A couple of months ago I came across the Atlanta painters meet-up, a group of artists that gets together to paint in plein-air. Plein air is French for "in the open air" and generally describes the act of painting out doors.
Since discovering the meet-up group, I've met with them a couple of times and it's been great. An artist's life in the studio can be lonely, so this is a great opportunity to hang out and enjoy the outdoors with a bunch of people who also love to paint.
This painting is from my last meeting with them at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.
In Nicaragua, an hour from the Honduran Border and surrounded by small mountains is Ciudad Antigua, my hometown.
Ciudad Antigua, originally named the City of the Gentlemen of Segovia by its Spanish founders, was a prosperous town some 350 years ago until it was abandoned due to constant pirates attacks. From that time only the beautiful church remains, and you can still view the ancient nave, adobe blocks and some wooden structures from the original building. Today Ciudad Antigua is a peaceful town or as a good friend of mine put it "a place so quiet that you can hear the silence" a little hyperbolic I think, but not too far from the truth.
The painting above shows the current view from the south of town, I like it because it looks as if there's nothing but trees between you (the viewer) and the mountains in the horizon; then you see the cellphone tower that tells you that there is more to the town than that one house at the left of the painting. If you were to walk up to the hill, from the house (which is actually my uncle Jose's house) you would see the town's cemetery and a few houses surrounded by mango and orange trees; the church's two white towers would appear above the trees and if you turned around, you would see bean and corn farms, cows, more mountains, and probably a few men coming back from a hard day of work.
That's the land where I come from, the land where my parents were born and are growing old, the land of loud music and always smiling people, the land that I call home.
My wife and I enjoy exploring the different hiking trails and state parks around the Atlanta area. In September, we went to Arabia Mountain in Lithonia (www.arabiaalliance.org). It reminded me of Stone Mountain without all of the people and without the view of the city. The view was spectacular, however, and once we reached the top we could look out across the rolling hills and down to a small lake. It was a great afternoon.