Our planned exploration of the communities on the west side of Presa Allende came to a halt in front of a pond-like puddle from the previous night’s rain which filled a steep dip in the road. Linda sent me out to test the depth which, using a twig and not my legs, was about half a tire deep around the edges. Caution prevailed and we turned back to paint an iglesia that we had been wanting to paint for months in El Salitre.
One of the ranchos we had planned to visit was Tlaxcalilla. To check if it would be worth it to return to visit another day, we stopped by a tienda to confirm directions to Tlaxcalilla and ask if there were capillas in Tlaxcalilla. I thought I said, in my best Spanish, something like, “Mi amiga y yo nos gusta pintar las capillas. Hay capillas en Tlaxcalilla?” (My friend and I like to paint capillas. Are there any capillas in Tlaxcalilla?) The teenager looked puzzled and replied, “No, no hay caballos para montar.” (No, there aren’t any horses to ride.) Finally got it straightened out. And, yes, there are two capillas in Tlaxcalilla and plenty of horses, but Tlaxcalilla will have to wait for another day.
The well cared for Iglesia del Salitre was our first plein air outing since recent watercolor classes. For me, trying to incorporate too many new techniques or ideas is sort of like the child’s game of patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time.
I did manage to simplify the background and use the very limited color palette of cobalt blue, Naples yellow and quinacridone burnt scarlet. More art minutia than you signed up for???
Neither of us was satisfied with our first paintings and we both repainted from photos. Linda rethought her colors using a more limited palette than in her first painting and I worked on perspective. The photos we used were taken at different times of day thus the difference in light and shadows.
While we weren’t able to go inside the iglesia, the calvario in the atrium has intriguing stone carvings inside and out. This is the third iglesia or capilla with carvings of figures with arms raised that appear to be holding up the heavens or sky. We are still searching for an interpretation.
Inside the calvario, and only visible by sticking ones head completely inside, is this carving with, we think, symbols of peyote at the top right and left. Thus go our adventures from puddles to peyote….
El Salitre: population 166; elevation 1868 meters; dwellings 40; GPS: 100.890833, 20.908056