Friday, March 16, 2018

Guatemala Sketchbook Trip - Part 1

Last week I attended Amy Bogard's Sketchbook Workshop in Antigua, Gautemala.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but the trip was utterly fantastic!  Guatemala is truly a feast for the senses. I was overwhelmed by the textures and colors of the textiles, the food was ricísimo and I can still hear the music and smell the incense from the Lenten Processions.  After a delicious breakfast every day, Amy brought us to a location to sketch.  Below you can see Amy on the roof of our posada with Volcán Agua behind her.

“The gladdest moment in human life, me thinks, is a departure into unknown lands.”
– Sir Richard Burton

Our whole group was composed of seven intrepid women sketchers.  There is something magical that happens when you bring a group of women together for "crafty" purposes...a bond is formed through storytelling, shared experience, and connecting from the heart.  For six lovely days we sketched, drank wine, explored, oohed and aahed, shopped and sampled the local cuisine. 

On our first night there we were eating dinner when someone spotted the Lenten Procession coming down our street.  "La Procesión", as it is called, is an incredible display of passion, devotion, and artistry.  When witnessing it one feels like they have stepped back in time...or into another world.  The strong smell of incense filled the night air and crowds lined the streets to get a view.  It was truly a sight to see and we were lucky to be in Antigua during this time.  This video shows two clips put together.  The first part is the "Mary" float held up by purple-robed devotees.  And in the second part of the video you can hear the sad dirge music that accompanies the floats.

The float with Jesus carrying the cross was double the size of Mary's float and must have weighed a ton. The float itself swayed back and forth as the men underneath stepped in unison. There were probably 40 men underneath with pained expressions on their faces.

The next morning on our way to breakfast I was soaking in the color and repetition of form.  More than once I almost hit my head on the window sills that stuck out from the buildings because I was distracted by all the sumptuous details.

Our first day of sketching we didn't even have to leave our posada.  I am going to have to do a whole post on our hotel because it was so fabulous.  It was chock full of antiques on every available surface.  One of our first assignments of the trip was to choose a theme and to do a spread.  It could be anything...a color, a material, or whatever possibilities you might imagine.  I chose to sketch the wooden saints.

Here is a photo of the wooden Joseph santos and a close-up of the sketch.

One morning for breakfast we went to a coffee shop called Bella Vista and it truly lived up to its name.  As we were sitting there sipping our coffee and eating huevos rancheros, Volcán Fuego decided to belch a little smoke.  It was awesome and a little scary...but apparently it does that quite often.

One of our first nights in Antigua we passed by this church called San Hermano Pedro.  I fell in love with all the detail and made a mental note to ask Amy if we could sketch it one day.

The next day some of the group sketched the outdoor "lavanderia" near the church and Christina and I set up our little stools by the sidewalk and sketched the church for an hour or so.  You can see her sketch here.

Here is a close-up of my wonky church.

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre Gide

As I get older I find it harder and harder to leave the comforts of my house.  But when I take a trip like this it reminds me of the joys of taking a chance and trying something new.  I was completely and utterly enamored with Guatemala.  I have traveled a fair amount in Latin American countries and I've never been to a place where the women actually wear their traditional clothing.  I could have sat in the central plaza all day just gazing at the beautiful women balancing their gorgeous hand-woven textiles on their heads.  If you even have a hint of interest in taking this course I would encourage you to do so.  This trip was like a breath of fresh, incensed air to my soul and I am so thankful to Amy for enabling me to lose sight of the shore for a while. 

If you would like to read the other posts about this trip here are the links:

1 comment:

Amy said...

Wow Vanessa! Your post could not have put it better! What an amazing trip with a fantastic group of people. Thank you for coming along and for taking the time and care to post!
I will post soon!! (just got home last night and, alas, it's st patrick's day tomorrow! the music beckons!)