Mexico – camino en belleza

centuries of feet

sun and rain and heated rock

creating magic

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closely absorbing

the sidewalks of San Miguel

painter’s ecstasy

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each breath enchanted

every step a masterpiece

each day on my knees

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so many wonders

geological galleries

in these dusty streets

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photography and haiku by clinock

Mexico Redux #7 – the Dance of Life

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So, Clinock, enough already with these Redux posts – when are you going to publish some new art? Well my friends – I’m working on it – not just for you but also for me, me, me (it’s all about me don’t ya know). I’ve been delightfully   moodling –  happily idling, dawdling and puttering.

This redux is from Mexico last year with strong connections to Easter which will be hatching for us all soon.

All photos by yo. Click on images for larger detail.

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Spring 2012 – Hundreds of Indigenous dancers from across Mexico and from many tribes in North America recently gathered in the center of San Miguel De Allende to celebrate a local religious event connected to Easter festivities and ritual. When viewing the photos you can complete the picture by imagining the swirling movement of the dancers combined with the sensual intensity of the loudest drumming I have ever heard, the explosion of fireworks and the ringing of church bells.

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This is an event that combines pre-Christian spring ritual with Catholic beliefs. J.C. (not me) is ever present but becomes a partner in the timeless dance of life.

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I was blown away by the sensuality – sound, colour, movement, intensity and shared humanity of these dances. My Vancouver home has little to compare with these celebrations of new life – too much sangfroid in our northern climes.

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The inclusion of animals in the dress of the dancers was a reminder of our sharing of this planet with all living creatures. In Mexican mythology and legend animals play a leading role. We are all animals – which one do you choose to be?

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Sharing water – do you all grok this?

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Mexico Redux 6 – Paintings from El Patio – 3.

Desire

Desire. 11″ x 15″. Acrylic and oil on paper. Created on El Patio February 2012.

Sometimes I wonder if she smiles for me

or for some wild entity

rampaging through the backyards of her mind,

tantalizing, slippery with lust and

parting her night with lunar hands.

 

Fallen from grace and wingless he comes

trailing smoke in the tomcat night,

clawing at her window, his hungry

face pressed hard against the glass

mouthing his irresistible song.

 

Trembling her invitation, thrilled to her bones

in the humming dark on naked sheets,

she longs for scarlet breath, volcanic depths,

a touch that opens lips and

his pulsing, swelling blood.

 

The night has teeth, tongues that lap

the flesh as cats ingesting milk. Flickering shadows

cloaking cries of skin, hallucinating seeds of ecstasy,

exploding stars, sighing moons and helpless birds

spinning through stirred clouds.

 

Bound by whispers, caressed by drums,

dancing in arms of fire igniting fire,

released and wanting, opening, closing,

surrendering to wolf and owl, she dreams

the ancient forests of desire.

Painting and Poem by Clinock.

Mexico Redux 5 – Paintings from El Patio – 2.

The Other

The above painting is The Other. 11″ x 15″. Acrylic and oil on paper. Created on El Patio February 2012. While working I often had the feeling of another presence at my side or looking over my shoulder. Not the art school instructor or a tequila sprite but an ineffable companion in the act of art. I struggled to make this feeling tangible in this painting.

Who is the third who walks always beside you?

When I count, there are only you and I together

but when I look ahead up the white road

there is always another one walking beside you

gliding wrapt in a brown mantel, hooded

I do not know whether a man or a woman

but who is that on the other side of you?

T.S. Eliot – from The Waste Land – V.

Mexico Redux 4 – Paintings from El Patio – 1.

SMA Patio

As I’ve mentioned before, when in San Miguel De Allende I painted on this inspiring patio attached to a local art school. I’ve just heard (Feb. 2013) that the school has been sold due to the owners illness. I call on all muses to ensure it continues unchanged as an art school and not as a restaurant or worse. My days here were blissful and in the next few posts I will re-show some of the paintings I made on El Patio in early 2012.

The above is Pie Rat. 11″ x 15″. Acrylic and oil on paper. Influenced by memories of wanting to be a pirate when young, pirate stories of my Celtic ancestors and tales of daring-do off of the coast of Mexico, (also, of course, related to my blog – Art Rat – Pie Rat – close kin). Recently this image has come to symbolize other, less fantastical aspects of my life – but that’s another story….

Mexico Redux 3 – A Yarn of Magic…

For explanation of this series please see Mexico Redux 1.

I wrote this post just before leaving for an extended painting trip to Mexico in January 2012. I have edited the original for this redux.   I talk about Huichol art because the high desert surrounding San Miguel De Allende (the town I paint in) is home to the ancient peoples and rituals that give birth to this art form. Huichol art has always been cloaked in a veil of mysticism — probably one of the reasons serious collectors seek out this form of artesanía. Colourful, symbolic ‘yarn paintings,’ inspired by visions experienced during spiritual ceremonies, characterize Huichol art. In the ceremonies, shaman artists ingest peyote, a hallucinogenic, which induces brightly coloured visions; these are considered messages from their ancestors. The symbolic and mythological imagery of these visions influences the art, which encompasses not only yarn paintings but also fascinating masks and bowls decorated with tiny colored beads. ‘Yarn paintings’ are created by patiently and sensitively adhering hundreds of strips of brightly coloured yarn to a solid background to form images such as are seen in the artwork above.

I purchased this ‘yarn painting’ from Antonio, a Huichol shaman artist in San Miguel De Allende. Despite our difficulty in conversing – his English and my Spanish being poor – I understood that certain symbolic images appear in this work. I wrote down what I could understand of what Antonio told me about those images and have made a tentative translation of his words into a poem of sorts:

Wearing the mask of the sacred deer the Healer dances until dawn around the ceremonial fire. We all dance until dawn around the ceremonial fire.

Taking the meat of the sacred deer the Healer feeds the people and the gods around the ceremonial fire. We all feed each other around the ceremonial fire.

Before the dawn the Healer must perform the cleansing. The Moon offers the Healer her secret power of wisdom and dreams to perform the cleansing and we are cleansed.

After the dawn the Healer must perform the healing. The Sun offers the Healer his secret power of heat and light and with eagle feathers the Healer performs the healing and we are healed.

At noon the Water God sends the Hummingbird. The Hummingbird is the third blessing of the dance. The Hummingbird brings laughter and children and blesses the Healer and we are all blessed.

At sunset the Healer blesses the corn. The blessing of the corn offers hope for a full harvest, offers hope for our health and for our children’s health, offers full bellies for us all.

In this way we honour our gods. In this way we honour our ancestors. In this way we honour the earth. In this way we honour ourselves.

 Huichol Yarn Painting by Antonio / Poem by Clinock.

Mexico Redux -1

Rite of Spring. 22" x 30". acrylic on paper. (Ptg #19).

Rite of Spring. 22″ x 30″. acrylic on paper.

Although it has been an unbelievably mild winter in Vancouver, with new growth promising an early spring, I am still missing my annual visit to the heat of Mexico. Usually at this time I am either soaking in the roaring surf of Sayulita or painting in the sun drenched courtyards of historic San Miguel De Allende. Instead, I am rusting in the overcast chill of  a wet, north-west coast February.  So, for awhile, I am taking a virtual holiday by re-visiting some of my past Mexico posts, with a little tweaking and editing. I hope to share the southern sun with those of you who are deprived of such in this turn of seasons.

Patio SMA

Rite of Spring was created in San Miguel De Allende in this warm, sun dappled patio filled with sculptures, paintings, cats, street sounds, the coming and going of art students, nut sellers and the soulful music and song of central Mexico. I was inspired by images of the heat and colours of the Aztec sun god merged with the tree spirits of the dark northern forests of Canada dancing to the drums and singing of ancient Haida voices.