Gallery: Art Connections Gallery 123 N. Main Street on the Square in La Grange, Texas.
979-206-2222 http://www.artconnectionsgallery.com/

See additional work on my website

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Crystal Vase as a Model and Story

I decided to post a photo of the crystal vase I used for my sketch Number 4, something made of glass to Scavenger Hunt 110 on wetcanvas.com and it reminded me of a story that goes with it.

I took this photo outside for some sun on the crystal.

This photo was taken inside on an aguayo, Bolivian blanket used by the women to carry children and other things on their backs. I use the aguayos for table cloths. They are naturally dyed so they don't fade. They have been washed many, many times and you see the colors are still vivid.

Anyway, back to the story. The vase is very heavy, probably 10 - 15 pounds and its bowl is so small, not practical for real flowers .. maybe it is a huge candle holder! Gene brought it to Bolivia from Mexico where he received it as a gift. I placed it on a buffet table in the dining room which had a wool weaving on it for a table cloth/doily. The buffet sat under an east facing window that was covered with sheer curtains because at about 10,000 ft. above sea level the sun is very strong. The vase looked great with the light shining through it.

Some time later, a few days or weeks passed, and I was coming downstairs one morning and I could smell hair burning. I checked the bathrooms for hair dryer malfunctions and went to look in the kitchen and outside to see what might be burning. Nothing. Came back in and realized the smell was stronger from the dining room. I went in -- and there on the buffet was a small hole in the wool weaving and it was smoldering. The sun was at just the right angle and the vase acted as a prism and was starting a fire on the buffet! Luckily the sun was moving and there is not a great deal of oxygen at that high altitude so we wouldn't have had a big fire. None the less, it was an interesting occurrence. I put the vase on a bookcase out of direct sun!

The lack of oxygen reminds me that we used to put the vacuum cleaner on reverse to blow on the charcoal to get the barbecue grills fired up. It also took small chips and lots of kerosene to get the fireplace going, too. We would put a tuna can with ashes and some kerosene under the paper and chips and light it to start the fire.

La Paceña
Oil on Canvas, 24 x 36 inches

Ah, such sweet memories of Bolivia. I truly loved it there. The people were friendly and welcoming. We enjoyed raising our children there.


Regina Calton Burchett said...

Great stories, Jo! Very scary about the wool fire (it seems that could easily happen), and interesting about the vacuum. The lack of O2 would never occur to me. What is La Paceña? pottery?

Jo Castillo said...

Hi Regina, thanks. La Paceña is a woman from La Paz, like a Bastropian. There are many La Paz and Bolivia stories to come.

fishing guy said...

Jo: That is some neat painting of the vaces, great angles.
BTW: The weather up here has been crazy. There was 12" of snow then it rained to knock it down. It rained all day yesterday and it is supposed to snow again today.

Bag Blog said...

Wow, who would have thought that you could catch your Bolivian blanket on fire with a crystal vase. By the way, I love that aguayo. I have several serape type blankets from our days down in McAllen and frequent trips to Reynosa. I love the bright colors.

Teresa said...

Wow - it would never have occurred to me that a still life could be a fire hazard! Interesting about ways that you adapted to the lower levels of oxygen... we at lower altitudes obviously take a lot of things for granted. Love the snow capped mountains in your painting.

Jo Castillo said...

Fishing Guy, I think you meant photos of the vases, I don't paint that realistic.:)

I thought maybe the flowers on your blog were from last summer, heh, heh.

Jo Castillo said...

Bag blog, yes the aguayos are beautiful and useful. One size was perfect for card tables and make everything look so festive. The one in the photo is probably 20 years old and well used and washed in the washer and dried like dish towels.

Jo Castillo said...

Teresa, A surprise to all of us, ha. We did lots of adapting. In cooking water boils at about 175 or 180 degrees so you could make coffee and drink it. Never get burned. Took forever to cook beans or such. The mountain is Mt. Illimani watching over La Paz. It is about 23,000 feet tall. Beautiful.

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About Me

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Bastrop, Texas, United States
I Grew up in a small town , Magdalena, New Mexico. I enjoy art and the pleasure other people get from my work. I always donate some of my sales and art to charities, especially for children. That started in Bolivia with Para los Niños. (Link on sidebar) "I cannot pretend to feel impartial about colors. I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns." -- Winston Churchill


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