Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Guatemala Sketchbook Trip - Part 2



One of my favorite places on our sketchbook workshop in Guatemala with Amy was the "Convento de las Capuchinas".  Upon entering the building one is immediately struck by the contrast between the dark, shadowy hallways and the brilliant light that fills the central courtyard with its burgeoning bougainvilleas and fountain. After wandering around the outer ruinous grounds and beautiful gardens I decided I wanted to draw the courtyard.  I found the perfect spot and nestled myself contentedly among the arches.  


It may appear that I have drawn the columns too fat and wide, but they really were quite stout.  Below you can see a photo showing the columns and the lovely arches.


The building was consecrated in 1736 but suffered damaged during the severe 1751 and 1773 earthquakes.  When I looked it up on Wikipedia it said there were two kinds of nuns that lived in the convent, "discalced" and "urban".  One of the differences between them was that the former were not allowed to drink chocolate and had to wear rustic clothing while the latter were allowed to drink chocolate and wear fine clothes and jewelry.  I think I know what I would choose. 


The view from upstairs was stunning and there was a well-maintained museum on the second floor.  We were not allowed to take photos but I got a quick sketch in of some amazing tinwork. 


The day after the convent we visited the "Parque Central" for more sketching opportunities.  I wanted to sketch this church but ran out of time.  It had so many statues on its facade it would have taken me forever!


I did, however, make a sketch of the fountain in the center of the park.  The fountain is called "Fuente de las Sirenas" or "Mermaid Fountain" and is rather risqué (IMHO).  Amy liked to call it "La Fuente de Leche".  I debated whether or not to ink this one in but decided that statuary is sometimes best left un-inked.


As I said in my last post, one of my favorite things to do in Antigua is to observe the woman who are often dressed in traditional clothing and frequently have something balanced on their heads.  I asked one of the women if it was hard to do and she said no... that she learned it when she was a little girl.


Another colorful site are the street fruit vendors.  I love their little covered carts that always have fruit piled high and some unknown, colorful bags hanging from them.   


The photo below shows two icons of Antigua: the famous arch, "El Arco" and a tuk tuk.  We ended up walking everywhere so I didn't get a chance to ride in one of them.  I imagine it is a bumpy ride on the cobblestone streets.


Just past "El Arco" is another church which is not to be missed called "El Merced."  The white decoration on the cream building reminded me of icing.


One morning we ate in an adorable restaurant right off the central park square and it had a fountain in each courtyard.  I really liked this fish fountain.


I love how the fountains run the gamut from the Virgin Mary to risqué mermaids.


I also couldn't resist including a photo of the millstones that are embedded in the streets.  I collect millstones and had to appreciate this detail.  Imagine how hard it must have been to carve the surrounding stone to fit them in.

As I sit here writing this blog post looking down at my feet, I wonder why I like this shape so much and the heart sutra comes to mind, "Form does not differ from Emptiness and Emptiness does not differ from Form.  Form is Emptiness and Emptiness is Form."  It reminds me that this life is full of contrasts that define each other...like the silent, dark hallways and light-filled courtyard of the convent at the beginning of this post.  To take the observation even further, I am also aware of the contrast between the vast effort and movement in traveling to the colorful, exotic Guatemalan highlands and the return to the grey, still days of sitting in front of my computer in Ohio. Both have their appeal... but I could not appreciate one without the other and herein lies the beauty and play of this life.


“That which is empty, is full of everything in the cosmos.” ― Meeta Ahluwalia




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


1 comment:

ken swinson said...

I have enjoyed this taking this trip with you through your art/photos and blog. I'm thinking antiqua might be a good place for my next trip!?