.
Whoosh! Gone. Not worth it. That post (above) connects me back via the photo tribute to Don; with 124 comments, it’s surely one of the most popular ones for inspiration.
And the lack of stress and frustration is genuine! There’s no psyching myself into trying to dump the stress; it’s never allowed residence or even a Timeout Corner as each day brings new surprises.
The workers are so kind and sweet, and Perejil (a nickname) does amazing work. He’s very patient and goes to great details, so the work has taken longer than expected. It’s worth the extra days, and in the story of my day, my week, my life, what is important is the quality of each day — and each day as been crammed with positive experiences.
Are you curious to see the project in progress? Put on your hard hat, as there’s no hand rail, the main reason this project began! Continue reading
There is no surer method of evading the world than by following Art, and no surer method of linking oneself to it than by Art. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
An online ‘special preview’ approaches for all of you who have patiently endured my erratic postings. My hands have been full with lots of tasks – many of them have been highly-creative ones! I’ve not had time for full-time painting, but you’ve earned a sneak peek!
Sometimes it’s easy to go into an intense focus, and studies seem to shine best against a stark background. The butterflies above illustrate when ‘all is calm’ in Zeebra’s life. Other times when distractions nudge me out of focus, I switch to a totally-different style — one that makes me smile and demands a different approach. An old Artist’s Statement of mine stated, “Two people live inside of me…” Here’s a sample of that second person: Continue reading
Greetings to all on this USA day of Thanksgiving. In strong contrast to those affected by world-wide unstable weather, I spent the early morning helping with finishing touches on a mural-painting “minga” near Mindo’s central park. Students, teachers and artists worked in easy harmony over the past few days while all-but perfect sunny skies smiled upon us.
Although the experience filled me with gratitude for these lovely people who embrace foreigners into their culture, my thoughts have also been tweaked to equally-loving people in Central America who are and will be affected by Otto’s late-November visit to the area. Continue reading
“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.” – Mary Lou Cook
Once upon a time, long long ago, a precious four-year old burst into tears when the art teacher stepped into his classroom on the second week of school. “Art?” little Sam whimpered, “My mother didn’t tell me about art….” He cried and cried and eventually stopped — about the time class was over for the day.
A week passed, and I again disrupted his normal routine, and he cried again.. Not so much, but my presence made him uncomfortable… He cried during the first part of class, but then calmed. I think by the third week he accepted this strange interuption and in another month, he embraced the concept of art and all of the surprises that the art teacher shared with his four-year old peers. I often said that teaching those four-year olds was a bit like jugging one too many balls; their attention spans were short, so I tried to provide many options each week to hold their interests …
Four years later when that same cluster of students was drawing one of their classmates who sat in one lone chair in the middle of the room, I silently marveled, “Wow.. they are getting a likeness, not just an icon, and they probably should not have the skills to do this at this age – but no one has told them that they couldn’t… and Mrs. B believes in them – therefore they did it – and did it well!” Continue reading
Follow the link below to view the paintings submitted for the SURPRISE Quito benefit that opens on the 22nd of this month….Can you figure out which painting is mine?
From their website: SURPRISE Quito, artAZ’s inaugural benefit exhibition for the support of Desafio Ecuador’s work for the relief of the Ecuador earthquake victims, will open at Galeria Artik, between 22-24 September 2016. A
There is still time for any artist in Ecuador to submit a 20 x 25 (8 x 10) painting – just remember to sign it on the back so the creator remains a surprise… The link above gives the info for submitting the image via email and also for details for sending the art to Quito asap!
The weeks continue to be busy, and the new owners of the property will arrive at the end of this month!
Signing off til later this week,
Some men, like a wet dog, sprinkle a shower of advice over you when you are least prepared for a bath. AUSTIN O’MALLEY
While perusing lots of serious quotes about advice, this one (above) made me laugh; I hope that it gave you a chuckle as well!
This painting of local butterflies evolves a little each day. There are times when I am tired and don’t have 100 percent concentration, but I try to discipline myself to pick up the pencil or brush and dabble. There are about a dozen paintings in various stages, all waiting for my attention!
This painting evolves without the aid of preliminary pencil – I study the butterfly in hand or else a photo, dip the paint brush in a watered-down color and wash in the basic areas. The fine details evolve with each new layer of washes, starting with watercolor style and then thicker and finally meticulous attention to detail. Most every evening when I push back and eye the painting from afar, I think, “There’s no way this is ready to be shown for Timeout for Art!”
Even though this will evolve into a strong painting, I know that’s it’s hard for many people to see an unfinished painting and see it as that – a painting in progress. There are times, like when we look our worst and answer the knock at the door, we wish we’d had had a warning. Continue reading
” Looking outside ourselves for our lives to change is like looking into a mirror and waiting for the mirror to make the first move” – Christen Lynn – Sourcing the Life you Love…
Pairing art with mirrors is a fun and rewarding way to inject personality into your home and gardens. When Barbara and I painted signs for the trails, the entire process was fun, from discussing possible names for different areas to tossing around ideas for signs.
We had ideas for many more signs, but we were far from the nearest Playamart and scrap pieces of wood for more signs!
Mirror design doesn’t have to be whimsical. After studying the ceramic designs in the bathroom, I added this border to the mirror. (below)
The above mirror frame was painted last year when I visited Jim and Julie at their property where I am now living. Not only does the mirror enhance the bathroom area, but I am also transported via memories to our time together. Julie is still in the hospital in Nebraska and will see this post. (Hi Julie! Get well Pronto!)
The following photos represent diverse options for using mirrors in your home and gardens. Enjoy!