Send this e-mail letter to a friend:

Hola Amigos for the last time for this visit from Panama,

This has been a week of preparation for our return to Virginia. We had a farewell lunch at the home of our neighbors, Tony and Silvia Chen, feasting on turkey. Later that night, we had a supper party for seven friends on the terrace above the sea. I served chicken curry and then brownies and vanilla ice cream. The curry was spiced up with a delicious chutney made by my son John.

Lunch with the Chen family.

Earlier in the week, Malcolm and I visited the provincial education office for discussions on a plan to bring student teachers of Spanish from Roanoke College, Virginia, to Bocas for stints of teaching English in the primary schools. Malcolm will be returning to Panama in three weeks time to help organize the distribution of thirty-two computers donated by Texas Hovercraft to the Foundation for use in the Bocas schools. Tonight he will be the auctioneer at a charity fundraiser dinner organized by the Gringo community. I am donating a tile on which I have painted a frog and Malcolm a live pig from the farm.

Pat and Malcolm with Education Supervisor Ricio de Chacon.

This week, I have turned my attention to painting in oil, working on a large scale. I am including a photo of a horse painting. I am going to keep the background abstract and focus attention on the quizzical look the horse is giving the viewer, as if the horse is uncertain about this stranger who has entered his world. I am slowly accumulating a collection of oil paintings here in Panama. Maybe one day I will have an exhibition in Panama City and then bring the collection to show in the Museum in Waynesboro.

Back to painting in oils.

I am not writing much this weekend. Packing up after three months takes a while. I will just briefly introduce you to two types of birds that we see a lot from our terrace over the sea. The glamorous ones are the Frigate birds with their massive wing spans. They ride high above us on the thermals. At times they come low and skim the water catching fish. Less beautiful are the Turkey Buzzards that land on the tin roofs of our neighbors. Ugly as can be, they serve a vital role in Bocas and the tropics in general by scavenging for the discarded animal and fish matter. When the buzzards walk across the tin roofs their claws sound like women walking in high heels.

The Turkey Buzzard sanitation team.

The Frigate bird with it wide wing span.

I will write next week from Mathews, Virginia. I know my garden will still be a mess from last year's hurricane but I am eager to see it nevertheless.

Hasta luego.



The following text is copyright, Richmond Times-Dispatch. Used with permission.

Take a look beyond the valley

Museum features more than the artist's celebrated folk-art-inspired paintings

P. Buckley Moss Museum

Where: Waynesboro. From Richmond, take Interstate 64 west to Exit 94. Turn left on U.S. 340, and the museum will be a half-mile ahead on the left.

Phone: (540) 949-6473 or (800) 343-8643

Web site:

Hours: Daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 12:30-5:30 p.m. Sunday

Admission: Free

Overview: One of the country's best-known popular artists, P. Buckley Moss celebrated her 70th birthday last year. This year, her museum turns 15. It's a place that will open your eyes if you've thought of Moss works as only her signature pieces, the folk-art-inspired scenes of Amish and Mennonite people in the Shenandoah Valley.

The museum's permanent gallery contains about 60 of Moss' works, arranged in chronological order. Her earlier paintings are more abstract than what a casual observer of her later art might expect.

One striking example of Moss' non-Valley paintings hangs over the permanent gallery's fireplace: Her "Blue Madonna" calls to mind the 17th-century painting of the same name, attributed to Carlo Dolci, in the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida.

There's an ample selection of her best-known work, with Amish and Mennonite folks, brick and stone farmhouses, Canada geese, skaters and horse-drawn carriages. But you'll also find a number of pieces that don't exhibit Moss' distinctive Valley style.

Included in these are a portrait of her mother, a selection of still lifes and representations of identifiable locations such as Natural Bridge, Tinkling Springs Presbyterian Church near Fishersville, Ash Lawn-Highland (James Monroe's estate in Albemarle County) and Mount Vernon.

One of the newer paintings, "Suffer Them to Come Unto Me," is a tribute to 9/11 heroes and depicts a New York City firefighter spraying water on the ruins of the World Trade Center.

Don't miss: The first-floor permanent gallery. Fans of the Valley scenes will find plenty to satisfy their appetite; they'll also learn about Moss' varied styles. And check out the basement gift shop, where hundreds of prints are for sale.

Short on time: The museum is redoing its second-floor gallery, so it's closed to the public at present. At the conclusion of the project, the museum will boast more than 200 original pieces.

Special events: This year, Moss will be at the museum April 23-25, July 9-11, Oct. 8-10 and Dec. 3-5.

Where to stay: Waynesboro has a number of chain motels. Nearby Staunton offers several noteworthy bed-and-breakfasts, including the elegant Belle Grae Inn at 515 W. Frederick St.

Where to eat: If you're looking for fast food or a chain restaurant, you'll find what you want in Waynesboro. For real home cooking at reasonable prices, try Mrs. Rowe's Family Restaurant on U.S. 250, west of Waynesboro near Staunton.--Jay Strafford

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

Past Issues

Contact us