The space at La Canela y Hierbabuena was different than the one at La Casa Museo Orlando Hernández, so Silviu and I had to figure out how we'd display the works. Silviu had a few Ikea frames he wasn't currently using in his house, so he lent them to me and I spent some time figuring out how to lay out my pieces, spraypainting the backing of the frames to better match the artwork, and getting it all installed appropriately. We then had to figure out how to get the frames onto the walls themselves which only had a few hooks to use - but Silviu came through again with some ingenious hanging solutions and we got everything up on display in the end - including my two assemblages and a framed assortment of my greeting card reproductions as well! Silviu brought a portable microphone/speaker setup (singers have some handy equipment!) and opened up the reception, I introduced myself and my artwork as well, and then we headed back.
There wasn't a lot of time left, but somehow we squeezed in a few more events and excursions. By this time I had actually just moved into Silviu's extra apartment since it was easier than commuting constantly from Noemi's, and because he didn't seem to mind my staying there rent-free (I would have loved to offer him rent as well, but I'd already paid Noemi and I unfortunately didn't have the budget to contribute it twice; I hope Noemi will perhaps share some of her fee with Silviu since his generosity knew no bounds!). One morning, Silviu and I had coffee with a local artist who is planning to branch out into offering his own artist residency. Silviu started some pieces of artwork under my supervision and learned how I use watered down acrylics and spray bottles to create some of my backgrounds. We had some lovely dinners. Noemi took me on one last trip out to see an old volcanic crater, and it gave me some call-of-the-void vertigo feelings since there were no safety railings or anything, but it was a nice hike up the volcanic side and we got to see a couple wild lagartos on the way back down. Silviu and I went out for one last scuba dive - it was really windy, and the dive group he often works with had canceled their dives that day, so I was a little worried, but I also have full trust in Silviu so when he said it'd be fine I was excited to get one final chance to dive. It was more than fine, actually - while it was so windy it did cause a lot of turbulence even below water, which kicked up a lot of seaweed and sand, it was also octopus day! We got to see two different octopi while out, in addition to the other beautiful sea creatures that I've gotten to see before but are nevertheless a joy to get to see again. I also held my artist lecture and QCC demo at La Canela y Hierbabuena, and sold a decent amount of greeting cards (yay!), and Silviu and I hung out with a local curator and her very sweet friend who had made our acquaintance earlier as we were coming up from a dive a couple weeks before.
My final night Noemi came down and Silviu, Noemi, and I all had late night tea and dessert, and then I started to pack while Silviu and Noemi chatted. Ricardo came by for a while, and then eventually they all headed out as I finished up packing (I couldn't do it earlier as I had to wait to take my artwork down from this last show and pack it into the bottom of the big suitcase first). By the time I was done, it was about 1am, and I had to get up at 4am, so I got about three hours of sleep. As did Silviu, as he was sweet enough to wake up early as well and drive me to the airport. Fortunately, given how tired I already was, the flights back while long were completely trouble-free. One interesting fact I did learn through watching Disney movies in Spanish on the way back is that the songs are not the same. This is probably already knowledge you have, but I did not and I was really startled when the first song in the Lion King was neither just played in English nor a direct translation - I mean, it makes sense because then it wouldn't rhyme, but still. People all over the world have different Disney songs. I actually really like the song "Be Prepared" from the Lion King and it sucks in Spanish. But in my opinion, the song "I'll Make a Man Out of You" in Mulan is perhaps even better in Spanish than it is in English. When I got back to Kansas City, Susan, another amazingly kind person in my life (my Art Program colleague at USM), came to pick me up and drive me back to my house.
So I am now back and am just getting caught up with the readjustment, which is good, because summer's almost over and I have more artwork I want to do from this residency before the summer ends! So hopefully I can get a little more done before the school year gets back into full swing... that being said, I'm already getting caught up in work now that everyone knows I'm back!
I feel extraordinarily lucky to have had the opportunity to meet Silviu, as he is, honestly, the nicest, most open person I've ever met. I have never been received with such hospitality and friendship from someone who has no preexisting reason to do so, and I am fortunate enough to know and count among my friends a lot of amazingly nice people. And not only that, but he's so skilled in so many areas and he was generous enough to share so much of his time and knowledge and talent with me. Not only does he know how to scuba dive and how to teach others to do so, he's also fluent in English and Spanish (and many other languages) so I felt safe going scuba diving with him; I don't know how I would have felt about attempting it with someone who, if I was having problems, I perhaps couldn't communicate with clearly. And then to top it all off, Mother Nature was clearly on our side as well - in our time in Arinaga's waters I got to see a cuttlefish (!!), two octopi, a giant ray, pufferfish, scorpion fish, trumpet fish, a moray eel, starfish, sea slugs, nudibranches, a fireworm, damselfish, a giant crab, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, lizard fish, schooling fish of several shapes and sizes, all wild in their natural habitat. I also really loved getting to know Noemi, as she's fantastic as well - she apologized a couple times about being so busy that she didn't have much time to spend with me, when she spent the most time with me that any residency director has! Plus, it is because of her friendship with Silviu that I got adopted by him too.
Overall, this was my favorite residency to date, which is not at all to say that others weren't outstanding as well. But the combination of everything I got a chance to do this summer - scuba diving, improving my Spanish, befriending Noemi and then Silviu, meeting other wonderful friends and family of them both - it was just perfect.