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La Manzanillo Memo – March 20, 2015

Efren Gonzalez 

Ajijic artist and teacher Efren Gonzalez was recently in La Manzanilla where he took time to give a live painting demo to local youth.  

On a balmy Monday evening nearly 20 students gathered at La Catalina Educational Foundation to interact with the artist and watch him create a fabulously inspiring painting.  The students were initially very quiet and shy, smiling politely as he started the demonstration.  He immediately tried to engage them in conversation.  Awkward glances and giggles were exchanged by the nervous students but not one would speak.  

Not at all flustered by the situation, Gonzalez began to draw them out by promising prizes for the person asking the most questions.  Finally, one hand came timidly up and asked why he started his painting by covering the entire canvas with a deep rust colored paint background.   That was the only lead he needed, he explained that because he was painting scenes from La Manzanilla, and its hot and tropical here, the deep red helps convey the feeling of heat in the painting.  He went on to explain that if he was in the mountains on a winter day he would start with blue canvas.  As he talked, the painting came alive.  The students were enthralled and began firing more questions about the painting process and art in general.

La Manzanilla is home to a lovely fine art gallery, Galeria La Manzanilla.  Very few of the youth in attendance that evening had been to the gallery.  As Gonzalez continued to talk about art and artists who influenced him it was apparent the students had very little understanding of art history.  When the name of Picasso received nothing but blank stares from his audience, he quickly flipped his canvas over and in a few strokes produced a very Picasso-esque sketch, initiating giggles from the students.  He explained his point, flipped the canvas back over and continued his painting, all the while drawing the students more and more into his very positive realm of influence. 

Having the opportunity to meet and interact with a Mexican who makes his living as a full-time artist was extremely unique for these students.  Gonzalez didn’t miss a beat when he encouraged them to reach for more in their lives.  He flatly stated he has no gift from God as an artist, rather he has a dedicated work ethic and it’s only through hard and daily practice that he has achieved success.  His generous sharing of knowledge and poignant message clearly resonated with a few of the students.

The weekly art classes are part of a program funded by the annual La Manzanilla Art Walk.  Expatriate artists have been taking turns teaching at the Monday evening classes. This season, students have studied color theory, perspective drawing, watercolor painting and block printing.  Gonzalez has donated oil painting supplies for future classes.  

Gonzalez was in La Manzanilla for a week to paint scenes from our lovely village.  At the end of his week he held a live auction at Galaria La Manzanilla were his paintings were snapped up by eager buyers.  

La Manzanilla Happenings

Magnolia’s Kitchen & Drinks is featuring happy hour specials from 4-6 p.m. which include draft beer specials, infused cocktails, citrus sangria, Flat bread, hummus and popper dip.  Dinner reservations recommended; 315-351-5114.

Chantli Mare will be serving their sumptuous Sunday brunch through Easter.  Look for eggs Benedict, waffles, steak vaquero, frittata and special omelets (salmon or prosciutto with brie).  All at their beautiful seaside location. For reservations call 333-105-8863.

Casa Luz continues to offer daily yoga classes through March 31.  Classes began at 9 a.m.  For additional details see www.nanseenew.com.

Activos Gym is offering daily classes including Zumba, Spinning and Insanity.  Just 60 pesos for a day pass.  See www.activoslamanzanilla.com for a full class schedule.

Palapa Joe’s hosts The Lounge Lizards, Fridays through March.  Music starts at 7:30 p.m.  Never a cover.

Restaurante Las Cabañas has live music on Saturday evenings, Latin rock or banda. Information is posted outside the restaurant door.  No cover with dinner. 

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