Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Day on Manzanillo Beach

Today, I decided to sample ideas for the commission pieces I'm doing in trade for this free week here at the condo.

Roland and I struck out, in the perpetual lovely weather (nights: low 60 degrees, days: sunny, clear 80 degrees), to canvas the north end of the beach. The woman commissioning these painting gave me three things she particularly loved about the area the she would like included in my designs. One, was the joyous and varied canopies enlivening this locals gathering place - which may become a thing of the past. We strolled the lagoon area behind the beach where the tides move in and out, creating boogie board and shell hunt possibilities. This area was quiet and languid in the early morning and we moved back to permanently locate in the active beach front. We selected a canopy in the front row that jutted out, giving me a great perspective of the full southern span. I'd considered starting one of the originals on a larger watercolor sheet, but, just sitting there absorbing the changing light, the quick moving vendors (who I wanted to include in the design) and the variety of "local characters", I opted to just sketch in my journal - to attempt capturing the "feel" of the day.

So I sketched ... and started adding color ... and adding different aspects of the scenery as the day amended itself. More boats came (the banana boat looked hilarious), vendors with many colorful "floats" passed and masses of families consumed the vacant canopied tables. Roland and I commented upon how heartwarming it was to see how strong the family unit is here in the Mexican culture. Grama, Aunties and, all the way down to the GranKids, come and spend the day together. What a beautiful concept! I have a few visitors shyly wander up to ask "Artist?" and I motion them to come see. One charming young fellow, Nio, came back three times during the day to follow my progress. We started up a conversation (well, broken) and discovered he'd lived many places, even Vancouver, BC! We exchanged emails and smiled at the prospect of a friendship sparked from a comfortable exchange. I was some frustrated and pleasured with my journal entry ... frustrated by the fast moving scene I'd only been partially able to capture and pleasured with sitting in the warm shade, feeling the ocean breeze cool the day and relishing the submersion in the local activities.

Our dinner that evening was fun AND delicious! Now we were confused, thinking the lovely landscaped lodging and restaurant across the foot bridge, and overlooking the lagoon, was "Playa Real". But we never did learn it's true name - which is unfortunate because our experience was terrific! The food great (a yummy chili relleno) and a zany waiter (who teased us with 'Iguana Flan' where, he elaborated, "they had milked the teeny, little iguana to use their milk!"). We enjoyed watching the early evening bats fend for insects and laughed as we descended the hill, back to our condo.

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