Sunday, March 19, 2017

Three Masks and Don Patrocinio

 I just can’t get enough of painting murals at the nursing home Fray Rodrigo de la Cruz! Last week I went by to ask permission to do the third and –alas, last- mural in the dining hall. That took all of twenty seconds. “Mi amor,” the director said, “the wall is YOURS!” Leaving took me another hour because of course I had to say hello to all the friends I made there.The cute old man who was sitting at the “art table” insisted on showing me all the colouring pages he had finished. He had only a few pages left so I promised to bring him more. (Which I did and will continue to do. What an easy way to make someone happy!)
Anyway, yesterday was the day and thanks to a fantastic team we managed to finish the mural in just one day! There were three of us, so basically we did three days of work in one. My assistant Henry did a terrific job setting up the paints and materials and then helped marking the grid and sketching. Whereas drawing the grid took him a long time when he first started, he now has the hang of it and the job was done in no time. More great help came from Alice Lee, quite an accomplished painter herself, who had offered to volunteer. The design was ideal to work in a team of three. The wall wasn’t too high, so we didn’t have to fight over ladders and the width of the design gave each plenty of space to comfortably work in. We worked hard, only stopped for a quick lunch and despite a chat here and there, Don Saul’s constant singing and an abuelo hiding under our worktable, we were finished by 5pm!

This mural depicts Don Patrocinio Quesibaldo, a friendly old man whose favourite spot was the bench next to the exit where he could keep an eye on people’s coming and going. He liked the previous murals we painted and often came by for a chat. Unfortunately we heard yesterday that Don Patrocinio passed away soon after we finished our mural in January. I like to think he would be honoured to have his portrait on the wall.

Doña Trini was there of course, as always busy drying dishes (despite her 96 years of age) but taking regular breaks to give us hugs and positive feedback. Another old lady came by to tell me that she really enjoys the murals, especially the first one, of Doña Juanita and Don Inocencio. She said: “They were my friends and I talk to them. And you know what? They talk back to me!”

So, another great experience! It could of course not have been done without donations from Ann Kitchen, Amanda Gibson, Alice Lee, Ana Maria Ackermans, Suzanne Picot and Wendy Russell. Thanks so much! And of course a big thank you to Alice Lee and Henry Navarijo for a terrific job done!

So what’s next? I’d love to continue painting in the nursing home. The dining hall is quite done by now, but the complex is huge and there are plenty walls left. Also on my wish list is the new hospital of Obras Sociales in San Juan del Obispo. A huge brand new building with masses of white walls that make my fingers itch. And of course there are still some requests from schools on the shelf. And more dog murals at the Unidos para los Animales shelter…. Plenty of walls to think of, as long as the donations keep coming in, I’ll keep painting! Thank you all for your support!