Halleluiah! I guess enough people must have complained about the internet again that a technician has come over and rebooted the router and reconfigured the network. I now have internet again on my laptop, for who knows how long. The mixed media class continues to be good and people are producing some really interesting collage works. Above is a piece by Jan that has a dream-like 1001 Nights vibe. Below is a piece celebrating Candace’s love of the natural environment in Ontario, using decalomania, stenciling, collage, and acrylic paint.
Margie went quite abstract, using frottage rubbings from around the Art Vallarta building, stamping, collage and acrylic paint on plywood.
The linocut saw four happy printmakers making small 6 x 6 inch blocks which we then printed in black – everyone was pretty pleased by the results, and surprised that they came out so well after a bit of a struggle with the cutting. Luckily we did have a sharpening stone which helped since each of the tools needed frequent sharpening.
I really love the mixed media class, seeing the different ways in which each person engages with the varied materials. It’s really fun and no two are every even remotely the same.
Candace, who loved her first piece, struggled a bit with this one but I think it has great potential – putting the horns on the angel figure in the centre was a revelation – I hope she completes it.
We had very big waves again last week and many small sandpipers were playing in the waves near the mouth of the river Cuale and trying to catch a meal.
Pam, Cec, Beatrice, Joyce, Ty & I went to see the Tribute to Leonard Cohen show at the Boutique Theatre, a 2 person special with a guitarist and a Broadway actor. While I did enjoy it, I didn’t love the show and thought the lead actor was channelling the Fiddler on the Roof through Leonard. But the majority of the crowd obviously disagreed, giving the principals a standing ovation.
There are so many great places in Vallarta to hear live music and Cuates & Cuetes, to the right of the pier, is a favoured venue. Along with inside seating, the restaurant also has tables on the sand, giving patrons an openair experience.
We’ve seen several bands here, including an unnamed reggae band (below), Tatewari, a 4 person flamenco guitar group, Liliana and her jazz band, and crowd favourites, latin band Media Luna.
Media Luna always packs the house; when no seats are available inside, the overflow crowd stands on the sidewalk outside enjoying the fiery sounds.
Media Luna plays a few different venues; in addition to CCs, they also appear at the Babel Bar on Sunday afternoons. After a Conchas Chinas walk, Ty and I wanted to hear them, but didn’t realise that all the seats would be taken long before our arrival. So we improvised, carrying a plastic seating bench over to an unused rickety table in the restaurant’s spacious outside serving area to make our own spot behind the band. In the photo below you can see Ty behind a tree on the right.
Even the iguanas are music-loving here; below you can see one trying to sneak into the venue to have a listen.
There have been some spectacular sunsets lately, when clouds arrive at the end of the day and frame the bay and boats.
Since we are in such a great location right near the Malecon, we often take an evening stroll past the vendors and watch all the action oceanfront.
I made the ultimate sacrifice for Ty on Super Bowl Sunday, spending 6 hours at Steve’s Sports Bar (had to get there early to get a seat) watching the pre-game interviews and the game itelf with the roars of the bar crowd ringing in my ears as each team scored.
Jill and family have converged on Vallarta from far corners of the earth and we had a lovely dinner with them at Gaby’s in Centro on its outdoor patio.
For the first few days of her visit, Jill splurged and stayed at the Hacienda San Angel, a wonderful hotel in Gringo Gultch, on the hill with a beautiful view out over the city and the cathderal below.
After dinner we explored the public areas in the main hotel area, with lots of illuminated statuary, greenery and two pools, one outdoor and one indoor, both decorated with sculpture and fountains.
The hotel’s owner has brought in all the sculpture from various places around the globe and created a beautiful oasis here.
Every Saturday market day sees local favourite Rambo dancing along to the tunes of whoever happens to be playing on the main stage; this day it was Kim Kuzma, a songstress from Vancouver playing Tuesday nights at the Palm Cabaret.
This day, at the small stage, the Cheko Ruiz Band serenaded the crowd; below you can see that the drummer’s young daughter is already learning the musical ropes.
My well-dressed French Canadian zumba friend is often dancing to the band’s music wherever they happen to be playing.
Some days you just have to have Dee’s coffee …
Angie and Rob joined us for an evening of dining and walking and rainbow colours. I really love all the colour in this town!
Another Sunday, another Conchas Chinas walk with Eve and her housemate Anka.
I enjoy seeing the birdlife here, especially the pelicans which frequent the coast, diving for food.
On the way back from the Lindo Mar hotel, the endpoint of our walk, we picked up Rob who was also out for a stroll.
Along this stretch of beach there are many old Mexican mansions, in some spots dwarfed by the new towers being erected.
This past Tuesday’s hike, rather than doing the usual route, we took a panga to Quimixto with one half of the group and walked back on a shorter and easier route along the coast.
After docking at Quimixto bay, the route takes us through the village, across the school playing field, and across the river that opens out into the sea here.
Charlie is carrying Dutch the poodle here because the village dogs always take offense to a stranger coming into their territory and race out to challenge any other dogs.
Along the way are several resorts, one an eco-facility with a beachside pool and a beehive-shaped rock structure, possibly a steam room.
After travelling along the beach for a while, the path takes us up several sandy switchbacks and higher up along the coast.
Below the end is in sight; Las Animas can be seen in the distance.
The burro Ty rescued from the sun last year was here still, this time in enough shade that he seemed to be more comfortable.
This day the clouds rolled in in the later afternoon, giving a silver glow to the day. The ride back was a bit bumpy, especially through the area surrounding Los Arcos.
I have been spending Wednesdays with the plein air painting group and this past Wednesday Angie had arranged for us to paint on the deck of her friend Marisela’s waterfront home at Boca de Tomatlan. On our walk through the village we saw the fishermen gutting fish as the birds waited more or less patiently for their portion.
Marisela’s family has one cat and three dogs, all of whom joined us on the deck.
As we were painting, Robert Masla, an American artist and the owner of a villa right nearby that offers art vacations, came down and checked out what we were up to. Angie, in addition to working on her own painting, was giving a lesson to first-time painters Marisela and her sister Hortencia.
Paulette, below, and Bart in the distance worked on small oil sketches of the trees fronting the harbour.
Most people seemed pleased with their efforts. It was a lovely place to work, with lots of room and shade.
On the way back we stopped in at Robert’s villa and checked out the watercolour workshop going on on his top deck, led by a well-known American painter. He is very well set up, with many tables and two demo areas, one with a gigantic mirror overhead so that students can see the demos clearly.
Dan and Donna organised a Friday outing to Yelapa, the furthest village on the south edge of Banderas Bay, about 35 minutes from Boca by boat in choppy seas. One of the boat “men” was this young fellow at the prow – we wondered why he wasn’t in school.
Because of the big swells it was a bit tricky getting onto the pier; here RA helps Pam up the stairs.
We had a delicious seafood lunch at Beto’s place, after which he led the group through the village to the town waterfall about 40 minutes away.
As we rolled up through the concrete walking paths hillside, we stopped to look at a mural depicting some of the local Yelapa slang.
Walking through Yelapa reminded me quite a bit of Monterosso, one of the villages in Italy’s Cinqueterra, a series of 5 fishing villages along the north west coast that we walked many moons ago. But this village of 2,000 is smaller, with only ATVs and donkeys for transport and no ATMs for cash – bring as much as you’ll need for any visit.
The waterfall area was cool, green, and breezy, a nice oasis away from the heat of the beach.
Upon our return from Yelapa, I did get in a bit of an art shuffle and listened to the mariachi band performing in the park.
Ty & I enjoyed the hospitality of Jill’s family at their Conchas China villa, a great place right on the water with a beautiful large pool.