Art Exhibit Opening: Encuentro de Cultusas

One of my favorite paintings!
Sorry! I did not get the country names for any of photos.

Because of an artist from Atenas in the show, a group of Atenas expats got to attend the Grand Opening of an Art Exhibition titled Encuentro de Cultusas (The Meeting of Cultures) with art from 18 different Latin American countries and all their ambassadors there plus other ambassadors including the U.S. and Costa Rican government officials and the art leaders. We were able to crash this party of dignitaries because of the local artist/photographer who got us in. It was wonderful! One of the best art shows I have ever seen. And the Children’s Museum location in an old fort/prison is simply cool!

And the other cool thing was that each country had hors d’oeuvres and drinks typical of each of the 18 countries. Some were really delicious! And all photos made on my Samsung cell phone!  🙂

The Costa Rica Children’s Museum (was a prison in early years)
The Entrance Hall
Some of the photography of  John Dessarzin of Atenas who got us in the show.

Someone’s Political Cartoon that includes Donald Trump.

Some traditional & cultural photography.

Plus lots of traditional paintings of culture and local people.

And even some Dominican Voodoo art.
I was amused that all these pretty girls wanted their picture made with
this artist who seems uninterested or bored. Oh well!
“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way 
— things I had no words for.” 
– Georgia O’Keeffe

More Garden Additions

Yesterday (Saturday) I took a taxi to La Garita to visit Vivero Central, my favorite plant nursery (largest in the country). Just walking through the place motivates you to work on your garden!

Kevin Hunter at Vivero Central in March, making a photo of course!

My new garden art is on a tree stump with a hole in a root near bottom that just needed a plant

coming out of it! Pequeño (small) of course! This is what I came up with:
Garrobo en español, like a small stateside philodendron or caladium.
Kind of snuggled into a crack of the tree base, like it would in the jungle!
I was afraid a vine might get out of control or take over the garden.

You just barely notice it at base of tree stump,
but I like the use of that hole for a plant and
think it makes the garden more interesting.
Its an ongoing, creative process that is fun!
And notice how my ground-cover has spread!
It is pilea depressa or helxine soleirolii – wonderful!
Next photo is up close of it:

pilea depressa or helxine soleirolii ground-cover in my main garden

I also got this small planter for my patio/balcony with a red flower that blooms
year-around! Plus it attracts colibri (hummingbirds)! Didn’t get the name of it.
You also see the crotons around one of my front yard palms and barely the
ground cover I added there. Next photo of it:
I haven’t even tried to get the name of this flowering ground-cover – love it!
Got a few cuttings from the apartment manager and it now covers the ground
around three different trees in my front yard. The crotons were already there.

The aloe vera was getting too big for the narrow bed it was in,
so it got a new home of its own in this pot at the end of walk by palma roja
(red palm) and you can see I added some free coleus around the palm.
Not sure that’s a good match, we’ll see. May move it. Had to plant it somewhere.
This pot might later go on the balcony/patio, my medicine cabinet for burns! 🙂
And it had two babies, so I have plenty of aloe around.

I also added two ferns in two bare spots which is another texture this tropical garden needed. And I got a new ceramic pot for my dining room plant which was in a plastic pot. Accomplished at lot!

And if you have wondered about the concrete wall behind my new garden, well, my house is built into the side of a hill. It is a retainer wall above which is the landlord’s driveway on one side (below photo) and a neighbor on the other side (above photo). I have planted Triquetraque or Mexican Flame Vine at top of the wall which will soon cascade down with beautiful orange flowers and cover the ugly concrete. I’m trying to be patient while it grows!  🙂   Photo below (22-July-2015 growth):

Triquitraque or Mexican Flame Vine will someday cover my back wall.
The advantage of being the first one in a new house is I get to help design it!

One of my “regular” taxistas (taxi drivers) is Nelson. He is learning English and helps me with my Spanish and I help him with his English. This is his second time to take me to La Garita and he is patient waiting on me shopping. In fact he walks around with me and seems to enjoy it. I pay him above the going rate for this trip to make it fair for an hour and half+ of his time. And I now have a favorite helper at Vivero Central named Francisco (who gave me the coleus). He is so good at helping me and does pretty fair English and puts up with my Spanish, so more good local friends/helpers. And a tip will assure good service next time. Its my second time with Francisco and he has already remembered me! La Garita is halfway between Atenas and Alajuela and is the plant nursery “capital” of Costa Rica, 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) east of Atenas through the mountains and over the Rio Grande. 

It is always exciting to open the door and go out 
into the garden for the first time on any day.
– Marion Cran

Silent Art Auction a Community Party

Both children and adults were excited about my nativity collection. All sold!

It was a wonderful community party for families,
here watching one of the Music School performers.
With my photos & paintings all around them! 

Some of my art collection was sold in Nashville, but I shipped a lot here and after going through it for the pieces I could use in my house, everything else went in the Silent Auction, a first time experience for many here. The hundreds of people who came were nearly all Tico, wonderful local folks. Only 3 or 4 expat or gringo households showed up. Everything was purchased and some at bargain prices! It does my heart good to know how much of my art/photos are in Tico homes here in Atenas! And the Atenas Marching Band (free Music School) and Su Espacio have benefited pretty well from the sales. But, as David said, the best thing about it was how much fun people had being here and being together and discovering new things cheaply. He is thinking of beginning a monthly flea market as a similar social experience and opportunity for struggling people to bring in a few dollars. It is all about community at Su Espacio! 

The Music School Choir sang along with lots of individual music acts, almost like a recital among my photos & art.

The Music School Mom’s sold yummy Tico Food to help with fund-raising.
Mi tamal y el café era muy delicioso! 

David (my Spanish teacher) and his wife Corinna were the cashiers.
They operate Su Espacio Community Center. He is a Tico from Atenas
and she is Italian! They have two beautiful children!
And of course it was the Tico adults who bought the art, in spite of my other photos showing mostly kids! 

And now Atenas has been introduced to “Silent Auctions!”  Before this weekend, an “auction” meant some men were selling their cows at the bull ring. And our cultures continue to blend!  🙂

“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” 
― Barack Obama


“No one has ever become poor by giving.” 

― Anne Frank, Diary of Anne Frank

Choosing & Hanging Art

One of the toughest jobs settling in my new rent house has been choosing what art to use . . .
. . . or really, what art to keep and what to give away. I’ve done it! Here’s the results and from now on I will be focused on making new art! And oh yes, my walls are all concrete! Had to buy an electric drill and concrete drill bit. But worth it!   🙂   And landlord said I could drill all I want! I just pay for spackling and a paint job when I leave.

On wall opposite the kitchen I put “Reelfoot Green,” a favorite photo of mine
which at 34″ x 24″ is a transition from outdoor trees in windows right and left.
I see fig tree through office left and yellow bell trees through living room right.
The linoleum print of “Staghorn Summac” in the
Smoky Mountains was a gift from my mother-in-law.
+ 2 of my recent garden butterfly photos on canvas.
Corner of Living Room opposite my birds wall.

Coming in from balcony or sitting on couch, you see a wall of tropical birds.
Photos are mine, Costa Rica & Panama, Kuna Indian Bird Mola is from Panama.
Painting of Scarlet Macaw is by boatman’s wife on Amazon River Mission Trip.
Bust on table if from Mali, West Africa and little basket from The Gambia.
Clock with rotating pendulum was an anniversary gift from LifeWay.
I normally do not like art above kitchen cabinets, but this gift from a Masaii
young man of Kenya was a gift after we entertained him overnight in Memphis.
The colors fit here and no where else until I find a better place rather than donate.
In the laundry room off the kitchen I found a place for my Cow Weathervane
photo I made at Nashville Farmers’ Market. Glad to keep it!
Above my Office desk is “The Trader,” a cloth painting by a Fula artist in
The Gambia West Africa and my favorite charcoal head of Christ by W. Hoffman.
Opposite my desk above a brown couch/bed is a Fula Batik from The Gambia.
And a favorite photo of my Amazon Indian guide waiting in the rain by canoe.

Again, I normally would not put art above cabinets, but to hold on to these,
I have last week’s mystery butterfly photo and my Tortuguero Sunrise photo.
The dark is my bookcase and the light is my guest room/office wardrobe.
Both are photos on canvas.
Above my bed is the print of “Christ in Gethsemane” by Heinrich Hofmann, 1890.
It was in my grandmother’s bedroom until she died. The hand-carved cross is
from the Pleasant Hill Kentucky Shaker Village. My monotone brown bedroom!
I know, it looks like a monk’s room! That’s okay. It is peaceful and where I sleep.

My photo of a Mandinka Potter in The Gambia with a
portion of Isaiah 64:8 printed on it. Opposite my bed.
“O Lord, you are our Father, we are the clay, you are the potter.”

As I leave my bedroom, a monkey wood carving from Makasutu Forest, Gambia.
And my collection of caps to protect a mostly bald head from sunshine. Art?
As you enter the hall from garden is my oil painting
by Uncle Harlan of Mulberry Creek, Arkansas.

Painted by my Grand Uncle Harlan Hunt of a real place in North Arkansas Ozarks.
My bedroom to left and office, kitchen, living room to right. 
Also in hallway, going to garden are two flower pictures by bathroom door.
Tennessee Tulips are my photo on canvas and Yellow Roses oil painting
by my Uncle Harlan Hunt. 
Coming out of the bathroom you see my photo of
a door in 1582 Spanish Fort San Juan, Veracruz, Mexico.
Another one of my favorite photos on canvas!  
In the bathroom opposite the mirror is my panorama of Vinales Valley, Cuba.

At 36″ wide, I think it makes a beautiful vista for a bathroom. One of my favorite shots from the Cuba tour, Vinales Valley.

I emptied about two of the large boxes of art for my walls, etc. Hard decisions.
There are two boxes of family photos, etc. I am keeping, for now anyway.
Now the rest of these go to Su Espacio for an Art Silent Auction this Saturday
to raise money for both the community center and the Atenas Marching Band
and its free music school for low income children. Then I get my dining room back!
And the 3 pieces of rent house art I’m keeping are the fruit paintings in dining & kitchen.
I love them!

You can pray that lots of people show up for the auction and are generous in their bids. I’m hoping to raise more than a thousand U.S. dollars or 500,000 colones. 9-11 AM this Saturday, 18 July, at Su Espacio Community Center across from the Coopeatenas gasolinera.

To see photos of the art being offered in the auction including 22 international creches, go to: 
http://www.pbase.com/charliedoggett/costa_rica_art_benefit_auction_atenas

And here’s the English version of the flier we are using to advertise it:

House Tour – Inside Today!

Dining Room & Kitchen with my new pot plant on right.
Looking out towards balcony from kitchen. Living Room left, dining right.
Living Room with my Strangler Fig Tree out the window.
And my new indoor plant at left. (She had an artificial plant there.)
Guest Room Bed is a couch until you get here! Living room couch also a bed!
This one is my office couch most of the time.

This office/guest room came with a desk and chair!
I added printer table and have an extra desk chair for sale!
(The one I bought while at apartments.)

My bedroom without her pretty comforter on bed. I don’t care for her orange accent
and plan to replace that lamp with a bronze one I saw at the hardware store today,
maybe this week. I’m pretty quickly making it my home in every way. Sleep well!
Ceiling fans are in here, office/guest room, and living room. A/C is not needed.
Remember, Atenas has the best climate in the world says National Geographic.
I leave all windows open around the clock, including the sliding glass door.
That way I get breeze from all directions and a wide overhang roof keeps rain out.

One bath is plenty even with the rare overnight guest.
I have plenty of storage, big shower & like brown trim.
Entrance Plaza to Entrance Hall at end of my driveway parking space.
Fall color oil painting isn’t very Costa Rica like or tropical, but beautiful!
I may not replace it. Everything doesn’t have to be tropical or Latin American!

Laundry Room off the kitchen
The electric dryer was almost reason enough to move!
And this is an American brand with English on dials!
It was fun hanging clothes out, but its rainy season now.
Had I stayed in apartment, I would have purchased a dryer.
“La Terraza o El Balcón”  in Spanish and Latin Culture, Patio/Deck or Balcony
I’m sure I’ve already said that this is my favorite room! I eat most meals here and
do a lot of reading out here. I’m more than halfway through Lord of the Rings!

Yesterday’s post was “House Tour – Outside” in case you missed it!

This is where I enjoy retirement! Pura Vida! in Atenas, Costa Rica!

La Muchacha

West End 3rd floor landing balcony, La Muchacha & door to my apartment.

In the dictionary, “muchacha” is just another Spanish word for girl, but in real life Costa Rica it is more; what the young men call a good-looking young lady, like “chick” in the states. My taxi driver in a barrio of San Jose whistled at a couple of teenage girls, looked at me, smiled, and said “Barrio’s Muchachas!” Well, we have one at Hacienda La Jacaranda too – at my front door!
“Muchacha” is what two-year old Matthaeus in the apartments calls the only statue in our building. It is a wood carving of a nude girl (sun worshipping?) that stands on the west end 3rd floor landing right across from my front door and and my neighbor’s door. Hmmmmm . . . you say! Well, it’s just art! Phons, the previous owner, loved nudes! (Has more around his house.) And I didn’t put it there! Wait until you see the paintings he put in my living room! But for now enjoy these photos of Matthaeus’ Muchacha! 🙂 Our wooden chick!
Carved from one piece of wood, dated 2004.

Looks like sun worshipping to me!

You hardly notice it when you walk up the hill.
Today I had lunch with a couple and their lady friend from New Jersey. Tomorrow I’m taking the retired man birding on the Tarcoles River. My first time to get that far away from Atenas for nature photography. I’m looking forward to it. Lots of birds tomorrow!

Whimsical Art?

There is tile work in several places on our apartment grounds, but this guardhouse just inside the gate is one piece that looks almost Disneyesque or fairy-tale like. And of course it is not used, since we don’t have a guard. Phons probably considers it a piece of art. I pass by it every-time I go to town. Like all photos here, you can click on it to see an enlarged version. Made with my phone.

He has contemporary art throughout our apartments. My two paintings are Picasso-style nudes. One of the third floor stairwell balconies has a nude statue looking out over our view. Interesting!

Art, Play, or Vandalism?

Art, Play, or Vandalism?   In Sabana Park.

Good, long flight from Nashville to San Jose through Charlotte of all places! Arrived about 1:30 this time which is Central Standard Time (no daylight savings thank goodness) which means in the summer it is like the U.S Mountain Savings Time. It was lightly raining on arrival and at supper time now is raining hard. May through November is “Rainy Season” which is mostly afternoon showers. And yes, I planned to come in rainy season on purpose. If I move here, this is what it will be like, half the year. December to April is “Dry Season” with no rain in most places except the coastal rain forests which have rain year around. The northwest part of Costa Rica, called Guanacaste, is dry year around with some rain during rainy season. It is like some of our American West.

Well, anyway, I was in my hotel by 3:00 in downtown San Jose and with only a mist and my umbrella I walked two blocks to Parque Sabana which is bigger than New York’s Central Park and made a few photos. I promised to just do one a day, so I chose the weird one instead of the cute boys playing soccer, a tree I liked, or the beautiful yellow hibiscus across from the hotel. This monster eating a picnic table next to a slide made of logs intrigued me and maybe I will learn more about it later. The children were playing on the regular playground. So, is it art, play, or vandalism? Click photo to see it larger.