San Miguel De Allende: an Artist Colony in Mexico

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About four hours northwest of Mexico City, a mile above sea level, is a quaint collection of 64 city blocks surrounded by a typical Mexican town:  roosters, noisy trucks, music and church bells peeling throughout the day.  The air is dry, the temperature hits 70 degrees F every day (it might start near freezing, but it warms up in the winter; in July you’ll always have a cool breeze in the evening) and 16,000 gringos from north of the border make up 16 percent of the town.  Named for a patriot who helped in the fight for liberation in 1810, the town is protected from development by strict rules that keep the exteriors of the homes looking the way it did a hundred years ago.

Have you heard enough to want to know how to spend a vacation here?

The FOUR DAY Schedule (make one of these days on TUESDAY for the market)
Day 1 — arrive, get picked up byMario, who talks for an hour about the culture.  Walk into town and get a copy of ATENCION.  Find an activity (such as talking with locals on Tues. and Thurs 5-6:30 pm)
Dinner: San Francisco Cafe, Jardin

Day 2 — MARKET DAY Tuesday
Look for “Mesa de Plata” (the silver table) and look for the silver haired guy.   LUNCH: El Buen Cafe
Afternoon: real estate tour with Gaby Cabello Rivas or one of Gaby’s colleagues.  Email her at
Dinner:  Pegaso

Day 3 — Tour of the City with Mario.
He will show you the parts that a local knows, such as a metalworking shop in a residential area — noisy at 10 am, quiet by 5 pm, providing employment for neighbors.  Clever!
Afternoon: walk to Instituto Allende, meet Keith Keller at the Escuela of painting and drawing — if you sign up for a class, you can drop in during daylight hours to practice.
Dinner:  Cha Cha Cha for Mexican delights, or try 10-10-Pie (stay on your feet wiht this food) — delicious fruit salad and “batidas” (smoothies)
Some people recommend Mama Mia (music)

Day 4 — ADVENTURE $160US per person, early morning hot-air balloon ride, meet outside Recreo 68 at 6:30 a.m.
After breakfast:  Walk through the Artisans Market.
Lunch at Bugambila ($28, pricey but romantic).
Tour at 3 pm with Jilda on the 2-hour tour bus (9 to 9, every two hours from Juarez Street).  You can write to her and practice Spanish (she wants to practice English) at
JIlda ZAvala Tour guide
Snack: San Agustin, Mesones, owned by Margarita, a TV and ilm star who lives in Mexico City.
Dinner:  10-10-Pie, El Buen Cafe or Pegaso

Day 5 — Time to leave.  Call Mario.  Keep lots of video tape or digital space available to record Mario’s every sentence!

Many call this the “heart of Mexico” — with good reason.  The conspirators who plotted to overthrow the rulers of the country did their planning in this area.

Retirees from other countries (mostly the USA) make up one-sixth of the central city’s population (around 80,000).  The total metropolitan area is around 115,000.  You can live close to the suburban lifestyle in the USA (drive to a mall and place groceries in a car, drive home into a garage and walk 50 feet to a refrigerator).  You can also live like people do in Venice, without a car and shopping at a local market.

Restaurants: lunch for two under $10
Dinner for two under $28 at Pegaso in Centro (near the Jardin).

What to do
You can take art courses at the Instituto Allende or look at real estate for sale in the “Golden corridor” north of the city.  You could take a tour on the trolley bus or take a cooking class and learn some local recipes.  You could even give free English lessons at the local school – get to meet some of the locals while you are there.  It’s better than hanging out at an Internet Cafe.  Get to know the locals at the Public Library (biblioteca publica).

You can fly into Mexico City and then to a nearby city (Queretaro QTO or Leon BJX).

Or you can fly to Houston and then south to BJX or QTO.  Before you fly, reserve a driver to pick you up —   Call Angelica tours at 52 415 152 6305 and ask for Mario.

Where to Stay
We tried Hacienda de las Flores.  Delightful location, sweet dog (the gordita Coquette) and friendly staff.  Ask for the TV room and you’ll be able to catch the morning shows on satellite:  NBC, ABC and CBS, plus CNN.  Rooms have basic cable.   Delicious eggs for breakfast.

Helpful Links, ask for MarioTransportation from the airport
Francisco Marquez #33
Col. Independencia
Office: (415) 1526305
Mobile: 4151535067
Toll free number: 1.877.446.0721

Get a good map.
Take the tour of the city with Mario (, but the web link is not reliable)

Steve McCreaa travel DVD producer, wrote this article for Roadlovers.coma travel portal.  His DVD about San Miguel de Allende is available through

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Art Appreciation – A Rich, Rewarding Experience

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Perhaps you’ve gone to a gallery or art museum, looked at the artwork displayed and said to yourself, “What the heck is that? I can’t understand it! Why is this here in a gallery?”

Or, maybe you’ve gone to a gallery or art museum and your reactions was, “Wow! Great stuff! I like this! I don’t know why, but I do!”

Or, maybe you’ve gone to a gallery or art museum, and, after viewing the exhibits, you walk away feeling bored and disinterested. You may have said to yourself, ” Why do I bother with looking at art? I never understand it. It’s beyond me.”

Like any other discipline, art requires the viewer to be knowledgeable about the information it presents. Sometimes we think we should just automatically understand art. After all, there it is, just hanging there on the wall and all we have to do, we think, is just look at it. But do we really SEE it? Often, our response may be, “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like.”

That is just another way of saying, “What I like is really just based on my ignorance.”


Liking a certain artwork is a pleasure. You have communicated with visual phenomena and really enjoyed the experience. It can be a very enriching, rewarding experience to know how and why an art form developed or have some knowledge of how and why an artist works in a particular way. More than likely, your perspective is quite limited if you have never studied art or know how it has developed in not only, our Western culture but all over the world.

What if you could gain information on the many forms of art that have been produced since humanity began, and how it developed over time to the present day? What would this kind of study mean to you? It would mean that, equipped with that knowledge, you would be able to enjoy a lot more art! Here’s why.

The more you know about art and its development, the more you can enjoy looking at art! You will see much more and understand the context, content and style of the art form. And this is the basis of Art Appreciation-a study of how to expand your knowledge of the art world, past, present and future and, with that perspective, be able to communicate with the rich visual/creative world!


So, how do your start gaining knowledge of this vast art world? Where do you begin?

Begin by dipping your toe into Art History. With a basic Art History 101 knowledge you will be able to see how art, as we know it, was not really a term until the science of Art History was developed in our western culture. And, when it was developed, as you can read in many art history books in the library, art has existed as long as humans have been able to pick up a stick, brush or chisel and record their lives and experiences.

There are several ways of learning how to appreciate art:

ONE — Learn about the basics of art history. How art developed, from the Lascaux cave paintings to modern art today. Older art history books deal primarily with artistic development in Western culture. Newer books add developments in Asia, China, Russia and the mid-East. The study of Art History has, over time, become global. In learning the time lines and factors that produce new perspectives and styles in art, you will not only gain a new historical perspective, but also become acquainted with the various art forms produced over the past centuries.

TWO–Choose a certain period or style in art history and learn about it. Perhaps Impressionism interests you. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to know the difference between Op Art and Pop Art. Through studying the cultural impact of a certain style on a specific period in time, you can understand why that particular art form developed and appreciate the artwork in a broader context.

THREE–Take a tour of your local art museum. Museums offer a wide variety of art educational programs and tours of their exhibits. Or travel and see the actual art in its setting. There are many websites on the Internet listing global art tours and travel, often by geographical location or specific art and architectural styles. On site art tours offer a unique and interesting way to travel and can give you an intimate, one on one perspective with the historical art and culture of the area. Tour groups are generally small in number and conducted by very knowledgeable guides delighted to respond to all of your questions and comments.

FOUR-Visit your local art galleries often. Galleries are supportive of their artists and gallery owners and attendants are usually quite pleased at your interest in their exhibits. They will be glad to give you information on the artists, such as whether they are local, where they have shown their work, what awards they have won, and who has purchased their artwork. Keep informed of present and future exhibits. This hands on approach, connects you closely with affordable art that is available where you live and often created by artists who live in or near your area.


Art Appreciation is as big or small a study as you want to do. Whether you want to make it an occasional outing or a serious study, whatever you choose, learning how art forms have historically developed and understanding what is on the walls in your local gallery will definitely change your perspective.

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to discuss a painting on the wall in a gallery, instead of shrugging and muttering, “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like.”

Think of it. Perhaps your response would be more like, “I like the way this artist uses color in an Expressionistic style. The brushwork is so vigorous! There is a lot of energy in the composition. Also, the use of thick paint produces an interesting texture.”

Through Art Appreciation you can discover a rich visual/creative world that will inspire you and beckon you to learn more.

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The Importance Of Research- Why We Do Research

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We must first understand what research is.  It is another word for gathering of information.  The more information we have the closer we get of making our own decision.  Research is the result of advancing knowledge created in the past.  There are people from all walks of life that contribute to gathered information.  These are ordinary people and extraordinary people.  They include, teachers, students, scientists, professors, scholars, business owners, librarians, book keepers, writers, politicians and many more unknown out there.  These are everyday citizens we interact with.  They all help with the flow information that people use for self help.

Research is designed to solve a particular existing problems so there is a much larger audience eager to support research that is likely to be profitable or solve problems of immediate concern.  We also must understand how research impact our decision making.  Most people make decisions without gathered informations to back them up.  Only few do.  The problem is most people aren’t patient enough to put in the effort.  Research requires time, effort, and sometimes money to have the evidence you need to make a sound decision that’s why many avoid it.  The research you do and evidence you gathered will have impact on your future.  Be adviced, considered the risks or consequences of making an important decision with inadequate evidence.

In conclusion research is very vital to our everyday decision making.  It arms you from wrong informations and save time and money.  It is important to your success as you take on life’s challenges and career decisions making.  But be careful though, becasue too much research without action on what you’ re learning is not good either.  The question is how much information is enough?  How much information can you afford?  Information obesity can be research problem just my advice.  Research plus action will most likely guarantee a successful research.  Now go out there and make good decisions.  I wish you success.  To learn more about taking charge of your future go to my resource box at Email: cell: 612-363-7576

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The Art and Inspiration of Gustav Klimt

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The splendor of Byzantine churches with their glinting gold mosaic domes and beautiful art work spread throughout the Mediterranean area, especially in Sicily, with Cathedrals like Monreale and Italy, with St Marks in Venice. The jewel colors of silk (whose production was a state secret in the Empire) combined with gold and enamels made Byzantine walls explosions of color. The Byzantines were aware of their effect on visitors and at times deliberately cultivated it, perhaps in the process causing the jealousy which brought about the fourth crusade and the Empire’s eventual decline.

Nowhere can the colorful golden influence of the Byzantine world be seen more clearly than in the work of celebrated artist Gustav Klimt, yet his subject matter was very different from his source of inspiration.

Where Byzantine art features two dimensional portraiture often of mythical and religious scenes, the art of Klimt is often described as erotic and almost entirely composed of female figures. The Byzantine influence is seen in the use of mosaic patterns and ornament, jewel colors and gold. Klimt’s father and brother were gold engravers, and perhaps that is the reason for the use of gold in so many his works. Although Klimt did not travel a great deal, he frequently visited both Ravenna and Venice and it seems likely that this is where he was exposed to Byzantine influences.

Klimt began work as a an architectural painter who worked with his brother and a friend to paint interior murals and ceilings. He received a medal for his work in 1888, but his style changed following the death of his father and brother. For 10 years from 1897 Klimt was a member (and at one time president) of the Wiener Sezession a group of artists who protested traditional teachings and hence seceded from the Association of Austrian Artists. Their aim was to provide exhibitions for unconventional artists and bring the best of foreign art to Vienna. They did not favor any particular style and received government support including a lease on some public land where they could build an exhibition hall.

Klimt’s own work did not fare well at first. Some of the paintings he was commissioned to create were rejected and regarded as ‘pornographic’. His later work was far better received, especially that of his ‘gold’ period where he incorporated a great deal of gold leaf. In 1911 Klimt won first prize in the world exhibitions in Rome, but he left little behind other than his art. His life was not filled with scandal, he made no self portraits and left no notes and no diary. He died in 1918 leaving many paintings unfinished.

Three of Klimt’s paintings received some of the highest prices ever paid for art with the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I selling for $135 million in 2006. At the time it was the highest price ever paid for a painting, though it has now been eclipsed by the $137 paid for Willem de Kooning’s Woman III and the $140 million paid for Jackson Pollocks No 5, 1948.

Few of us have the money to indulge in original art work, or even the right space in which to hang a good Klimt reproduction, however some of Klimt’s more famous works can now be enjoyed as sculptures, and as such they make interesting decorative pieces and useful gifts for art lovers or anyone who might enjoy a an art-inspired gift.

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Hypnosis – The Myth and the Truth About an Ancient Art of Hypnotism

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Hypnosis seems to be an ancient art, there are records of hypnotic techniques used in the Egyptian temples, in the Greeks oracles temples, in the Roman Empire also and further on. Used wisely, Hypnosis offers the fastest and most dependable set of tools to help people making positive changes in their lives, in few words it opens doors inside your unconscious to bring back or to places things that you do not normally have access over. More and more therapists and health care professionals are turning to it to fight with success with all human dependencies or healthy known problems.

So as a hypnotic technique – glove anesthesia – can completely numb a part of the body in the case of an accident, hypnosis is known for the ability to control pain, to produce strange things like hallucinations – it can be changed the perception of time, to learn new skills more quickly etc. – or access to memories that you otherwise have not access forward. From businesses to academic institutions people under hypnosis are much better skills for problem solving, like would be the creativity and even staple things can be improved with this art, like smoking or weight control, overcoming fears or phobias, increasing of confidence and even of concentration or memory.

The hypnotic skills are not only fascinating, but indeed are highly practical tools to improving everyone`s life. But as hypnotist you need to understand what you can achieve and who have the limits, how much is possible with it. Of course, hypnosis is not the answer of all the problems, there it will be always limits so as around us in life, in nature, in the entire universe. People`s habit is to exaggerate things that they do not know too much, it was so known myths about hypnotic mind control, or sleep, or memory loss; of getting stuck in hypnosis, or as revealing of a dark secrets… The essential thing is to choose the right master for you.

“Even after 40 years of studying hypnosis, I am impressed with Ledochowski’s contribution to the field.” – dr, Daniel Araoz

(American Board of Professional Hypnosis, Professor of Mental Health Counseling at long Island University Director Emeritus of the Long Island Institute of Ericksonian Hypnosis) – is just an example, what a senior member of the Ericksonian Foundation have had to say about the groundbreaking work of Igor Ledochowski – a well known psychitriacist, just published by Clifford Mee , the author of ” The Power of Conversational Hypnosis “, a generous course which contain:

o 12 CD as MP3’s Main Program

o 4 Bonus CD’s as MP3’s

o 4 Special Conversational Hypnosis blueprints

o The 600+ page manual and complete transcripts

“Choosing the right teacher” – to have access to the mysterious art of hypnosis is it need to learn from the great masters , people with dozens of years of experience behind them, who will reveal the master keys, the tools, the formula suitable for you. When you will hear the first words for a deep trance: “Go ahead, close your eyes and go into hypnosis, deeper and deeper; relaxed into a most state of hypnotic awareness…” to be sure any risk will be avoided, all process will be in safe, for your own psychic and body benefit.

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Restoring And Preserving Art

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Art is a part of life and for some, it is their way of life. Others usually consider art as a worthy investment. Regardless of how you see art, restoring and preserving art pieces are important techniques to maintain their value. Painting restoration is a serious matter; that is why most people prefer to have their paintings professionally restored. However, if you like the thought of restoring your own pieces, lots of practice and familiarity with techniques are necessary. Because according to statistics, more paintings and art works are destroyed each year by inept restoration and cleaning than by accidental burning or fire.

Clouded varnish, dirt, and smoke are the usual culprits that cause paintings to become dirty. Restoring paintings by cleaning it is the logical step of most owners. However, wiping paintings with rags or whatever liquid is damaging. Art restoration professionals recommend researching restoration techniques on the internet or attending seminars on restoring paintings before embarking on a restoration mission.

Art works look more elegant and classic when preserved in their original frames. As it is, detaching paintings from their frames is necessary and important before the actual cleaning. Non-removal of the frames not only causes discomfort and unease in cleaning, it also causes scratches and abrasion. Remove the frames by laying the picture backside up on a flat surface layered with foam or cushion to avoid scratching the frames. Vacuum accumulated dust on the frames’ back and remove nails gently with a metal ruler and pliers. Secure the nails on board with labels of their previous positions. For example, secure and label the nails plucked from the lower right side of the frame as “lower right”. This way, each nail fits exactly on its previous place without causing added strain on the frame. Marking the frame is also a good idea to be able to return it to its original position.

After removing paintings from their frame, it is better to inspect the kind of dirt build-up on the paintings. Knowing the kind of dirt to be removed is necessary in finding and using the right product and tools. Anti-mildew solutions remove mildew build-up or “foxing” effectively. However, soaking the painting in these solutions damages the colors and the painting. To prevent this, soak or spray the solution on a cotton pad and wipe on the area affected with foxing. Follow up with a water-dipped cotton pad and wipe dry. Periodically check cotton pads to see if some color or paint was dissolved. For dirt build-up that requires light to medium cleaning, slicing an onion in half and dipping it in lemon juice remove grime and dirt off art work. Rub paintings with lemon-soaked onion using a circular motion for even application. Slice the onion regularly to expose a fresh layer. An alternative is using warm water with lemon detergent or washing soda. Finish either treatment by wiping their painting with a moist sponge and leaving it to dry. Art works respond to this treatment with improved depth of color.

Experts recommend leaving varnish removal and painting repair to the professionals. Art works do not sell well or look good if extensively damaged. As these types of restoration require complicated techniques, the chances of botching the job are high if done by amateurs. The job is expensive but make the value of your paintings appreciate.

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7 Tips for Buying Oil Paintings – Portraits and Reproduction Online Art

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With the advent of online galleries and shopping it’s important to know what to look for when dealing with an online gallery.

These Lucky 7 tips should help you through the online maze!

1.Look for a high-quality gallery. Many galleries are set up by people on a whim, with no real idea of what constitutes high quality and fair pricing. Talk to the people running the site and feel free to ask them for photographs of there previous work or contact details of satisfied clients.

2. Does the online store have a physical address? Check to see if the online site has a physical address. This is a good indication that the site has a solid foundation and accountability. PO Boxes are usually an indication of an amateur set up.

3. What is the Return Policy? Check the policy page of the site to insure it has a solid and well articulated returns policy. If there is none, or the policy is vague….keep looking elsewhere!

4. Can you speak to someone in ‘real life’ (On the telephone or in person). Does the online store have a landline telephone line? If it does give the number a call and talk to the person running the gallery. For example, if you call 03 9018 6782 (Direct Art Australia) you will talk to Julian, the Manager; a real person (what a concept!) .

5. Get the right size. Take out your tape measure or ruler and measure up the place where you want to put the artwork or portrait. Believe me, this will be some of your best work! There’s nothing worse than a picture that won’t fit…then order one for that size. Most galleries will be happy to paint a custom size.

6. Know the difference between a print, canvas transfer and an oil painting. It can be confusing understanding the difference between all the different types artwork and mediums available. Here is a basic explanation: The best quality artwork is generally 100% hand painted oil paintings on canvas. Individual artists paint these and there is no computer enhancement…the artists are highly trained, in most cases; and there paintings generate a wonderful energy. Poster Prints and Glicee canvas transfers are computer enhanced images (except for screen prints and limited edition series prints) and are usually lower cost and quality.) They can be produced en masse and do not require the skill of a well trained artist. There are exceptions to every rule!

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Acapulco – Shopping for Folk Art, Crafts and Souvenirs – Where to Go

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When you come to Acapulco you can appreciate how easy it is to find quality folk art as well as enjoyable gifts and souvenirs. This article tells you where in Acapulco you can go for souvenir and folk art shopping. A related article provides general information and tips and a third one discusses Mexican silver.

Cruise Ship Passengers. If you arrive by cruise ship, your time will be more limited, and you will probably want to stay in the part of town where the ship has docked. (If you have all day, however, do not be afraid to grab a taxi and explore the whole bay!) The few stores in the terminal itself are good choices. They are reliable, and though their prices are not the lowest in town, they are safe and convenient. The clerks speak English and French as well as Spanish, and the selection is always very good. If you walk to Fort San Diego nearby, that gift shop also has books, art prints and some genuine crafts. Around the central square, the Zócalo, just a few blocks away, you can find many other shops, too, though they tend more towards souvenirs than folk art and crafts. About a 10 minute walk beyond the Zócalo you will find the Mercado de Artesanias Parazal (also called “Tepito”), where you will find an overwhelming collection of booths and tables of all sorts, selling just about everything imaginable. You will be in Acapulco’s oldest shopping neighborhood, and you will pass lots of other stores on your way to and from. On the way back you can look for a couple more folk art shops in the two blocks immediately east of the Zócalo, on the Costera Alemán.

Acapulco Vacationers. If you will be in town for a while, you should plan to hit a few different places, mainly up and down the Costera Alemán. Technically, an open-air, souvenir market is a “Mercado de Artesanias,” but locals call it a “tianguis. ” Some have more art than junk, others more junk than art, and all of them have lots of things to eat as well. In addition to the Mercado de Artesanías Parazal, mentioned above, there are smaller versions on Caletilla Beach (down at the western end of the Costera), across from Tamarindos Beach (called Noa Noa, near Hornos), across from Parque Papagayo, and across from the Crowne Plaza hotel in the “Golden Zone.” At the Diana traffic circle, the Mercado de Artesanías Diana covers a large area, and offers an especially rich selection of folk art, including blouses and skirts. Scattered along the Costera from one end to the other are small areas in which street vendors have spread out their merchandise. They are not as permanent (or semi-permanent) as the tiaguisbut they also have good selection and value. The indigenous vendors are usually the women, almost always dressed in colorful, shirt waist dresses with puffy sleeves and accordion-creased skirts, covered with a pinafore apron in a contrasting color and pattern. For most, Spanish is their second language, and a good proportion of them may speak it at least as well as you do. Gestures work fine.

For gifts and decorative items in a higher-quality range, several stores have become very popular with the tourists. In Costa Azul, around on the east side of the bay, you will find the “Casa de Cultura” (about a half-block past the CiCi Water Park on the same side of the street). Here the city government operates a cultural center that also supports sales by local artists of their own works. Ceramics, pottery, jewelry, painted items, all sorts of artisan handiwork is on sale here, and the prices are usually very reasonable. Sometimes the craftsmen will set up a demonstration for passers-by to show how they create their art. Artesanías Finas de Acapulco (locally known as Afa-Aca) is a large store with a large inventory of works from all over Mexico. You can even buy a complete mariachi outfit if you want. Furniture, paintings, sculptures, jewelry, and hand-embroidered clothes and tablecloths are on sale here. Many consider this to be the top store of its kind in Acapulco and perhaps in all of Mexico. It is found on the corner of Horatio Nelson and the Costera in Costa Azul or downtown near the corner of the Costera with Juan Escudero (two blocks east of the Zócalo). In the Plaza Bahía center you will find Alebrijes & Caracoleswhich has an inventory of fun items for the kids as well as decorative items for home and garden.

For the adventurous, there are a few “serious” marketplaces in town, where the chefs go in the early morning to buy for their restaurants, and where the locals go to buy everything for their home. The prices are better than in the supermarkets and fancier stores, but the conditions are a good bit more primitive. The Central Market (at Cine Rio) and the Mercado Del Campesino (in Progreso) are the two prime examples. Some folk art and souvenirs can be found there, but your main motive for going would be just to have a look at how the non-touristic sector of the city really works.

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Theory Of The Nude In Art

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My friends and family often ask me why so many artists paint (as they say) “naked people”. Some think that the nude is only pornography, while others just think that it’s out-dated in the art world. Most artists will tell you something along the lines of “we don’t see them as ‘naked’ we just see beauty”. Though this may be true, it doesn’t answer our question. As a classically trained artist myself I have a theory on why people make art using the nude. I think the first step in understanding the nude in art is to understand why people made them in the past, and why they continue to make them.

There are three basic categories of nudes, which are not necessarily mutually exclusive (sometimes they overlap):

The Ideal Nude: Originating with the Greeks, the ideal nude is just a concept really, the basis of which was most clearly explained by Plato. He stated that within all things there is a universal and divine “form” that defines it. For example: if you look at 100 trees, each individual tree will look different, yet they are all similar enough to categorize them as trees. What is the sameness or underlying quality of the tree which makes it a tree? This thing, this sameness, Plato called form. Greek artists took this idea and tried to find the ideal form of the human body. They used shapes in the human body, much like a musician would use musical notes to form a chord. The idea was to create a harmony through repetition and variation of certain visual elements of the body. Excellent examples of this are, of course, classical Greek and Roman sculpture, Leonardo da Vinci (who also could be mentioned in all of these categories for different works), Donatello, Rafael, and the Neo-classicists of the 19th century.

The Observed Nude: Originating in the Fayum portraits of ancient Greece in a technique of painting called Encaustic, which uses wax as a medium for pigment instead of oil or water. The main purpose of this originated in portraiture and was all about trying to capture the individual’s personality and particular appearance. Great examples of this can be found in the paintings of Rembrandt, John Singer Sargent, and ancient Roman portrait busts.

The Expressive Nude: This form is intended to do just what the name implies. The nude is used here as the main vehicle for the artist’s expression, usually with emotive, and in the case of the Renaissance, devotional purposes. Great examples would be the work of Michelangelo (who could be classified under ideal nude as well) and most of the artists of the modern period: Rodin, Picasso, Matisse, Kathe Kollwitz, Edvard Munch, and Paul Gauguin etc…

I would like to rephrase our original question in the interest of brevity and to be more specific. “Why is it that the most recurring subject in all of art history by far is the human face and body?” Modern scientific research also gives us a clue to the reasons behind our question. The human face and the human body are psychologically stimulating to the mind. Our brains are actually hard wired to recognize human form. Take, for example, a chimpanzee. If you look at three different chimps for 5 seconds, would you be able to tell them apart as individuals? Now if you look at three human faces for 5 seconds, I bet your success rate will be much greater. But a chimp can recognize and differentiate between other chimps much easier, just as you can recognize a human face much easier.

You might say, OK I understand why we look at faces, that makes sense, but why nude? Well there are multiple reasons. First (and least important to me) is tradition. There is a long tradition predating even the Egyptians of recreating the human body. So, as a method of teaching art, there are lots of people who have done it before and so there are a lot of excellent techniques and examples for artistic training that have been developed which apply to other forms of art as well. Second, it is a test of skill. If one can make a believable representation of something that we are so familiar with, then everything else is a piece of cake. If I paint a chimpanzee you would be less critical of whether it looks real or not than a human face, simply because most of us don’t see chimps every day for our entire lives. Some artists get caught up in this challenge for perfection and are never satisfied with their degree of skill, (I know I never am) and so continue to pursue impossible perfection even though most people might not see the minute faults of the work which the artist does. -The next passage includes much of my opinion on the subject and is not intended to force my views on anyone, but merely to share another point of view.

Third, (and most importantly to me) the nude, when I choose to paint it, is representative of something more than observation. My works are meant to evoke complex emotions or thoughts in the viewer, and are not meant to be decorative, though beauty is important to me. Since nudity is not often seen in normal everyday settings, it implies that there is something more to the interpretation. It makes the piece more intimate. For me, art is about conveying the complexity of life; its joy and its sorrow. If I paint a nude with a certain degree of sexuality implied, it is to communicate the dual nature of every human being. All of us, from the most pious, to the most base, from the greatest ideals of compassion and love, to fear and jealousy; we are all torn between what we are and what we wish to be. We all have some desire to do or see something greater than what is before us, and we all struggle with the desire for immediate pleasure. It is this tension between our animal and divine sides that I attempt to evoke; and in doing so, perhaps to help myself and others understand a little bit more about being human.

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Source by Richard Scott

Nudity, an Art or Exploitation?

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“The naked human figure exudes artistic expressions in the most intimate and insinuating poses. Through extreme lighting techniques and shadow strokes across the body, the appearance of nudity frees what is seemingly trapped in an artist’s imagination.

The aesthetic value of nude art is artistic freedom. Whether an art seems controversial or obscene, the real worth lies on the artist’s justification of his work. For every nude painter, the bareness of a body liberates his deepest pleasures and profound emotions. Famous nude photographer Günter Rinnhofer defined nude photography as “A nude photo is then good when the Model shows it around at the coffee table at her grandmother’s birthday party and receives positive feedback.” Furthermore, artistic nudity is no longer a taboo yet various implications are cast on the moral view and societal norms.

Conventionally, nude models were painted to highlight some artistic elements of innocence as to imaginary Greek paganism. Traditional nude art challenges and differs from the norm, opens room for new opinions and alternate individual interpretations. This is particularly evidential to the portraits of Greek gods and goddesses, whose figures were used as depiction of beauty and power. In the time of Renaissance, painters like Michaelangelo worked on nude art photo as a portrayal of social issues and culture. The painting, The Birth of Venus, showed Venus in the nude without any sexual implication.

Nowadays, the general perception towards artistic nudity has changed and had even led to the debate as to whether or not contemporary nude photography complies with the artistic standards. Modern nude photos are said to be deviant in nature which greatly affect the people’s understanding of sexuality.

Modern media have blatantly come up with the most sexually provocative advertising called “sex sells.” Clothing brands and liquors won’t earn the public’s interest without a nude poster on its starry billboard in Times Square. After all, advertising has always been for its exploitative use of sexy men and women, which worked for Calvin Klein, Benetton and Abercrombie and Fitch. In fact, Paris Hilton could have flunked if she hadn’t showed some flesh in nude posters for the socialites.

In modern art, a nude photo showcases in entirety a woman’s naked body exposing even her private parts to draw more attention to eroticism. An example of this is Samuel de Cubber’s full frontal nudity for M7 Fragrance ads.

The question of whether a nude photo is an ‘art’ often gets into a debate since nudity has a long history. Arguments contain the premise seeing people clothed is more natural than seeing them naked.

How an artist portrays a nude photo depends solely on his or her intention of drawing it. As an artist, one has to set the standards and lay the groundwork. The image has to project a confident and sensible body not an exploitation of the flesh. “

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Source by Andrew Beene

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