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.
After exploring the old city, (viejo Vallarta), we grabbed a table curbside, ordered a couple cerverzas, and pulled out our sketchbooks. Gardens are everywhere in Mexico. On the rooftops, they take the form of massed pots of geraniums and tropical greenery along the railings. In choosing this subject, I was struck by how lush the fauna grows. The jungle rises directly from the sea along the mountainsides. In this sketch, you will notice the Wandering Jew vines growing right out of the brick and mortar. Imagine such a phenomenon in arid Colorado!
One of the best ways I’ve discovered to record my travels is to carry a sketch book to capture my experiences. I sketch with pencil, refine in ink, and sometimes paint a watercolor composition, so I prefer a sketchbook with “sized” paper in a heavyweight – at least 90 pounds. For this past trip, I added collage to my entries. Perhaps, I will do more collage in the future.
On January 9, Kurt and I flew from Denver to Puerto Vallarta. We had to drive an extra two hours taking Cochetopa Pass to get over the Continental Divide, as snow, wind, and avalanches had closed all other avenues through the mountains. Arriving in sunny Puerto Vallarta, warm temperatures and sunshine quickly restored me from suffering a winter head cold to my normal healthy self.
We stayed at the Hotel Belmar in Centro, Viejo Vallarta. The hotel displays an extensive art collection of fine art prints on all five floors. As artists, we immediately felt at home. Hauling our luggage up 4 floors, our exertions were rewarded with a magnificent street view. Our room boasted French doors and a balcony that opened to the noisy, colorful, fragrant world that is Mexico. Each night fireworks exploded in the sky just outside our doors!
Here is the view from our balcony, room 31. Many rooftops sprout casitas complete with gardens, patios, and laundry. We were able to request the same room for our return 4 weeks later when we had reservations to fly home.