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A special place

 

Cactus and arroyo by Jill Logan

After an hour driving north from Cabo San Lucas on highway 19, we arrived at the quiet town of Todos Santos. This settlement was a stark contrast only 50 kilometers from the southern tip of Baja California Sur, a resort destination teeming with grand hotels, protected beaches and host to the world’s most prestigious billfishing tournament.

On our way north we passed through the Sonoran Desert with Saguaro cacti, dry arroyos, and stunted vegetation. We passed mountains mostly 4,000 ft but as tall as 7,000 ft. on the right and on the left the Pacific Ocean revealing quiet beaches that alternated with pounding surf.

These glimpses of nature gave way abruptly to scatterings of lush palms and precise rows of tended fields of green vegetables irrigated to withstand the sparse desert rainfall. Some were covered with protective netting – oases in the harsh desert.

Along the way were a few stands selling fresh produce and one larger enterprise, a cooperative offering the best of the areas products including goat cheeses from animals like those we regularly encountered at the roadside prompting us to display emergency flashers to alert fellow drivers of these animals who could stray on the road.

Todos Santos is a town of less than 7,000 true to oneself and unspoiled. Restaurants announce special dishes for the local trade, nothing offered reminded of Taco Bell or Chipotle restaurants with their stereotyped dishes mostly limited to tacos, enchiladas, fajitas, and their like. The restaurants instead featured things like the world’s greatest grilled cheese’. When I ordered one, the waiter said “We learned this from you”. It was made with five cheeses and thick slices of homemade bread and served with warm tomato marmalade and marinated fresh vegetables including cauliflower carrots and squash.

I had to admit the creation had every right to be rated as the waiter had. The rest of the dishes offered included magnificent salads now free of the fear of “Montezuma’s revenge”. Also featured was fresh caught local fish and a variety of other tempting dishes all with the common denominator of availability of a spicy sauce.

The artist and a visitor

On a street with shops that sold straw hats and gaudy plates made by locals and for sale to tourists we found a gallery offering fine art. The name that clearly described a Gringo. Inside we saw an array of art both original and painstakingly reproduced for the buyers who sought beauty at a lesser price.

The original art captured the seductive spell of the landscape displayed in bold colors and the magic of the desert glow. There were also soulful images of the people who lived on this land. The human subjects that we saw were all women as was the artist.

We spoke with this artist who was known by reputation to one of us. The feeling for this woman’s art was captured in this statement enclosed in a brochure

An interesting phenomenon has emerged over the years I have been painting whereby something makes its appearance that was previously hidden beneath the linear view of the subject. This something seems to be the very piece that breathes the life force into each object and from these emerge a unique and individual personal stamp. I am fascinated with catching this something in its purest essence and reproducing it in color form and emotion.

Viewing the art displayed and speaking with the artist who captured feelings and recreated them in form and color on canvas was a rare treat. We were able to sustain this when we chose a painting to take home with us.

 

By Savvy Senior

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