Happy New Year!
I can't believe it's 2012 already, I hope everyone had a great time these past few weeks. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported my artistic endeavors all of these years. To all of you who pushed me to keep going, thank you for your support, your kind words of encouragement, and for purchasing my work!
Lauren and I went to the always warm Nicaragua for Christmas. We spent a couple of weeks with my family, visited with many good friends and did a bit of traveling around Nueva Segovia. Our time in Nicaragua went by too fast but we had a great time. Here are some pictures from the visit:
A new addition to my town's park is this "interesting" fountain, a tribute to the pirates who sacked Ciudad Antigua in the 1600s. It has become a classic photo op for the town, so Lauren and I had to get our photo taken there too.
Thank you for your visit, have a Happy and Healthy 2012!
Getting ready for the new season
After the war in the 1980s, Nicaraguans have slowly been able to rebuild economically. With that has come many of the things that for a lot of people are simple basic household items, like televisions. We all know that television has the unfortunate ability to keep everybody on the couch, especially children, and that's what's happening back home in Nicaragua too. Kids are staying inside and old games that require physical activity are slowly disappearing.
I really enjoyed creating this painting of my nephew. It's a reminder of the games we used to play and some of the old traditions that remain in spite of the telenovelas and caricaturas heard from every doorway. I used to make my own baseballs out of old socks when I was little and Jeyson continues that practice today. I'm interested in doing more paintings like this that capture the traditions and pastimes enjoyed by my generation.
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.
I find the soft and delicate color of this kind of pumpkin to be very beautiful, I first saw these pumpkins 3 years ago when I was living in Kentucky. In Nicaragua we have the ayote (squash), which is very similar in shape but has a dark green color.
Squash is used in the US and in Nicaragua during holidays that involve going door to door and asking for treats, just in different ways. Here in the US it's used as a decorative piece during Halloween. In Nicaragua during La Purisima, the ayote is cooked with sugar cane and eaten as a dessert. During La Purisima, adults and children go door to door to houses celebrating la Purisima yelling out, "Who causes so much happiness?" Treat givers respond, "The Conception of Mary!" and then hand out candies or brindis.
La Purisima is celebrated the 8th of December culminating nine days of prayer. It's one of my favorite Nicaraguan holidays and something that I really miss from back home.