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Time to go, but not quite….

Alas, the bags are (mostly) packed and sooner than we like the sun will set on our final day here. We’ve just returned from our extravagant finale’…lunch at El Colera and John is zonked out and I can’t paint (all packed up, no time to dry) so I’m typing. Wow. We ate in, for the most part (John is Chef excellente’, so why bother except to give him a break!) but we saved for today and went out for lunch.

I can’t quite wipe the smile off my face.

I started with a crab tostada, John with a glass of oysters. On most days, the tostada would have been enough for me, but afterall, this is our last day. John had pescado veracruz and I had pescado al ajo. (Fish filets (Dorado, I think)..his veracruz, and mine with garlic). And we washed it down with our final margaritas. Incredibly tasty. Total bill…390 Pesos including tip. About $30. I also picked up my laundry. 35 pesos, washed, dryed and folded. ($2.80) (Deep happy sigh here)

I’ve been keeping track of our expenses (we’re on a budget) and the sum total per day for the past 28 days, including laundry, wine/drinks and taxis, one night out per week for dinner, and day trips to El Tuito and the Botanical Gardens, and having friends over for dinner……… is $29 per day. Honestly, it’s a third of what we spend at home and we seldom go out for dinner, seldom have friends over for dinner, I do the laundry and we don’t take day trips (unless you call my daily jaunt to the gallery a day trip!) If I take out everything but friends over for dinner and it drops to $22 per day. I’m not sure I can do two loads of laundry for $2.80. Can you? It does give me pause…..

So, tomorrow we fly away. Back into the chaos that awaits us from the moment we land at DFW. I’ll stop typing now so I can savour the final hours.

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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My newest paintings

Well, I finally got it done. Those layers and layers I wrote about a few days ago. I lost count of how many hours I worked on it, and to be honest there is a little bit left to do, but I will likely not get it done before we head home. Since it needs time to dry, I’ll probably wait. In the meantime, what I have to do will be almost imperceptible to most, so here it is. “Wrapped in Gold”. I still don’t know exactly how big it is, but I cropped the photo where the canvas will wrap around the edges of the wood.

That done (or done enough for now) I whipped out another sheet of YUPO paper and let the brush fly. I was having so much fun, I couldn’t stop, so John went to bed without me and I painted well into the wee hours of the morning. Then I fell into a peaceful sleep. When I woke up, the painting had changed so much in it’s drying (apparently the counter it was on is not perfectly flat!) that I ended up with a whole new course to take! Anyway, this is what came out of it. “Waving Goodbye” is 20 x 14 (I think) and is, of course, Watercolor on Yupo. I’d love to do another, but there just isn’t enough time for drying left before we have to leave. Sigh. It’s kind of wierd. We have been for a week longer than we normally are, but I managed to finish only 7 pieces…exactly half as many as I usually do. I honestly think that’s because I spent the first two weeks essentially brain dead. At any rate, I’m thrilled to be painting again, and resolutely refusing to think about what awaits me on my return!

I have decided, though, to NOT make a mad dash to put the gallery together. I will take my time and do it right. I need to walk through the newly renovated space (assuming it will be done!) and get the ‘feel’ of the space. Observe the energy and discern if I need to paint, and if so what color, and where to put what and so on. At the same time, I have a grant to finish for the Arts Council and paperwork to file for the Art Trail (Northeastern New Mexico Arts Alliance) and I’m sure, mountains and mountains of mail. While it did manage to wake me up in the middle of the night last night I’m keeping my eyes on the goal and soul in the free place that painting brings. Stay tuned.

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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Day Trips, New Friends and a Dash of Wonder

The past few days have been a whirlwind! Much to tell…so, hmmm, how to tell it?

First, there was the really cool discovery of the benefit of Google Alerts! In my last post I said we were going to El Tuito…the trip postponed from Tuesday would now be on Friday. I wrote that on Wednesday, and put “El Tuito” in the labels for the post.

On Thursday morning I sat down with my coffee to check the status of my online life, and had an email that my spam filter wanted to know what to do with. Since the subject said, “El Tuito on Friday” I clicked allow and opened it. It was from a couple from Kentucky…living part time in El Tuito. His Google Alerts had picked my El Tuito label and sent him to my blog, where he found we were here in Puerto Vallarta and planning a day trip to El Tuito. He wrote, “come see us and we’ll have some cold ice tea waiting!” Intrigued, I replied, then he replied, then I …..you know the drill. Anyway, off we went to El Tuito. 20 Pesos gets you there in a quite reasonable bus. It took about an hour. Then we wandered around looking for their street. We quickly found that this pretty, traditional small town, doesn’t have street signs. We walked into a friendly looking doorway to ask directions, and a smiling man greeted us “Hello! My name is Louis, welcome to my home! How can I help you?” (yes, in English, just like that). I asked where the street was. He smiled broadly and said, “in the back”. I said, “in the back of what?” “My house”, he grinned. He looked at my paper, “Oh, Hank and Vicki…do you want me to call them?”

Gotta love Mexican Hospitality. And, indeed, Kentucky hospitality too! The iced tea was indeed cold and refreshing. After a cool break and nice conversation we headed out to see the town, and marveled at how the internet has changed our lives. While some would argue, not positively, a connection like that just would not have happened! We would still have gone to El Tuito, and still have wandered around the town, but way more fun and so much richer to have made connections with people who live there! How fun is that!

Next time, I’ll write about our trip to the Botanical Gardens…and post a short video too! I’ll try and do that tomorrow (in between packing (ugh) and planning for the return (quadruple ugh). I’m SO not ready to go!

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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El Tuito postponed, Painting, Painting Painting!

Well, I know I said to check today for the El Tuito video…but we ended up postponing till Friday due to a National Holiday. No sense going when every thing is closed! So, in the end it was ok, cuz I painted ALL DAY! Yeeeeeehaaa!

Still more to go there…still working on that hibiscus. It’s beginning to take shape but all the definition in the petals remains undone. Today was shopping, and helping Patricia (she owns the apartment we’re in) with her computer. Tomorrow, I’ll paint again. Maybe by the end of the day I’ll be able to post a photo of it.

Anyhoo…just wanted to let you know why there’s no new video here…..more later!

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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What have I begun?!

I told you I’d keep you posted here. I started a new piece today.. a large one than I typically do. I’m not even sure how big it is, since i just unrolled the canvas and started painting. I think it’s probably about 16 inches wide and maybe 24 or even 30 high. I’m very excited about it because it’s a complex compound hibiscus and I resolved not to use a pencil. WaHOO! Color is liberating! So is freehanding with a brush loaded with color!

I can’t show it to you yet…It’s too wet to have John hold it up so I can photo it. Don’t want it to run where I don’t intend!

In the mean time, picture layers and layers of delicate petals, in bright yellow that turns to red as it nears the center of the flower. Oh yeah!

Ooops, better watch out, can it be…is it true? I slept all night last night, for the third night in a row. Even dreamt, though I don’t recall the dream, it’s encouraging to me that I did. I use to dream alot, very vivid, easily recalled scenes, but it’s literally been years. Hope is rising and optimism is looking cautiously up.

Tomorrow we’re going to catch the bus to El Tuito, a tiny village tucked away into the Sierra Madre, the mountains that rise from the waves lapping at their feet. I hear it’s about an hours drive. I’m taking the video camera to check back on Wednesday to see what we found along the way.

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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painting in paradise!

ok, so it took me two weeks and the stress is finally beginning to melt a way. A painting (commissioned one) that I started the day after I arrived is finally ready to go (no pic here as I need to add more once it’s stretched) , a second done, (Here, “Field of Dreams”, w/c on canvas, commissioned) with some labor of love and one more awaiting a canvas at home (because I made a mess of the canvas I brought to do the painting on, and now have to re-gesso it to start over.) While I was bemoaning the fact that I’d made a mess of a canvas specially cut for this painting, I whipped out a sheet of Yupo and pulled up a Vallarta sunset from seasons past. Wham, wisp, this is what came out of it( “Nature Framed It” Watercolor on Yupo (Available) :

So now, creative juices are really beginning to flow. I slept last night (and Thank you D&J) and even though the neglected dog across the street is crying and the 2 year old in the throws of the terrible twos is screaming, the rooster is still convinced it’s 6 am when in reality is 2:30 pm and the rumble of the gas truck outside is deafening……I’m typing blissfully as my newest painting dries.

I wasn’t sure I could do it. A jumble of color and line, really almost abstract, really just a jumble of poppies. I wanted to do it without a pencil altogether and on Yupo paper.

I wanted to do it with negative painting technique, basically, which I didn’t know if I could do on Yupo. I painted in the background and then painted in all the color of the composition, then I found the flowers. It was exhilarating. Yes, it took me three days, but wow, I haven’t felt this good in months! The photo isn’t great cuz I didn’t wait till it was dry after all! but you’ll get the idea! (sorry the wet paint on YUPO paper is highly reflective!)


“It’s a Jungle Out There” still VERY wet. In this climate it will take 12-24 hours to dry. And it is BRIGHT! It overwhelms the camera, especially when it is wet (the watercolor, not the camera)!

Tonight we’ll head down to CyC and hopefully meet up with some friends. In the meantime, my outlook is looking up…where it should have been all along.

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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Walking fortifies the Soul (and legs!)

Wow. Guess I gotta take a camera next time I go out. It’s tough to describe the hill we’re on without looking up from the bottom. I tried looking down and it just doesn’t work. All you see is cobble stones and there’s no way to tell which way is up. Actually, it’s two hills. Up Jacarandas, and then up Rodolfo Gomez. I’ve quickly grown to enjoy it, even long for a reason to run to the store. Not that any running happens. Walking down is one thing. In the morning, the air is lightly cool, the roosters still crowing and the uproarious bleeting of the burrows has quieted. (Yes, we’re in a traditional Mexican neighborhood). Walking down requires one to lean back. bends the ankles just about as far as they go. It’s not too hard to keep from going to fast, because the ridges in the road (put there for just this reason) prevent it, as do the uneven surfaces of the coblestones in between the rows of ridges.

It only takes me about 5 minutes to walk down both hills. Of course, the rub comes in the return, particularly if one is laden with groceries, or laundry or even nothing. Up, and up and up and up. I get winded just thinking about it! But somehow, in the process, it’s cleansing. Time to shed the layers of stress and fear that have burdened me of late. It’s generally the time of day that I’m alone. (Most days…I am. Every few days we (John and I) head down the hill together, but it’s taxi back as the climb is just too much.)

So, clomp, clomp, clomp down and now I’m more familiar with the streets and what’s where, than I have ever been and we’ve been coming here for most of 15 years. The slow walk up acquaints me with the neighbors. It’s an oddity for them. I talk to them. They talk to me. We smile, and climb on. I’ve learned alot. My spanish is improving (still a very long way to go. Today a young boy at the green grocer told me my purchase was trese’ (prolly spelled it wrong). I searched my brain and couldn’t find that it meant 13! oh, criminetly!)

So, this Sunday, I’m thankful. Thankful for being here, for this time to rediscover and find what’s new…and I mean, in me.

I’ll post a picture or video soon.

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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Awakening

I know. It’s been weeks since the last post. Weeks, and what seems a lifetime. Lets see if I can summarize. It was the waning weeks of September when I finally pulled myself up to make the decision that had been hanging around my neck for months. I wrote a letter (that wound up as an offense, which was far from what I intended) to tell my landlord that I had to move the gallery. To break the lease was something I was loathe to do, but ultimately saw no choice. I certainly didn’t want to disappear in the middle of the night. It just isn’t in me to do that. So I gave them 30 days notice, and waited. In the silence that followed the next question loomed. What will they do? Where will I go? I’d been looking around. There’s ample empty in town, but where could I go that give me the best shot at getting back on solid ground with the gallery? Several options were presented to me, some I invited, some just showed up. In a town this small word travels so fast it takes on a life of it’s own. I started hearing I was moving here, or there.

As the days past, I sat immobile, in the gallery, unable and unwilling to start taking things down. After two weeks I wrote my newsletter, to tell my customers that I was moving. I made it sound like I where I was moving was a secret. The truth is, I just didn’t know at that point.

As soon as my newsletter was released a deluge of calls, emails and people dropping in filled me with hope and buoyed my enthusiasm. Frantic to make a decision on where to go, I sought guidance in prayer. I wanted handwriting on the wall, of course, but here’s what happened. Suddenly all but one, one that I had not considered, one that presented itself to me, dropped from view, stopped returning calls and emails. It was clear to me. I waited three days. The amazing thing is, that after the decision was made, the calls and emails were suddenly returned. Too late.

As I looked around the gallery and the hundreds of pieces, literally, at the pottery, the sculpture, the jewelry, the paintings, the prints and the photos…how am I going to do this? Enter the ladies. A cadre of my top artists showed up on the appointed day and by noon all the work was off the walls, the pottery packed, the jewelry, everything. By noon, we had some men too, and by about 3, the gallery was empty of art and all that was left were the big iron and glass jewelry case and furniture! The next day more help came to take what remained, and to help me clean. We were done by 1. With everything securely stored, 48 hours later I was on a plane headed for Mexico. Oh…did I forget to mention that? Way back last spring, in March and April, John and I put gifts together with tax refunds and prepaid for a vacation. Air and accommodation from Oct. 29 to November 27. No idea that I’d be out of luck and hope and moving the gallery in the days before the trip. Why is everything stored? So the new space can be made ready for the gallery. That’s a miracle too. The space wasn’t really available. There were people in those spaces. They are all moving to other spaces in the building, to accommodate ME! No, I didn’t ask them to, it never occurred to me to be there. And it will take time. In the month that I’m here, they’ll all move and openings in walls will be cut. But over time, and as I can do it, we’ll replace carpet with wood and tile. I’ll go slow, as I able, in a resolute effort to not further encumber myself and even to lighten the load.

I’m trying to rest, to paint, to peel off the layers of stress and weight that have accrued in the past months. It’s not quite as easy as I had hoped. There’s still alot hanging over my head, but I’m getting there. The blog post is proof. I have so much support, from my husband, my artists, and from the community…it is a humbling and blessing experience to find that. Thank you…all of you. Thank you. You know who you are. May the blessing you gave me, return to you 1000 times.

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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