Art Vallarta is a humming hive of art activity right now, with ongoing renovations to expand the space and a stunning new exhibition of abstract art by Tony Collantez on view on the pool deck, installed in nooks and crannies, and gigantic murals on the walls of the San Franciscan apartment building housing the studio. After a tasty dinner of Italian food at Pasts Fresca Beatrice, Walter, Linda, Ty and I enjoyed the Cromosemiotica opening with a crowd of other art-lovers.
Tony’s works have been installed on the walls around the pool and on the several levels of deck on the 4th floor. He has also painted a stunning 8 floor high abstract mural on one of the building’s walls facing south.
Tony’s paintings look great arranged around the edges of the pool and in various nooks and crannies around the pool deck.
I didn’t realise it until Nathalie pointed it out that the colours in my outfit are the same as the ones in Tony’s gigantic mural – que bueno!
Here we are just lurking around in the bushes …
After soaking in the Collantez vibe we headed back to Basilio Badillo for the first South Side Shuffle of the season. The streets were packed – I have never seen the Shuffle this busy – and the galleries crowded, people drawn by both the art and the free wine, no doubt.
Kim Kuzma and Sylvie Scopazzo both played in front of Cassandra Shaw’s jewelry store and really got the crowd hopping, especially an interesting French-Canadian woman, one of Eve’s Zumba people, who stunned the crowd with a lively jig in her huge sun hat.
On Saturday, after visiting the artisan market at Lazaro Cardenas Park, Eve, Ty, and I strolled south along the beach for our walk to Conchas Chinas, a suburb south of Vallarta, with steep hills and a rocky shoreline.
We walked up and over the rocky outcropping separating Los Muertos Beach from Amapas and along the shoreline fronting the large villas on the southern hills. Another gigantic condo building, the Orchid, is going up in this area and of course Ty had lots to say about the construction design, which he noted as being inappropriate for this earthquake zone location. Needlessly to say the building towers over all the other nearby villas.
Thinking that we couldn’t get through along the beach at this point, we walked back up to the highway and south to Lindo Mar Hotel, at which point we headed down to the beachside bar for lunch. It’s a beautiful location right on the water, with views out to both ends of Banderas Bay. Just below us on the terrace a resident parrot hung out on one of the metal chairs, preening itself.
After a not-bad tortilla soup, we rolled back to dodge, walking along the beach the entire way. The surf was really high, with many gigantic waves crashing against the rocks. Lots of local families and kids were out enjoying the day, including one family of several kids having the very first beach day. Imagine the excitement!
I did tell the family to be careful, given the high surf and the dangerous currents in this area. We finished our walk with gigantic glasses of lemonade at our favourite beach bar Swell, under the shade of a beautiful old tree.
Eve has gotten us into Zumba at the Park. It runs for an hour every morning between 8 and 9. When we stayed at the Lily last year, we could see and hear them from our balcony, an enthusiastic band of exercisers first thing in the morning. Fabiola is the instructor, a really lovely local woman, and Monday was her birthday.
Ty had a nice moment with a lovely white schnauzer while his master attempted the zumba class.
Here you can see us in action – the folks in the front two rows know what they’re doing; the rest of us are less adept, to say the least! Dr Bob in the front row in grey, from Vancouver, is a 79 year old miracle of nature who is non-stop action – he is my current role model in terms of physical fitness.
Fabiola’s boyfriend had ordered a gigantic bouquet of flowers and a mariachi band to be delivered to the Park, and they serenaded a big group of us to La Palapa on the beach for a fantastic breakfast to celebrate her big day.
About 22 of us helped Fabiola celebrate, two tables worth of people; while the mariachis played, she opened presents, and we ate some delicious food.
Every second Monday Quture, the arts venue that used to house the Vallarta Art Guild where I painted for a while last spring, has an open house art walk for their 22 resident artists, some of whom are the same folks who worked there last April. Eve, Ty, Larry, Fran, and I checked it out last Monday night.
Mari has her studio in the former co-op space upstairs, a nicely-expanded space from her previous one.
She’s very happy with her new situation and is painting up a storm. Edwige has the other half of the upstairs space and had a large canvas out for visitors to her gallery to add to a communal abstract painting, a great idea that I love.
Even Larry contributed his visual two cents to the piece, a thumbprint. We checked out all the studios and soaked in the artistic ambience.
Barb, below, is another of the Guild artists and had her studio full of new paintings.
Below you can see the new round bar in the centre of the courtyard, a nice innovation to provide drinks for the weary art lovers.
Tuesdays are our usual hike to Las Animas day and we joined 42 others for the bus ride south to Boca de Tomatlan on a slightly overcast day, great for walking. Due to the high surf for the last few days, a big wooden boat had been pushed onto the rocks in the bay, along with another smaller one.
The walk hasn’t got any easier since last year and the group strung out along the coast as we made our way south.
The trail is noticably deteriorated from last year, possibly due to storms during the rainy season. In many spots the handrails have been knocked off or broken, not enough to impede our progress, however; it just requires being careful with where one puts one’s foot. A couple of the groups who use the trail are fundraising for its repairs.
The beautiful thing about walking this year is that we know the trail well enough to know when we are nearing the end and this lizard rock is on the home stretch.
As usual, a cold towelette, cold beer, nachos, and salsa are waiting for us when we arrive, sweaty and tired from our exertions.
The ocean is noticeably higher this year than last; waves have taken away the lower level of the restaurant and the beach area that used to house loungers is no more. Big waves actually wash into the higher level of tables now. Who knows how much higher it will come – I’m sure that the business owners must be getting quite worried by now. If I owned waterfront property, I would have sold it by now …
After a tasty lunch and a few cervesas, we boarded the boats for our return journey; below you can see Alain attempting his entry with Chico the dog in hand.
After feeding the fish at Los Arcos, we landed at Langostino’s for happy hour and then dragged our tired carcasses home.
Below is a photo of the cool room downstairs at Art Vallarta where I am working on mixed media pieces, right next to Doug’s and Angelo’s painting areas.
Here’s a view of Mari in action on a mixed media piece in the cool room. She did an amazing job with collage, tissue paper, and acrylic paint on wood; interestingly, the artwork’s colour palette is the same as the clothes she’s wearing.
Below is Mari’s finished piece – great job!
See more pics here.