The big Picture 9/7/05

With a big painting in tow, my first oil in months, I march through the colorful streets of isla mujeres, proud as a new parent. The 1mx1m canvas is headed to bougambilia, a boutique on Avenida Hidalgo. Handmade clothing, photography, painting, and a range of handmade objects fill the space with unpretentious charm. Everything is wellcrafted and original, far more interesting than the formulaic production for sale in most tourist shops.

Victors wife has the poise of a dancer inspite of being quite pregnant and the exuberant smile of someone who is exactly where she means to be. They met on the island years ago and have returned to build a quiet life and raise a family. They make such a cute couple, the kind I wouldn’t be horrified to find myself in someday. Victors English is impeccable, but retains a mexican softness and pacing. Talking business with him is as casual and comfortable as talking about the weather.

Victor had handed me the big, if somewhat floppy canvas five days ago, now with a few grams of paint arranged to resemble the windswept palms, ever intrusive sand and full on mid day sun in which it took shape. A very cheerful composition, consciously distorted to sit nicely on the flat surface, details selected and amplified from the everchanging conditions during four days of wrestling with a big thing in salt sprayed air and sticky sands - a true plein aire painting. The shoreline sweeps in a great arch, zigzags into a rocky finger that breaks the turquois waves into white of foam and spray as they batter the crags. A leaning palm guides the eye up and around as the fronds bend towards the figures of two Italian girls that were flattered to pose for me.

The image now awaits adoption on the busiest block of the tourist drag. Once that happens I’ll be rich.