"Amigos" is the masculine plural of "amigo". Even
though I know that there are more ladies reading my letters then gentlemen,
the correct Spanish is to address mixed groups by the male plural noun.
Even if I were addressing one thousand ladies and only one man, I would
have to put "amigos" instead of the feminine plural "amigas".
The same rule applies in Italian with amici (male plural of friend)
and amices (feminine plural). That is enough of the learning and apologies
to the majority of you who no doubt already know this. I cannot resist
passing little bits of knowledge that come my way.
On the farm with El Rey, (The King), Emanuel, Kasilda and Andres.
In our house in Bocas, we usually entertain guests on the upstairs
terrace which is over the water. Most times, a cool breeze keeps the
temperature at a comfortable level and the view out over the bay is
spectacular. I am showing a photo of an evening this week when four
friends came by for drinks and crostini. I will tell you a little bit
Oscar Attilio Cortinovis comes from Sassari, one of the most beautiful
coastal towns on the Island of Sardinia, which belongs to Italy. He
is the owner of the town's best shoe shop which has been his place of
work for forty-two years.
Paki Juan Cristian is from Argentina. He is a medical doctor and film
producer. He became world renowned for his documentary of life in Sarajevo
during the siege of the city by the Serbs in 1998. Paki first arrived
in Bocas in 1997, the same year as us, and was instrumental in Bocas
becoming the location for many of the Survivor programs. Now he is about
to start shooting his own sequel to the Survivors, "La Isla del
Tesoro" (Treasure Island).
Aperitifs on the terrace with Italian and Argentinean guests:
Oscar Attilio Cortinovis, Melisa Shock, Paki Juan Cristian, Marie
Melisa is Paki's significant other and also the daughter of the fourth
person, Marie. She is a television executive producer from Rome. She
came to Bocas to direct the Italian Survivor program and fell in love
with Paki. Currently she is working on Italian Disney programs.
Marie was born in England, where she attended a special school for
the Arts. She specialized in acting and dance and at nineteen left home
to dance around the world. Marie did not get very far because while
dancing in Milan, Italy, she was courted by an Italian journalist and
for the past forty years has lived with him in Rome dancing and acting
on stage and TV.
As you can imagine it was an evening of interesting conversation.
Near to Malcolm's farm, two dear friends of mine have a property of
great beauty. Ten or so years ago, Dave and Linda Cerutti sold their
home in San Diego and built a house on the shores of Buena Esperanza,
(Good Hope). Dave used volcanic rocks that littered the ground to build
the the foundations and first floor and for the top floor used local
hard woods. The house is modest in size but a delight.
Their surrounding land they then turned into a haven of exotic flowers
and an arboretum of tropical trees. Added to this they grow Cacao (the
beans of which are the source of chocolate) and Linda organizes the
local ladies in the making and marketing of bags woven from fibers of
coconut fronds and colored with natural dyes. Green Acres, as they call
their property, is much visited by those lucky enough to have repeat
invitations. Often when Malcolm is bound for his farm, I get him to
drop me off at Green Acres.
Linda Cerutti shows Pat her prize Miss Joaquin (Vanda) orchid.
Linda is the founder and president of the Bocas Garden Club. The meetings
gather a large attendance of locals as well as us Gringos.
Well, this week I have given you a little bit of the local color. I
wanted you to know that it is not all work and no play, though in truth
when I am here, I do indulge in a great deal of time painting and I
have to be persuaded to take even short excursions.
This week I have reached the completion of another painting depicting
a scene from Frederick, Maryland, a town that delights me with its historic
buildings and gracious church spires. The principal subject of this
painting is the Carillon Tower. Before starting the painting, I thought
about how to bring out the character of the tower and at the same time
pay tribute to some of Frederick's spires. In this picture the tower
holds center stage and the spires stand behind, for once the supporting
The Carillon Tower, Frederick, Maryland.
The more I become involved in the subject, the more my imagination
ranges and at times I saw the tower as a president, surrounded by his
cabinet. As I painted the houses on either side of the tower, I imagined
living in each of them in centuries past. If you can follow me on this,
you will see how it is that painting is such a joy to me.
Work in progress.
Back to my painting.