16. La Pulperia

La Pulperia, chalks & oils on paper, 2004

La Pulpería, chalks & oils on paper, 2004

At the heart of virtually every town & village in Costa Rica is la pulpería–part general store, part bar, but always at the hub of a community’s social circle.  I snapped the photo from which this piece is based on a trip in the winter of 2002 while working for EcoTeach, an environmental education organization that runs experiential courses on the social & environmental concerns of Costa Rica.

What continues to draw me to this image are the bold, riotous colors of the building’s facade.  I fear we don’t have these shades of pink, green & yellow at my corner hardware store.  Yet throughout my travels in Latin America, I have discovered a wholly independent color sense.  Yes, the wood may be termite-eaten, with protruding nails and only a bit of corrugated steel to shelter from the tropical rains & sun.  But these are happy colors around which millions of us are building our lives.

Technically, I completed this work in two distinct phases–a rather tame underpainting in hard (NuPastel) chalks.  Then (inspired by the riot of color of the subject), I applied an overlayer of heavily textured oil pastels.

This piece is listed on Etsy, with all proceeds to benefit Kiva, a micro-finance nonprofit helping entrepreneurs in the developing world.

~ by Delfino on 2009/04/08.

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