Monday, February 25, 2013

Washed Souls

 “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off of our souls.” - Pablo Picasso

courtyard of the ruins of las capuchinas, a convent
I love to travel because it serves the same purpose. And when I travel I feel bathed in art--the beauty of nature and the creativity of people.

Last week I tried to help you hear the sounds of Antigua, Guatemala. This week I want to share my favorite sights, the colors and textures and designs that dust off my soul. 

Antigua is nestled among four of Guatemala's 29 volcanoes.  They are spectacularly high for those of us in North Carolina whose “mountains” in the continental divide top out at 2,900’. What an impression they make when you turn a corner and wham! there one is.

I haven’t seen them erupt, just puff smoke. But here’s a video of last year’s activity on Volcan de Fuego

I’ve been florally deprived for months and flowers were growing over every wall, out of crevices, and in every little plot of land. I couldn’t get enough of them!  Antigua’s blossoms were like a fix for my addiction.

photo by Wanda Easley
Not to be outdone by the natural vegetation, the outside walls of the houses are painted colorfully. A single long wall on any block may have a different color at the property line.
The result looks like a series of solid colored sheets hung on a clothesline. Weathering of the paint, and repainting also produces layers which peel and create an antiqued look. 

This region has one feature unique in all the world--Mayan textiles. They're as colorful as the flowers, but more exotic. Hand-woven, the cloth is primarily made of cotton dyed in deep colors. The designs are geometric, symbolic, and vary in complexity. Many items are embellished with fine embroidery. Not just museum pieces or novelties for tourists, t
he trades-women still wear traditional clothing. It’s a good draw for selling their crafts.The resourceful women are quick to adapt their skills to new products. I bought a water bottle carrier, and a padded bag for my iPad.

Then there are the street artists. I've purchased watercolors on both trips. There are many high quality art galleries and craft centers too. 

Antigua's beauty starts from the ground up. It is  a living, breathing canvas for both eye and spirit. 

What places do that for you? When was the last time you enjoyed an art museum? a botanic garden? Where would you recommend a person go to shed the dust of daily living? 

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