One of the areas of Guadalajara we really enjoyed visiting with Jairo was the "Jardin Cuautemoc" adjacent to the Plaza Expiatorio (Templo Expiatorio del Santisima Sacramento). On a Saturday night this park becomes a gathering place for the neighbourhood. Kiosks and vendors abound - organic produce, cheese, baked goods, home made jewelry. Local entrepreneurs mix with new-agers and old hippies. There is free entertainment. You can buy the most delicious coffee and crepes. People mingle. Children play. Wedding parties enter the church (templo). Young girls in evening gowns. Teens on bicycles. They are all there - and all enjoying. Over in the corner, there is a guy teaching couples to dance the salsa. A young couple in wheelchairs, holding hands, watch - envious but enjoying. And as we sit in a sidewalk cafe enjoying a lovely bottle of Chilean carmenere and snacks, I spot a woman sitting with another, older woman (her mother?), and a man (her husband). They are still - and taking in the tranquility of the evening. What a wonderful face she has. It is not beautiful - but it is strong - or I imagine it so. She looks tired. Her husband wanders off, but she stays behind. The older woman leans into her, and slips her arm into hers, What is in that face, I wonder? Patience? Resignation?
All I know is that I am moved. And inspired. I want to take her picture - but don't want to disturb her silence or be intrusive. I want to paint her.
I aim my camera from my waist and hope. It is night and I know I will not get a good picture.... but I get something.
I also grab a napkin and a pen and do a quick sketch.
My first attempt at creating a block print of this scene is below. I quite like it, but it doesn't quite capture the mood of the scene.
So I decided to redraw it - and go back to the photograph to refresh my memory.
I cut a new block and proofed - adding new sections as shown in the proofs below. The final (?? is there ever a final) is shown below. I enhanced the temple, embossing and outlining the towers in metallic gold watercolour.
"Enjoying an Evening in the Square"
We arrived back in Toronto in mid-March, and miss the sun and warmth. Spring is a bit sporadic and delayed here, and although things look promising, it is a good time to spend in the studio.
Since returning, I have been concentrating on wood block work, and have made a number of interesting new prints.
I started by preparing a block from one of the Mexican sketches I did while in Jocotepec. I liked the grid work on some of the paintings, and introduced it into the block as embossing. (It is hard to see in a photograph, but looks good in "real life"
Tony Marinus Vander Voet