This is a scene from our summer of 2021 visit to Ghent aboard Viking.
Set to the Oscar Navarro’s gorgeous Noe (Noah). Oscar is from Valencia. He was in the audience when I heard him for the first time.
I did these small paintings at Aranjuez, Spain. The Summer Palace of Spain is located there. I wrote a bit about Aranjuez at http://www.garyjkirkpatrick.com/aranjuez-the-summer-palace-of-the-spanish-royalty/
A fall scene at Aranjuez:
At Aranjuez is the same scene as Carmen at Aranjuez. But there is no railing separating her from the harsh reality below –it’s nearly winter, the icy gray of the cold Rio Tajo running on the backside of the Palacio. Nonetheless there is beauty of sky and the shimmering reflections to enchant, but, yet, stay back. It reminds of those mythologies we invent to account for both the cruelty and charm of existence; no wonder our deities are so self-contradicting.
I was thinking of how I would miss my new friends, the warmth of her standing there contrasting with the coldness of the water, the building, affection as a guard against life’s sometimes harsh realities.
This building sits just across from the Palace. It was built in the mid 1800’s and completely renovated.
A few of these are still available. Please contact me for information.
From our safari to Zambia, June 2014.
These paintings are mostly from my journal, which I did while we were there. Some of the very small ones I later did on larger paper, also in water color.
We traveled by train for 1500 kilometers from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania to Zambia, and spent several days in a small village where our nephew works as a Peace Corps Volunteer. It was an uplifting experience.
It started with an hour long walk in the dark (see the painting “Heart of Lightness”). As we approached the village we heard shouts of joy, hugs and kisses soon following. Then they sang for an hour, choral harmony in which the whole village joined. We were perfect strangers yet they welcomed us as if we were long lost relatives. We lived in a small hut and watched the people work on the dam, harvest cassava and do other chores. What loads the women can carry on their heads! We ate with them, partied with them. They are sweet and innocent, these people of Lunda land.
I hope you will enjoy my portrayal of the experience, the colors, the scenes, the sense of innocence.
Heart of Lightness We walked on the path towards the village under the glow of the yellow moon. After almost an hour we saw the glow of campfires on the hill. Soon we were welcomed with shrieks and smothered with hugs and kisses on the cheeks.
The Chorus After we arrived they sang in harmony for an hour. Children in the front row would sometimes bang the rhythm on the ground. The second row was for the teens, and the adults were in the last.
They sang beautifully.
Women Dance At night the young women danced around a campfire, for which they used a brazier. The wood fire cast an orange glow. My original was just 2″x 4″. The rhythms were mesmerizing. Even some of the older women (by older I mean over 25, as the life span here is just 45) joined in. I wanted to also.
Women Collect Sand The Peace Corps project is a small dam for filling fish ponds. They need the protein and the income. They do not have much of either. They have goats but they do not eat them, they are for dowries, and they are lactose intolerant so nary a piece of cheese in the country. In this painting they collect sand for the dam.
Walking the Bush We explored the area around the village. Here are friends walk through the bush.
What I experienced gave me a new perspective, different colors, the elongated limbs, the redness of the soil.