Come with me now for a dizzying 2 week journey to San Miguel De Allende, Mexico and parts nearby. Of course we love art so there will be that. Food so beautiful that I gave up taking photos of all of it. Cooking class, art making, shopping, people-loving, bolero singing and Birthday having. Lots of walking. Here we go.
On our first night in Leon our waitress makes salsa at our table letting us choose the ingredients from a cart. The meal was one of our finest. We are here after a 3 segment plane ride through Seattle, Ft. Worth and finally Leon.
The best part of any trip is the people. Left to right is my host William (Pepe) Peters, new friend Gabrielle Green (who later on gives us a cooking class) and of course John (Juan). Mes amigos. (BTW, in Mexico my name is "Judita", pronounced hoo-deet-uh.)
The first thing I noticed on arriving at the home of our hosts was the painted plaster in several rooms. This technique involves mixing dry pigment with cal (lime) and painting onto the dry plaster. This wall and another you will see was done by Amber Eagle, a Houston artist who lives in the house part time.
Everywhere I turn is beautiful artistry. See the lizard worked into the lock above? And the dry climate weathers the wood so wonderfully.
I first met Marlene nine years ago through our friends in San Miguel. She was my first artist friend there and I looked forward to seeing her again on this trip. We spent a day together in which we had planned to do assemblage but instead messed about with encaustic.
We didn't have beeswax and damar so we improvised by melting down candles on her kitchen stove. What fun that was!
Here is Marlene's friend Rosemary who joined us on the patio that day. Lots of Marlene's friends dropped by too so we had a lovely lunch and wonderful time dabbling.
One of the themes of this trip turned out to be amaranth and it's amazing health benefits so I did a collage honoring the grain which came down to us from the Aztecs. If you enlarge the photo you will see the cut up Chiclets I used to symbolize the grains and also the label of the key that unlocked the door of the house I stayed in on Quebrada. Very meaningful to me.
This is John standing among the agave plants at the ranch of another person we came to know there. On that day we drove to a nearby antiques yard where the Dona of the estate purchased two exquisite double doors to enclose her huerta (kitchen garden) on the hacienda.
This is one of the items at the antiques yard. Everything was outside in the weather with only one locked room containing dolls, paintings and other antiquities.
There was a mosaic studio at the hacienda where one local man and another from Tunisia cut imported stone and formed them into designs for table tops. This one was for a small table.
Here the workers are placing stones for a larger table. One table top must take weeks of patient stone cutting and setting.
I wanted so badly to get my hands in there and help. I love slow, exacting work like this.
Here spread out on a daybed is a very large table top ready to go into the iron frame that will support it. Really magnificent, reminiscent of the mosaics one sees in Italy and Pompeii.
This is the storefront of the antiquities yard showing more doors and carts. The temperature that day was in the mid-80's.
One of the dogs belonging to the owners befriends John. It seemed like everyone had a dog in Mexico and I fell in love with each of them.
The beautiful hacienda lady had us over on the night of my Birthday and treated us to a marvelous meal topped off with my favorite cake, Tres Leches. She lives in a fairy-tale house close to the central Jardin and the dinner table discussion of Mexican and American politics, economics and permaculture was perfect. I was sung to in two languages. By candlelight. Ahhh.
I sneaked off a few snapshots at the Belles Artes for you. Above is the work of Javier Arevalo who was showing there. One of the main reasons I love Mexican art is because of the originality, power and authenticity of the creators. I think the work above exemplifies this. It is a watercolor on paper.
Above is my long time friend Guy (Ricardo), cracking confetti and powder filled eggs on the heads of people in the Jardin to celebrate Carnival (Mardi Gras). It is a weird custom. See the girl with the bag full of eggs? And notice the silver power on Guy's hands. This is what ends up in your hair and on your clothes during the weekend of egg-cracking. It was mayhem with lots of shrieking and laughter.
On Sunday we went out to Patsy's Place to partake of a feast of margaritas and curried Lamb. I first met Patsy on that same trip 9 years ago and she is a wonder of an entrepreneur and dream creator. I'll show you more photos of her house in a following post. Another magical day.
I can't resist a good knocker.
Shot a photo at Marlene's of a ceramic sculpture. Not sure who made it.
I met this fellow when we travelled to my friends' place in Pozos. We took the children school and art supplies. They are so very poor by our standards but rich in spirit. The need for help is great.
This irresistable girl glued herself to me right away. We compared muscles and did our best to converse in my few words of Spanish. She reminds me of the beautiful Penelope Cruz.
John brought me an entire bush of Gardenias for my Birthday. I cut one perfect flower to press and bring home with me and gave the rest to our lovely housekeeper. I adore the fragrance and the flower has many layers of meaning for me. John knows this and walked miles and miles in the heat to locate this specimen.
Gabriella again, this time listening to the quartet that my friends hired to come to our house and sing to us on my birthday. Gabriella is a film maker, restaurateur and political activist who has traveled widely. I wish you could see her talk. She cracks me up with her keen wit and facial expressions.
On this day she taught us how to cook nopales (those cactus paddles), stuffed peppers, stuffed amaranth rellenos, fava soup and a pasilla chili sauce. OMG, it was delicious.
Here she dips the stuffed amaranth in beaten egg whites in preparation for frying.
Icy cerveza to accompany the meal on the patio. It was a hot day.
And here are our musicians who played for us for at least an hour while we laughed and wept at the overwhelming beauty of the moment. I'm 64 and you do still love me.
This is a composite photo taken at the Nirvana one night. I love the painting.
This senora is pooped after a long session at the keyboard. I'm deluged under mail, bills, email and jet-lag so give me a few days to get my sea legs under me again. I'll continue this later.