Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Colorful Guatemala - an Artist's dream adventure

I met this little lady on one of the two main streets of Panajachel, Guatemala the day I arrived. I went to Guatemala with Flying Colors Art Workshops to be a student in Don Andrews AWS, NWS Watercolor Workshop last month. I had taken a workshop from Don over 20 years ago at Asilamar and enjoyed it so much I promised myself I would take another workshop from him someday when he was going somewhere exotic to teach. So this was it.
Guatemala is so colorful! The main form of transport between villages is recycled American school buses but the Guatemalan's give them their own colorful look. Each one is painted different, chrome polished to shine, and often decorated with neon signs and flashing lights.
Young Mayan women at the market in Chichicastenango selecting dyed yarn for textiles they will weave using backstrap looms.

Antigua was once the capital of Guatemala. Many colonial buildings now in ruins, from a great earth quake, still exist. This one seems to be a colonial structure but the designs carved on it look Mayan to me. Interesting.
I found the Mayan culture fascinating. This "laundry" has been used for centuries, and like laundry mats I have used in other countries, it seems to be the town center for gossip.
Here is my painting I did in my watercolor journal of the Laundry Ladies of Antigua.
Don and his wonderful painting of a street scene in Antigua. Don is an excellent instructor, loads of fun too, I strongly recommend his watercolor workshops. Johanna of Flying Colors made the trip easy and fun and we are talking about doing a workshop in Guatemala for my students and I soon. I enjoyed traveling with everyone in the group, and hope you all arrived home safely.

A hiking suggestion on Maui

My friends Sylvia and Bill went hiking on Maui and found some very inspiring views for artists. One hike with good views is Upcountry on the way to Haleakala Crater. They stopped at Halemau'u Trailhead and did a three mile "out & back" hike that had great views overlooking a valley on the west side of the mountain. They also took a short walk to the Leleiwi Overlook. If it had not been for the fog that closed in around them, they would have had another awesome, scenic look at the mountain. For people interested in hiking Haleakala, Sylvia suggests stopping at the Lower Visitor Center and asking for the hiking map that illustrates the trails and provides hiking distances. Don't forget your camera and your sketchbook.

Best places to photograph flowers on Maui

Resort hotels are a great place to photograph the beautiful tropical flowers of Maui. Their walkways, driveways, and lawns are lined with beds of flowers making it easy to get up close to take portraits like this one taken on the grounds of the 4 Seasons Resort Hotel at Wailea. To avoid the high cost of parking at the resort hotels at Wailea, just drive down the Wailea Alanui Road and look for the sign that says Public Access Beach Parking. Park there and walk down to the beachside walkway which runs in front of all the hotels and condos alongside the beach. From there you can walk up onto the grounds of the hotels and take photos. Walk around the grounds and photograph the flowers, then enter the lobby area to photograph the planters of orchids and beautiful bouquets. Walk out the front drive to photograph the hibiscus and other flowers along the driveway.

My friend Bill visited the "Garden of Eden" (a botanical garden) at about Mile 10 on the Road to Hana. The entry fee was $15. but well worth it given the variety of flowers he was able to photograph. He said he spent about two hours wondering the gardens taking photographs of some very interresting, unique (strange) flowers.

Maui - an artist's paradise

In January I took a trip to Maui to teach a couple of workshops. I love the "Aloha Spirit" of the islands and enjoy visiting my friends who live on the island. The subject of both workshops was techniques for painting watercolors on Aquabord. Maui is an artist's paradise because everywhere you look there is a painting. Here is my Aquabord demo I created from a vase of freshly picked flowers I found awaiting me when I arrived at the Teacher's Cottage at the Hui No'eau Visual Arts Center.
While on the island my friends treated me to a very exciting experience...whale watching from their boat. I have always wanted to do this, and we were lucky to be out on a day when the whales were playful and abundant. I was trying out my new SLR camera's telephoto lens and discovered very quickly that catching the shot before the whale disappears below the water is very difficult! Most of my photos were of blank ocean! Here is the best one.
Mahalo to the WAWAs and the staff at the Hui No'eau Visual Arts Center for making my trip to Maui so wonderful. Hope to see you soon.