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
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
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
Phone: (540) 949-6473 or (800) 343-8643
Web site: www.pbuckleymoss.com
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
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
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