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Mexico Travel Journal Winter 2017 p26

To get to Puerto Vallarta to catch our flight back to the States, we broke our journey into two days.  We took the ETN bus to Guadalajara and spent another night at the Hotel Dali, then took our final bus ride to Puerto Vallarta, again staying at the quaint Hotel Bellmar. We like to stay on the top floor, which is a huge grunt with luggage, but the view is worth the climb.  We stay in Viejo Vallarta Centro, so no beach views.  Instead one looks out on the busy, colorful street life.

Our flight was scheduled to leave at 4:30, so that gave us time to make one last drawing before leaving Mexico.  I took many photos of street life, charmed by the papeles banners, the shiny piñata-like sculpture banners, and other handicrafts Mexicans create to celebrate life.  I captured Calle Iturbide, an appropriate ending to my Mexico sketch journal.  (Iturbide was another revolutionary independence hero.)  The view is looking toward the ocean.  The street ends in a plaza on the beach where many artists display their work.  I wanted the emphasis of this drawing to be on the banners, so I eliminated the ocean view.  I chose to add paint only to the banners to further emphasize the celebratory theme of this ink drawing.

photo collage left to right/ top to bottom:  Tlaquepaque street view with shiny miller piñatas, Puerto Vallarta papeles,  Ajijíc papeles & street vendor, door knocker San Miguel de Allende, door knocker Pátzcuaro, veterinary clinic Ajijíc, antique bicicletas at the tire shop in San Miguel de Allende, street musicians Pátzcuaro, street view San Miguel Deb Allende.

Watercolors Accepted to Colorado Visions

Paintings selected by juror, Sheri Farabaugh for 21th Annual Colorado Visions Exhibition of Art

May 1-31, 2018

Opening Reception May 10, 5:30-7:30

Westminster City Hall;  4800 W. 92nd Ave; Westminster, CO

Below is a short background to the paintings, “No Hoof; No Horse” and “Orchid’s Glow.”

No Hoof; No Horse

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“No Hoof, No Horse” copyright C Isgreen  $500

tells the story of skill and craft behind the farrier’s art of hot shoeing.  A farrier carefully trims each hoof, then shapes each horseshoe to ensure comfort, balance, and performance.  Skilled work by talented farriers enhance the movement of sport horses, provide therapy for rehab horses, and prolong soundness for pleasure horses.   The painting captures the drama when a hot shoe is placed on a horse’s hoof to test for fit.  This painting spotlights the incredible trust horses place in their human partners.

Orchid’s Glow

Orchid's Glow

is a study in light.  Light reveals color and form.  The backlit forms of the orchids give the illusion of a glow from within each flower.  This semi-abstract composition puts the emphasis on design first and subject matter second.  Deep rich color give the painting harmony.  Strong movement and contrast provide interest.

2018 Exhibitions

It looks like this summer will be busy with numerous exhibitions and shows.  First on tap is the Colorado Watercolor Society 2018 juried exhibition.  This year the show was juried by Robbie Laird, NWS.  Robbie is currently the president of the National Watercolor Society.

My entry, “Break in the Clouds, Nicaragua,” was accepted for exhibition.  This painting is available for purchase through this link.

Colorado Watercolor Society
2018 STATE WATERCOLOR EXHIBITION
May 12 to June 27, 2018
Library 21c, Pikes Peak Library District, 1175 Chapel Hills Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80920
Opening & Reception May 12, 2PM-5PM
Juror: Robbie Laird

Break in the Clouds (1)

“Break in the Clouds, Nicaragua” watercolor by Cheri Isgreen; framed size 20″ x 16″ $350

To learn more about this painting, visit this link

Upcoming March Workshop at Ah Haa School for the Arts, Telluride, CO

Time to register for POURED WATERCOLOR with Cheri Isgreen

Fri-Sun March 23-25 10 am – 4 pm. $355

Forgo the brush & experiment with the process of pouring watercolor to produce looser paintings with unique results. Learn pigment rules & pouring techniques, as well as color theory, composition, & strategies for successful painting. Learn how pouring watercolors in a series of glazes allows depth of color to develop while preserving underlying layers and enhancing luminosity. Experience how poured watercolor fosters a wide range of spontaneous colors while maintaining the harmony of a limited palette. All levels of painters welcome, including first-time watercolorists. Extra support for new painters and design challenges for experienced artists will be provided.

REGISTER FOR POURED WATERCOLOR

Queretaro

Santiago de Queretaro es una cuidad con mucha historia, cultura, y belleza…

Three days in Santiago de Queretaro, the capital city of Queretaro, is not enough time to experience all its history, culture, and beauty. A Unesco World Heritage site, the city central remains a pristine jewel of Baroque and neoclassical structures, with world class music in a variety of styles heard on every plaza and jardin, masterful handicrafts, and gardens tastefully landscaped with jaw-dropping tropical flowers. Known by the 17th Century as the “Pearl of the Bajio,” S de Queretaro continues to flourish to this day. It is recognized as having the highest quality of living and is the safest city in all Mexico.

Like Dolores Hidalgo, Queretaro boasts a historic role in Mexico’s struggle for independence. Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez, wife of Queretaro’s Mayor in the early 1800’s, is revered as the Mother of Independence. Using her prominent position and influence to gather intelligence, her home was used to plan and support the insurgency which resulted in Hidalgo’s “el Grito,” cry for independence in Dolores Hidalgo, launching Mexico’s struggle for independence against Spain.

Each city block contains mostly restored and preserved Colonial buildings and churches, each grander than the last. The main streets, along with the andadoras, (pedestrian walkways), are lined with plazas, gardens, fountains, open-air cafes, street artists, and musicians in colorful arrays of rich culture to saturate one’s senses.

Ink drawing

San Luis Potosí

Last night we returned from a weekend in the colonial city and capital seat of San Luis Potosí. Founded in 1592, El Centro abounds with stunning architecture in a variety of styles including Moorish domes, ornate Baroque, and stately neo-classical, (to name just a few). Named a Unesco World Heritage site, the city appeals to both visitors’ and citizens’ aesthetic senses. El Teatro de Paz, a palatial neoclassical period theater, seats 1200 patrons. World-class museums abound, including Museo de la Mascara, a three story, fully restored Baroque government building, exhibiting masks from around the world. Lavish cathedrals, encircled by manicured gardens, elegant plazas, and tinkling fountains dot each city block . La Calzada de Guadalupe, a tree-lined pedestrian boulevard, leads the faithful from El Centro to the Basilica de Nuestra Senora Guadalupe. Music is celebrated throughout the streets. We were treated to open air opera arias, Latin jazz fusion, Chicago blues with a Mexican twist, a kids’ percussion band complete with homemade instruments, and traditional Mexican music. The International Chocolate festival, running the weekend we visited, featured some of the best chocolate I have ever eaten, along with beautiful chocolate sculptures and displays, all housed in a sumptuous neoclassical edifice from the 1800’s.

A weekend in the city of San Luis Potosí is not nearly enough time to explore all the city has to offer. We are already planning a return trip next year.

Plaza Aranzazu; ink drawing

Check out this travel guide with photos: San Luis Potosí

Dolores Hildalgo, Guanajuato

La cuna de la independencia………..the cradle of Mexican independence

We spent last weekend in Dolores Hildalgo, where the Mexican struggle for independence began. Our hotel room overlooked the Gran Jardin de Independencia Plaza Principal and the famous church, Nuestra Senora de los Dolores. It was on the steps of this church that Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costello uttered his famous cry for independence on September 16, 1810, sparking the beginning of Mexico’s struggle for independence. Known as el Grito de Dolores, each Mexican president reenacts the cry on the eve of Independence Day. Benito Juarez later declared the plaza be dedicated to Father Hidalgo. Around 10PM Sunday night, a multimedia presentation was projected on the facade of the church. With our balcony, we had the “best seats in the house!”

We visited many historical sites and museums. Dolores Hidalgo ciudadanos are justifiably proud of their city. To share the history, all museums are free. The city is also well known for its colorful Talavera ceramics- both blueware & polychrome. We bought several pieces for the kitchen and patio.

Ink drawing of the park: my inspiration was to capture the variety of interesting Mexican trees. I couldn’t find anyone to tell me the name of the tall cypress-looking trees. In Mexico, one sees a vast variety of topiary. Drawing the spiral shape was interesting.

Tomorrow we leave for San Luis Potosí. Up early, we will catch a bus to Leon at 8AM, then get a second bus to SLP, arriving around 2PM.

Mas Color

Raining down the hillsides of Guanajuato is a riot of color, as depicted in the painting posted yesterday. The joyful colors permeate city life and culture. Everywhere it is expressed in art and song by los ciudadanos de Guanajuato. Valentine’s Day inspired the posted collage. (Mixed media: watercolor, ink, ephemera, old-style cinco centavo)

What a big surprise to learn that Valentine’s Day is celebrated en masse with colored lights and/or balloon displays throughout the barrios. The whole city turns out to celebrate with padres giving ninos small gifts of heart-shaped candies, balloons, and toys; sweethearts exchanging flowers and huge stuffed animals; families receiving blessings of small crosses on foreheads given by the parish priests; restaurants and bars hosting special dinners and live music; and plazas filled with families eating al fresco at the numerous pop up eateries.

The centerpiece of my collage features an invitation to El Midi Bistro. We enjoyed a three course meal with champagne while serenaded to the sounds of French cafe music in the style of Edith Piaffe.

The preview showcases la Virgen de San Juan de Los Lagos. After witnessing the pilgrimage from San Miguel de Allende, I became interested and did some research into the Candlemas Festival and pilgrimage of San Juan de los Lagos. The town is visited by over two million pilgrims each Candlemas. While in San Miguel, we were awakened at 6AM by 1,000 or more of the faithful, singing, and carrying banners and a statue on their way to San Juan de Los Lagos. From my research, I learned the statue is a representation of the Virgin de Los Lagos. The original statue is just 2′ tall, wears elegant gold trimmed clothing, a gold Byzantine crown, and stands on a crescent moon. With a new awareness, I began to see the Virgin in many places. While walking in the Pastita Barrio, I noticed her image in ceramic tiles on a modest house. (See Pastita Barrio). According to legend, in 1623 a young acrobat, a girl of seven, fell and impaled herself on daggers. The bereft family brought her to the chapel in preparation for burial. The church caretaker, Ana Lucia Antes placed an old statue of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception with the body, instructing the family to keep their faith and pray with her. Within an hour, the lifeless body began to stir. Her father unwrapped the shroud to discover his daughter alive and unscathed. News of the miracle spread, and the 90-year old tattered statue, made of plastered cornmeal and orchid juice was sent to Guadalajara to be restored. Miraculously the statue arrived fully restored and has remained in pristine condition to this day. Today, the faithful make pilgrimages to the Virgin throughout the year, with thousands walking, even crawling or being pushed in wheelchairs, throughout Mexico to San Juan de los Lagos during the Candlemas celebrations. (Read the whole story here: Virgin de Los Lagos)

Many walls and casas are adorned with ceramic plaques telling their histories. My favorite is the plaque from the Prussian Consulate of 1864. I used two motifs from different plaques in my collage.

Colorful cut paper banners, called “papel picado,” are hung during celebrations, (also see Papel picado). Walking through a papel picado strewn street, one can’t help but feel festive.

Flowers abound in Mexico. The flowers in my collage came from a mural in one of the small family restaurants where we shared breakfast with friends. Last night for Valentines Day, flower vendors were set up on every plaza. I bought mine from the florist on Plaza de Embajadores. I made a new friend, as we discussed the joys of working in a flower shop, a job I held many years ago. I left with a hug, a kiss, and a exquisite bouquet. As I arranged them in water, I marveled at their exotic beauty and ready availability.

From murals to street art; graphic design to folk arts; indigenous clothing to painted houses; music to theater; food to flowers, Guanajuato abounds with “de colores.”

Guanajuato Color

The city of Guanajuato is a Unesco World Heritage site, named for its opulent Baroque and Neoclassical buildings, elegant plazas, and abundant theaters, museums, and galleries. Over and above, (quite literally) the rich heritage in Zona Central Historical, the city’s innate expression of color manifests itself in vibrant markets and neighborhoods. The city sits in a “valley bowl” with bright houses crammed into the steep slopes, ringing the city, and coloring the hillsides.

“Guanajuato Color” watercolor 16″ x 20″ $350

Mexican love of color is expressed everywhere from folk arts, to charming business signs and posters, to flower-filled balconies overlooking every street and callejon. (Stay tuned…….I have a post planned for this theme. Today is Valentines Day. Our landlady just gave us a most charming invitation to her restaurant for a special dinner and musical evening. “Musica Francesa” will feature French cafe-style music, in the vein of Edith Piaffe, one of my favorite singers. Our reservation is for 7:30).

Museo & Casa de Olga Costa & Jose Chavez Morado

Today we visited the Museo de Olga Costa-Jose Chavez Morado. Artists Costa & Chavez Morado shared a partnership of art and marriage. The museum is Costa and Chavez Morado’s former home and studio, which they donated to the city of Guanajuato, along with their art collection. On display is a rich collection of ceramics, (both pre-Hispanic and 20th Century local talavera), furniture, masks, textiles, and their own artworks. Across the courtyard, exhibitions of rotating contemporary art is shown. Learn more: Olga Costa & Jose Chavez Morado

To find the museum, one walks along the picturesque Rio Pastita, which parallels Calle Pastita in the Pastita Bario. Along the route is the old Colonial-era aqueduct. Costa and Chavez Morado converted a massive old well into their home and studio. Based on the shape of the back walls, I imagine the artists removed the original back part of the well to build additional walls and enlarge their living/studio space. This back area opens to lovely gardens and a spacious courtyard.

Ink drawing: old well beautifully converted to artists’ home & section of old aqueduct