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Carillon. December 16, 2017. San Diego, California.

Carillon. December 16, 2017. San Diego, California.


They had put together a delightful album with the postcards that Pietro Crespi received from Italy. They were pictures of lovers in lonely parks, with vignettes of hearts pierced with arrows and golden ribbons held by doves. “I’ve been to this park in Florence,” Pietro Crespi would say, going through the cards. “A person can put out his hand and the birds will come to feed.” Sometimes, over a watercolor of Venice, nostalgia would transform the smell of mud and putrefying shellfish of the canals into the warm aroma of flowers. Amaranta would sigh, laugh, and dream of a second homeland of handsome men and beautiful women who spoke a childlike language with ancient cities of whose past grandeur only the cats among the rubble remained. After crossing the ocean in search of it, after having confused passion with the vehement stroking of Rebeca, Pietro Crespi had found love. Happiness was accompanied by prosperity. His warehouse at that time occupied almost a whole block and it was a hothouse of fantasy, with reproductions of the bell tower of Florence that told time with a concert of carillons, and music boxes from Sorrento and compacts from China that sang five-note melodies when they were opened, and all the musical instruments imaginable and all the mechanical toys that could be conceived. Bruno Crespi, his younger brother, was in charge of the store because Pietro Crespi barely had enough time to take care of the music school. Thanks to him the Street of the Turks, with its dazzling display of knickknacks, became a melodic oasis where one could forget Arcadio’s arbitrary acts and the distant nightmare of the war.”

“Habían hecho un precioso álbum con las tarjetas postales que Pietro Crespi recibía de Italia. Eran imágenes de enamorados en parques solitarios, con viñetas de corazones flechados y cintas doradas sostenidas por palomas. «Yo conozco este parque en Florencia», decía Pietro Crespi repasando las postales. «Uno extiende la mano y los pájaros bajan a comer.» A veces, ante una acuarela de Venecia, la nostalgia transformaba en tibios aromas de flores el olor de fango y mariscos podridos de los canales. Amaranta suspiraba, reía, soñaba con una segunda patria de hombres y mujeres hermosos que hablaban una lengua de niños, con ciudades antiguas de cuya pasada grandeza sólo quedaban los gatos entre los escombros. Después de atravesar el océano en su búsqueda, después de haberlo confundido con la pasión en los manoseos vehementes de Rebeca, Pietro Crespi había encontrado el amor. La dicha trajo consigo la prosperidad. Su almacén ocupaba entonces casi una cuadra, y era un invernadero de fantasía, con reproducciones del campanario de Florencia que daban la hora con un concierto de carillones, y cajas musicales de Sorrento, y polveras de China que cantaban al destaparlas tonadas de cinco notas, y todos los instrumentos músicos que se podían imaginar y todos los artificios de cuerda que se podían concebir. Bruno Crespi, su hermano menor, estaba al frente del almacén, porque él no se daba abasto para atender la escuela de música. Gracias a él, la Calle de los Turcos, con su deslumbrante exposición de chucherías, se transformó en un remanso melódico para olvidar las arbitrariedades de Arcadio y la pesadilla remota de la guerra.”

“Avevano fatto un grazioso album con le cartoline postali che Pietro Crespi riceveva dall’Italia. Erano immagini di innamorati in parchi solitari, con illustrazioni di cuori trafitti e nastri d’oro sorretti da colombe. “Io ho visto questo parco a Firenze,” diceva Pietro Crespi sfogliando le cartoline. “Stendi la mano e gli uccelli scendono a mangiare.” Certe volte, davanti a un acquarello di Venezia, la nostalgia trasformava in tiepidi aromi di fiori l’odore di fango e peoci marci dei canali. Amaranta sospirava, rideva, sognava una seconda patria di uomini e donne belli che parlavano una lingua da bambini, con città antiche della cui passata grandezza restavano soltanto i gatti tra i ruderi. Dopo aver varcato l’oceano alla sua ricerca, dopo averlo confuso con la passione nei brancicamenti pieni di veemenza di Rebeca, Pietro Crespi avevo trovato l’amore. La ventura portò con se la prosperità. Il suo magazzino occupava allora quasi un isolato, ed era un semenzaio di fantasia; con riproduzioni del campanile di Firenze che davano l’ora con un concerto di carillon, e scatole musicali di Sorrento, e portacipria di Cina che se aperte cantavano temi di cinque note, e tutti gli strumenti musicali che si potevano immaginare e tutti gli artifici a molla che si potevano concepire. Bruno Crespi, il suo fratello minore, dirigeva il magazzino, perché lui non aveva tempo che per badare alla scuola di musica. Grazie a lui, la Strada dei Turchi, con la sua abbagliante esibizione di cianfrusaglie, si trasformò in una gora melodica per dimenticare gli arbitri di Arcadio e l’incubo remoto della guerra.”

One has to start somewhere…

After finishing my sketch I ran into two dear friends who had come to the cafe.

Perhaps the cafés can be the new piazzettas somehow.

Here’s to spontaneous gathering and holiday cheers.

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The French poet Paul Valéry said that all things are generated from an interruption. I learned this from my favorite Italian thinker, Alessandro Baricco, here in en español, whose lectures – to be found only in Italian – I listen to to learn about literature, writing, and life.

There were many interruptions this year, and not just personal. I can think of the devastating Hurricane Irma in my beloved, beautiful Puerto Rico, or the September 19 earthquake in my favorite city this side of the Atlantic, Ciudad De México – which occurred on the 32nd Anniversary of an earthquake that killed more that 10.000 people.

My personal earthquake and hurricane happened on August 21 of this year, when my dad passed away. I can now finally begin to write this sentence, and about it, without being swallowed up in the chasm that this loss left in my life. I know his spirit went back to his sea, where he returned, and I feel he is near, both inside my heart and dancing around in freedom and light. I like to think I can take him with me wherever I go now, and share my life in a more immediate way. I like to think his energy was transformed into waves of the sea. The sea can hug you, yet you can’t hug the sea, his immensity. I like to think he is in a butterfly, sometimes in a song. A friend of mine wrote “I heard your dad went back to the Universe”. I like that.

My dad loved the Old Man and The Sea, drawing boats and fish, Jonathan Seagull, reading, Venice, watching documentaries on nature, fishing, and working on his boat. He loved his friends and he loved me. He is the reason art is in my life. He is the reason I read One Hundred Years of Solitude in middle school (I used to raid the books of his youth unbeknownst to both my parents). It became my favorite book, it still is, and magical realism, anarchy and arcane literary worlds shaped who I am.

I thought about coming back to SketchBloom with a post on Van Gogh, and the film Loving Vincent, which I saw this month. The movie reminded me of my dad, of his love of painting, his simple bedroom , and his fisherman shack on the beach, La Baracca Del Bucaniere, which he lovely composed for the last ten years of his life here on the Earth school.

That post is in the pipeline, and I took new photos of his sculpture when I was last in Calabria –  but I wanted to return with a sketch, a return to art.

I just got back from Mexico (that is how the locals call it, Mexico…no need to use “Ciudad de”) yesterday, where I finally got over my protracted artist’s block.

Here, a simple sketch (above) and some photos/vignettes/stories I bring back from my trip.

Walking in Coyoacán – Frida’s neighborhood:

Scenes from Roma, one of the neighborhoods of DF:

This is Barba Azul, a cabaret from another era, where salsa is danced from midnight till dawn, where there is an altar upstairs (I have seen them in parking lots, too) and where the exit is a tiny rectangle carved into a decorated garage door- something out Pinocchio’s Paese dei Balocchi (toyland)…or a circus in a Fellini movie. One of the many surreal vignettes of this metropolis.

Unfortunately I could not take a better photo of it (with the usher emerging!) but it is on my list for next time. I also learned about the ficheras , the ladies of the establishment who sell a dance for a token (and more, at their discretion).

The obligatory photo of the Palacio De Bellas Artes, November 2017 version:

Where I had the chance to see Diego Rivera’s murals…

…and learn about the Rojo Mexicano (the red pigment from cochinilla bugs found inside the cactus fruits in Oaxaca, which was utilized in paintings around the world from the XV Century to the XIX) and see Van Gogh’s Bedroom At Arles with my own eyes (!!!).

I also visited Cuernavaca, La Ciudad de la Eterna Primavera (The City of the Eternal Spring), where i completed my yearly self-evaluation for #work in a garden within Jardines de Mexico, surrounded by butterflies. Talk about INSPIRING.

Italian Garden at Jardines De Mexico (my favorite, obv)

In Cuernavaca, I stayed in a copy of Unité d’Habitacion (but if you follow me on Instagram you already know this).

I want to close with a poem by Octavio Paz — who is considered the greatest Mexican poet and thinker — and, of course, was a native of Mexico City.

This is his poem Hablo de la Ciudad | I Speak of the City. Below the text in the original Spanish and the translation in English.

This poem perfectly encapsulates what Mexico City is. I have more posts on La Ciudad to craft, from my previous visits, and more poetry- but this shall suffice for tonight.

Here is to more gentle earthquakes and hurricanes in 2018, inner ones to bring soul renewals, and to a kinder year.

For the Aztecs, this was the bellybutton of the Moon.

Nos vemos pronto, Tenochtitlán.

A Thousand Churches (Your Eyes). Graphite, Watercolor, India Ink. August 12, 2017.


Dear Single Reader,

You might have thought I had disappeared, and would be the third person in a week to ask me what happened to my sketchbloom…but I’m back for the summer.

An international conference in Hong Kong , research writing /presentations and academia have absorbed me until the end of June…not to mention that thing called life, and heart, and two moves in two months ( apartment renovation). It has been CRAZY. 

I just got back from two amazing weeks in Puebla, Mexico where I was part of ArtFest17 and went to teach at UVM (Universidad de la Valle México) a workshop called Myth of the City.  

Here you can see all the work done with my students and read about Puebla, the “Second” city – the first being of course, Mexico ( Ciudad de). It was an incredible experience, after having co-taught the course in Santa Fe, New México in 2013 and 2014. One could say I went from New Mexico to “Old” México with this.

In Puebla i was surrounded by “my people”, migente, artists, intellectuals..the bohemians and the romantics, and got back my creative juices!  Now, a new beginning…

I have lots of travel photography and new poetry to share so stick around 🙂 

Thank you for reading me and not forgetting about me ❤️ your support means everything to me, as art is and always be my first love- and the true love of my life. 

I am on an art-recovery program but I don’t know what to do about those pesky writing deadlines…#thestruggle. Life is so full, and exciting new design opportunities –like being a juror for Orchids and Onions in San Diego and a Pecha Kucha presentation on Storage Cities — keep presenting themselves. It’s accelerated, beautiful life…yet art needs the half-time of dreams.

Well, wish me good luck, there are some posts in the pipelines so I will see you soon and… work in progress as usual! 

I do hope you are having a glorious summer.

Below are some photos from lovely, lovely Puebla… two of my students’ models and the City that is home of so many incredible riches. A true treasure of humanity/ patrimonio de la humanidad. 

PS: I have been posting on Instagram but have to confess I always feeel guilty if I don’t post drawings/sketches/watercolor/collages… after all it is called Sketchbloom not Photobloom ( but you can follow me [@sketchbloom] there and it would make me so happy😊.) 




Puebla, Estado de Puebla, México:

What a magical city: Baroque churches where Tllaloc and Quetzacoatl are venerated, the fusion called Barroco Indígena ( San Francisco de Acatepec and Santa María de Tonantzintla – Barragán’s favorite church), Aztec temples and cities, 400 year old stone buildings, the tallest church towers in Mexico and the greatest covered stepped pyramid in the world ( Teocalli de Cholula)…finally the oldest public library of the Americas. Puebla is where the battle celebrated during Cinco de Mayo took place and where the Mexican Revolution started. Wow. 

Take a look…




Beautiful Thinking

Encinitas, January 2017.


Mission Beach, San Diego, January 2017



Beautiful Thinking

By Angie Estes

Each morning, before the sun rises
over the bay of Villefranche-sur-Mer
on the Côte d’Azur, cruise ships drop anchor

so that motor launches from shore
can nurse alongside. All afternoon we studied
les structures où nous sommes l’objet, structures

in which we are the object—le soleil
me dérange, le Côte d’Azur nous manque—
while the pompiers angled their Bombardiers

down to the sea, skimming its surface
like pelicans and rising, filled
with water to drop on inland, inaccessible

wildfires. Once, a swimmer was found face down
in a tree like the unfledged robin I saw
flung to the ground, rowing

its pink shoulders as if in the middle
of the butterfly stroke, rising a moment
above water. Oiseau is the shortest word

in French to use all five vowels: “the soul
and tie of every word,” which Dante named
auieo. All through December, a ladybug circles

high around the kitchen walls looking for
spring, the way we search for a word that will hold
all vows and avowals: eunoia, Greek

for “beautiful thinking,” because the world’s
a magic slate, sleight of hand—now
you see it, now you don’t—not exactly

a slight, although in Elizabethan English, “nothing”
was pronounced “noting.” In the Bodleian Library
at Oxford, letters of the alphabet hang

from the ceiling like the teats
of the wolf that suckled Romulus
and Remus, but their alibi

keeps changing, slate gray like the sea’s
massage: You were more in me than I was
in me. . . . You remained within while I

went outside. Hard to say
whether it was Augustine
speaking to God or my mother

talking to me. Gulls ink the sky
with view, while waves throw themselves
on the mercy of the shore.

The Tuscan/Pomegranate sky in San Diego right now. Absolutely no filter.

Pomegranate

By Kevin Pilkington


A woman walks by the bench I’m sitting on

with her dog that looks part Lab, part Buick,

stops and asks if I would like to dance.

I smile, tell her of course I do. We decide

on a waltz that she begins to hum.

We spin and sway across the street in between

parked cars and I can tell she realizes

she chose a man who understands the rhythm

of sand, the boundaries of thought. We glide

and Fred and Ginger might come to mind or

a breeze filled with the scent of flowers of your choice.

Coffee stops flowing as a waitress stares out the window

of a diner while I lead my partner back across the street.

When we come to the end of our dance,

we compliment each other and to repay the favor

I tell her to be careful since the world comes to an end

three blocks to the east of where we stand. Then

I remind her as long as there is a ’59 Cadillac parked

somewhere in a backyard between here and Boise

she will dance again.


As she leaves content with her dog, its tail wagging

like gossip, I am convinced now more than ever

that I once held hundreds of roses in my hands

the first time I cut open a pomegranate.

The final full moon of Winter 2017: the Worm Moon {Native Americans} or Storm Moon {Pagan Rites} or Lenten Moon {Christianity}. Also known as the Seed Moon or Chaste Moon. This is the final moon of Winter 2017 and the last full moon before the Spring Equinox. Tonight is also the time that Daylight Saving Time ends in most states of the U.S… returning time and hours to their natural cycle and us to a more harmonious rhythm. The days will be longer thanks to moving the clock ahead one hour -in the UK this is called “Summer Time”. This is the moon of nature’s rebirth from the dark winter months; its meaning is new, fresh starts.


//These poems were typed, not copy-pasted. It makes a difference.//


Venus Just Asked Me 


Perhaps 

For just one minute out of the day 

It may be of value to torture yourself 

With thoughts like, 


“I should be doing 

A hell of a lot more with my life than I am 

Cause I’m so darned talented” 


But remember,

For just one minute of the day. 


With all the rest of your time-

It would be best

To try

Looking upon your self more as God does. 


For He knows

Your true royal nature.  


God is never confused 

And can see Only Himself in you.  


My dear, 

Venus just leaned down and asked me 

To tell you a secret, to confess 


She’s just a mirror who has been stealing 

Your light and music for centuries 



She knows as does Hafiz,

You are the sole heir to 

The King.




Hafiz



The Size of the Love-Bruise


The

Gauge of a good poem is 

The size of the love-bruise it leaves 

On your neck. 

Or 

The size of the love-bruise it can paint 

On your brain.

Or 

The size of the love-bruise it can weave 

Into your soul. 

Or indeed-

It could be all of the 

Above. 




Hafiz


 …


The Shape of Laughter


Let my words become like a skilled 

Potter’s hands, 


Quieting,

Smoothing your life 

With their knowledge,


Reaching into your tender core 

And spreading you out 

Like the morning 


That leaps from the sun’s amused wink 

Onto hills, brows and backs of so many

Beautiful laboring beasts.


God’s duty is to make perfect 

All your movements of mind, of limb,

And your ascending shape of laughter.


Watch the way my hands dance 

With their diamond-edged brilliance 


Cutting you open with music, 

Reaching into your heart


And spilling the night sky- jar you carry 

That is always full of giggling planets and stars. 



My words are a divine potter’s wheel.

If you stay near to me, 

Please, 

Stay near to me–



And Hafiz will spin you into 

Love.




Hafiz



…..

The Fools Who Dream 


Here’s to the ones

who dream

Foolish, as they may seem

Here’s to the hearts

that ache

Here’s to the mess

we make


She told me:

A bit of madness is key

to give us to color to see

Who knows where it will lead us?


And that’s why they need us,

So bring on the rebels

The ripples from pebbles

The painters, and poets, and plays


And here’s to the fools

who dream

Crazy, as they may seem

Here’s to the hearts that break

Here’s to the mess we make


From “La La Land”, 2017 

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