More from Guanajuato
Four days here now, and one more full day left.
I´ve had 2 good painting days since the last post, and have completed 5 more paintings, for a total of 9 so far. 3 yesterday were essentially city scenes (one with the mountains in the background). Those are nice to do, but I think I´m finished with those now.
Today, I got up to the top of one of the mountains that ring the city, and did one painting of the landscape below. Guanajuato sits in a low bowl essentially, and on the other side of the far ridge, it just falls off into an enormous valley. Because of the dusty air, visibility died off after maybe 15 miles, and it really looked like the earth just vanished. Pure Magic.
I then spent a good hour visiting the expat american artist I mentioned in my last post. He owns a great gallery dealing in finer arts and crafts from indigenous people in surrounding states. He suggested that rather than taking a cab back down the mountain, I walk the trail that heads back to town. I´m extremely glad I did this. Not only did I see a perfect view of the 16th century church there (which I painted), but I also saw the most remarkable views of the city and surround mountain range.
He also suggested that tomorrow I go up further into the mountains… I might do this and paint. I had been planning to take a day to see the museums in town, but I am here to paint, and I really feel like I should do that. That said, there is of all things, a mummy museum here in town. Apparently the soil conditions are perfect here for mummification, and after less than 10 years in the ground, you´ve got mummy. If the families can´t afford the maintenance fees in the cemetary (which is basically full after 500 years), they just dig the bodies up and put them in the museum. Truly extraordinary.
There is really something of a medieval feeling to this place. Not just the mummy museum, but something more ineffible. This place is old, old, old to its very bones. The streets are tight, twisting, most of them are in fact 4 foot wide alleys. It´s not gloomy, though, it´s in fact remarkable vibrant. It´s nearly 9 now and the streets are FULL of people. And there are street vendors everywhere, selling everything, it seems. It has the sense of many people living in very close and intimate quarters with each other that I think is very alien to people in the US. Possibly New Yorkers might recognise some of it, but even then the scale is so different that the comparison would be lost… I know I´ve mentioned this before, but one of the things I find so intriguing about Mexico is it´s otherworldliness. Real european culture sitting on top of this alien (to me at least) indian culture… both very much alive and intertwined. Much of it seems very familiar, and then turn the corner, and it´s like being on a different planet. I love it.
Well, I really love this city, and have had a good time painting here. Thursday I´m off to Mexico City, where I will meet up with Sean, so I probably won´t post before then…