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Hola Amigos,

Today is Shrove Tuesday (Fat Tuesday to some) and the last day of our five day Mardi Gras carnival. Since Friday the town has been packed with visitors from near and far. Our town is the only one in the province staging a carnival and the ferries to the island have been full to the limits.

The carnival "marchers."

By yesterday the restaurants were running short of food and more had to be brought in from the mainland. The tour boat operators are happy with their best business ever and anyone with a room to spare has been able to make an extra buck renting it out to those who do not want to sleep on the beach.

The tour boats were filled to the last seat.

The music plays continually from mid morning until sometime close to the next dawn. The main street has been closed to traffic and each evening there has been a parade. Behind the floats come the marchers, except they do not march but dance their way forward to the beat of music. Some dance elegantly with seemingly effortless steps while others are more frenzied in their show of exuberance. Malcolm and I watch from the sidelines and then retire long before midnight and go to sleep to the beat of the bass drum.

Saturday we had the monthly Garden Club meeting. The subject was Ikabana flower arrangement. We each took to the meeting an unusual flower container and then decorated one other than our own. I took a conch shell and Betsy Boeve added to its beauty with an arrangement that included a Heliconia.

Pat admiring Betsy's arrangement in the conch shell.

The Garden Club meets on the third Saturday of each month and starts with a buy and sell of plants. This week Malcolm and I bought geraniums and petunias to give color to the raised flower beds we have had built on either side of the front steps to the house. We still have to do the planting. In my next letter, I will show you a photo of how it turns out.

I am showing you a photo of the view from the verandah of my studio. It is not a pretty view in comparison with the other end of the house. From that side we have a wide vista of the bay and the island of Carenero, where we first lived. I took this photo to remind me in future years of how our corner of town looked in 2004.

The view from Pat's studio.

When we came to Bocas in 1997, it had changed little since the 1920's when it was the headquarters of The United Fruit company and its banana operation. In 1993, an earthquake tipped many of the houses bordering the sea into the water. Some of the locals were so traumatized that they left to live on the mainland and it is only in the past six years that the town has been experiencing a rebirth.

Now to this past weeks paintings:

Again, I am illustrating the Lancaster carousel painting. This may seem repetitive of me but I am doing so because it shows how the progress of an unusual painting such as this comes about. The challenge has been to incorporate as many of the animals as possible while remaining true to the integrity of the subject.

If I were to show all forty animals, I would have to use a linear composition and that would not represent the circle of a carousel. It would become a documentation piece and be devoid of the cohesive movement and the joy of the animals.

The chosen animals are my favorites. I have them so that while they are still part of the carousel and its movement, they are interacting with you the viewer. With the dog I took a liberty in having him face back and observe the others. This allowed me to bring weight to the bottom right and balance the painting. You will notice I have strengthened the image of each animal; this came about as I grew more confident that I had found the answer to the challenge. I have also added strength to the blue circle and darkened the outer limits emphasizing the togetherness of the animals. I am now very close to completion of a painting that has taken two years in the making.

Progress on Pat's carousel painting.

This brings me to a point. I am often asked how long it takes me to paint a painting. If you take this carousel as an example you might think the answer is as much as two years. The true answer is seventy years, or however old I am at the time of the asking. A painting represents my life's experience. It contains thoughts and experiences that were not made in an instant or in two years but come from all that I have seen and felt in my lifetime. I am sure a musician would feel the same or any artist for that matter.

Three paintings of Brownies and their leader.

I am also showing you two paintings of Brownies and one of Brownies and their leader. I have often told you of the depth of my admiration for the scouting movement. It is natural for me to want to express that admiration in my art. On March 26-27, a troop of Brownies are having a "lock in" at our museum. They will start with a guided tour of the exhibition, do other art related activities and then sleep on the floor in sleeping bags.

The last painting I am showing you is a gentle painting of a Day Lily inspired by a week of floral activities.

Pat's Day Lily painting.

Well that is enough for this week. In two weeks' time we will be headed back home. I have been talking with grandson Sean and he is impatient for us to get together again and I feel the same way.


The Moss Portfolio
HC 69 Box 17118 Poplar Grove Lane
Mathews, VA 23109
(800) 430-1320
©P. Buckley Moss 2004

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