Master Craftsmen in Nicaragua


 “You can either be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure. It all depends on how you view your life.”
― Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes

I am an adventurer always in search of treasure. The Pre-Columbian pottery shards and pieces I find on my daily walks along the beach sit in piles on my bookcase and on my porch forever gathering dirt and dust and harboring tiny colonies of insects. Yet, more than protecting my pottery, I found a greater treasure in the master craftsmen in Nicaragua.

The time was long overdue to protect my treasures! I designed a wooden display cabinet, then I had to find a master woodworker to build the cabinet to my specifications. Marina recommended Herman, her door maker. When I saw the quality of his work, I knew he would be perfect.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: I Spy Eyes Close Up


The Weekly Photo Challenge is Close Up. I wandered around my house today shooting close-ups of eyes.

Queenie says, “I see it is an in-my-face kind of day.”
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Weekly Photo Challenge: Minimalist


The Weekly Photo Challenge is Minimalist. I do a lot of volunteer projects on Ometepe Island, and I find that the simple pleasures we share are the most meaningful.

I was working on setting up the new elementary school library the other day. Edwin was helping me and he proudly displayed his missing two front teeth.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Relics of the Dead


“Any relic of the dead is precious, if they were valued living.” ~ Emily Bronte

 

Everyday, I walk our beaches and everyday, I find relics washed ashore. Most of the time, the finds are over hundreds of years old…aged Pre-Columbian pottery shards that tell the stories of the ancient ones who lived on Ometepe Island long ago.

Burial urns called zapatoes from Ometepe Island

Burial urns called zapatoes from Ometepe Island

Relics ahead. Keep reading.

Timeout for Art: Walk First (At a Turtle’s Pace)


Lisa, of Zeebra Designs and Destinations, posted a quote by Don Getz who said, “Learning to draw before you paint, is like learning to walk before you run.” How true! But, I am going at a turtle’s pace…slow and steady. My Casita de Tortugas needs some new turtle paintings, so I unpacked my paints and brushes for a new challenge.

Marvin and I designed a turtle out of my Pre-Columbian pottery shards and plastered it above the door of the casita last year.
IMG_1096When Marvin’s daughter, Lauren, came to visit, we opened a new box of permanent markers and drew turtles on the curtain, which hangs on the front door. I discovered that both Lauren and her father are very talented.
IMG_2585The finished entrance! What do you think?
IMG_2592Since we are moving the bedroom downstairs, and my new art studio will be upstairs, I am enjoying decorating the Casita de Tortugas. Yesterday, I started painting a turtle to hang on the bedroom wall.
IMG_3249Today, I finished the turtle…I think. I used a metallic copper paint to embellish some of the turtle scales, but it doesn’t show up in the picture. Hmm..maybe I’ll add just a few more highlights. So, Lisa…I have a question. Once it is done to my satisfaction..since I’m working at a turtle’s pace…what do I put over the paint to protect it? Or do I need to put a finish over it?
IMG_3252Next, we’re painting the casita walls a soft golden color. Ron’s creating shutters for the windows out of PVC pipes and I’m covering them with canvas. Of course, I’ll be painting some turtles on the canvas, too. I’m moving at a turtle’s pace, but, hey…I’m retired…no deadlines..no worries…and no stress. Life is good, retirement is better, living abroad is priceless.

 

 

Cultural Pizza


One of my favorite bloggers, Zebra Designs and Destinations, has inspired me to sharpen my pencil and sketch again. Like writing, painting and sketching has always been therapeutic for me. It transports me into another world…contemplative…observant…
introspective.

I lost myself in my drawing I call Cultural Pizza, for in sketching the Pre-Columbian pottery shards I found on my daily beach walks, I lost my ability to talk and time lost all meaning. My perceptions of life turned inward looking at edges, spaces, relationships, lights and shadows, and gestalt (or perceptions of the whole).

Learning to perceive things differently through drawing, is a deeply moving experience for me. It’s all about the feeling that I get..redirecting my focus..seeing life more fully. Of course, I’d like to improve my drawing skills, too.  I have a long way to go, but with practice and 30 minutes of drawing a day, I know I can enrich my life in wondrous ways.

Thank you so much Lisa, for the inspiration and your challenge of Timeout for Art.

 

Cultural pizza

Nicaragua Ain’t for Sissies


 “Nicaragua ain’t for sissies, but it’s got a lot of soul. Folks accustomed to life in the US need an incredibly adventurous spirit if they are to adjust to Nicaragua. Life is challenging here,  for everyone. If you’re from the US,  forget the creature comforts of home. But the reward is that one develops intimate relationships with the people and the land, and these will fill one’s heart forever” ~ Silvio Sirias

He’s right, you know. Nicaragua ain’t for sissies. When the water stops running just as you step in the shower or start a load of wash, the electricity blinks off near the end of your favorite movie,  and the lack of a reliable infrastructure rears its ugly head…

IMG_1705When the fiery dragon breathes down upon the land in March and April, and the only relief is to stick your head in the freezer, find a shade tree, go swimming, or spend an hour in the air-conditioned ATM…
IMG_1703When you make an appointment and the office is closed for a two-hour lunch, or “manana” means today, tomorrow, or a year from now, or you wait in a long line at the bank, only to have ten people step in front of you because there is a SPACE
IMG_1697Don’t be surprised if your frustrations melt away, and are replaced by contagious chuckles and a ‘knowing’ smile because…..
IMG_1696Nicaragua is a country of poets, artists, and lovers. There are no strangers, everyone is welcome.
IMG_1700Generosity, creativity, and a simple zest for life abounds. Smiles are freely passed along the dusty trails. Adios means hello and goodbye.
IMG_1698Passion and humor light up every face. Sometimes, you just gotta laugh in the land of the not quite right.
IMG_1701Frustrations? Yes. However, the rewards of developing intimate relationships with the people and the land far surpass my frustrations. My heart is full; I am sitting on top of the world.
IMG_1692If you would like to read more about the Nicaraguan author, Silvio Sirias, click HERE.

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Lightness of Being


Illumination by definition means a source of light or spiritual and intellectual enlightenment. Nicaragua has blessed me with both. I walk the path of lightness of being, appreciating every illuminating moment, for chances are I will never experience these awakening moments again.

IMG_2214The Pre-Columbian pottery radiates duality with present and past shimmering within the ancient vessel.

IMG_1774 I am flushed with rays of light behind a waterfall on Ometepe Island.

treesThe late afternoon sun casts a surreal brilliance on the trees in the lake.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe sun slips through the crevice in Somoto Canyon, Nicaragua  illuminating my precious son’s feet.

IMG_1281I light a candle in loving remembrance of friends who once walked with me in a lightness of being. For I believe that I only have one life to live, and that which occurs in life occurs only once and never again…thus, the lightness of being. Spread the light!