City of Frogs, part 2

Inspired by the city with a plaza celebrating frogs and another plaza celebrating singers, and a street named “Singing Frog.”

Mixed media: ink, watercolor, collage

2017 drawings on Calle Cantarranas

Read the post: Calle Cantarrana #1

Read the post: Calle Canterranas #2

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28 Enero 2018. … A Day in the Park

Cogimos un autobus al Mercado Hidalgo y caminamos hasta el Jardin del Cantador

We have been learning the bus routes and stops. On Sunday morning we took the bus from our neighborhood to Central Historico. We picked up the bus at the beautiful Escuela Normal, (the teacher’s college.). It is an old ornate sandstone building built in the Colonial style. This is the main bus stop for the Presa neighborhood. Because we went by bus, instead of walking, we took a tunnel route. Because it was Sunday, everyone was out- families, teenage couples, groups of college students, and a handful of tourists. Once we hit Zona Central, the crowded sidewalks overflowed into the streets. By the time we hit Hildalgo Market, the streets were so clogged, no traffic could move. We disembarked the bus and headed to a large park called Garden of the Singer.

Though some flowers are blooming and shrubs are still green, the trees are mostly dormant, creating a mass of neutral greys. I decided this journal entry would be made in toned inks. Above the garden, homes are built into the hillside providing a splash of color to the winter landscape. This area could be loosely rendered with watercolor wash. The thin paper of the my bus ticket added a layer of complexity to the composition.

We were confused about how to return by bus. Everyone told us to catch the return bus “abajo,” but we could not find where the bus stopped down below. Yesterday we tried again to figure out the bus route home. Finally a college student showed us that the main upper stop was about half a block away from the lower return route. We walked back to Hildalgo Mercado and after some wandering, we found the stone staircase that took us to the bus stop in the tunnel. Once down there, we learned the little buses, (cambios), stopped at the first stop, so we had to walk deeper into the tunnel to catch the Presa bus. It has been very cold, and everyone rides the bus when the weather is bad. Several full buses passed us by. Eventually our bus arrived. We traveled in tunnels for a long while before finally surfacing at the Plaza Embajadors, (Plaza of the Ambassadors.). It was just a few more stops until we reached our stop at the Escuela Normal.

Guanajuato’s Panoramica

Subimos hasta la Panoramica y miramos abajo en la cuidad…..

Above its network of roads, alleys, and tunnels rings Guanajuato’s high road, La Panoramica. It seems most alleys that climb steeply skyward eventually come out on the Panoramica. The Panoramica affords amazing views of the city and takes you to historical sites above the city. For the faint of heart (or body), one can take the Funicular cog railway to the revolutionary monument, El Pepilar and the Panoramica. Just a block from our casita, we discovered an actual road that connects to the Panoramica. Though not as steep as the callejon escaleras , (alley staircases), the road is still a strenuous hike. The reward is the view!

We found a spot overlooking the city, “Zona Central,” where the big landmarks were easily identified. Here we sat and began a drawing. I was charmed by the house just across the street from where we sat. Built into the mountain hillside, it spreads organically with niches, patios, and additions built from angles that mirror its topography, and crowned with a cupola. A gang of ninos chattered almost constantly while we worked, peppering us with questions. Concentrating on the complex scene in front of me was a challenge! As my drawing began to take shape, the children were delighted to discover the house I was drawing belonged to their grandmother. “Es la casa de mi abuelita!” exclaimed Diego, the leader of this group of primos y amigos.

I am enjoying mixing media for artwork on this trip. For this drawing, I drew the house in ink, then added color with watercolor pencil. In my first drawing, (Jan. 26), I was not happy with the watercolor wash I tried. To deepen and saturate the color, I found I needed to dip the pencil tip directly in water. With that technique, I was able to add strong color in spots and dashes, but could not apply deep colors in large areas. This time, instead of adding water to the colored areas, I blended and toned the colored pigments with Copic markers- warm #1 & warm #4. The alcohol-based ink blended and deepened the color much better than water. I think clear alcohol would make a good blending wash for watercolor pencils where no tone is desired. Notice in the preview image, the main cathedral, Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Guanajuato, and the university, Universidad de Guanajuato were visible from our vantage point. In the full drawing, these features are bookended by the house focal points: the cupola and the large patio light.

Workshop Offerings 2017

I am pleased to work with the Western Colorado Center for the Arts, Telluride’s Ah Haa School of the Art, Montrose  Center for the Arts, and Gunnison Arts Center to offer a variety of workshops in watercolor, sketch journaling and mixed media.  I am currently scheduled to offer four watercolor classes and three sketch classes this spring, plus an intermediate/advanced watercolor class this summer in Telluride.  As the schedule develops, I will continue to update the WORKSHOP SCHEDULE.  These offerings are in the works and will be scheduled later in 2017: off-loom weaving to create whimsical broaches, art history through hands-on creative art making, special effects to enhance water-based painting, journal making.

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Please use this link to access descriptions, schedules, and registration to classes:  WORKSHOP SCHEDULE

Art for Valentine’s Day

I found a special rock in Lo de Marcos last winter when I walked up the street from the beach to my casita.  It was shaped like a heart.  I give my husband hearts once in a while for special occasions.  I thought this would make a good gift, but I thought it needed a little something before it became a gift.  

rock from Lo de Marcos, Mexico
rock from Lo de Marcos, Mexico

I was inspired to develop this rock into a work of art by a demo at the Montrose Visual Arts Guild monthly meeting.  The woman who gave the demo used a variety of sticks to get different size dots.  I quickly realized how tedious this could become, but I was motivated by the vision I saw in my mind’s eye upon completion.

I developed the cover design for the box based on Australian Aboriginal paintings.  I felt this piece was an homage to their work, as it did not copy any of their animal images or designs.  It only borrowed from their way of working and the rhythm of the dots.

Acrylic on enamel wooden box in the style of Australian Aboriginal paintings
Acrylic on enamel wooden box in the style of Australian Aboriginal paintings

As I developed the cover design, I simultaneously gave the rock two coats of red paint and worked on the paper lining for the inside of the box.  As you can see these designs complement, but do not mirror each other.

inside box design
inside box design

After the red coat was dry, I was able to finish by painting the rock itself and placing it inside the box.  This gift needed no wrapping.

box with rock
box with rock

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