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As you may have noticed, I have not been blogging much here. The reasons are many, but I want you to know that I AM blogging now on our gallery blog, so, if you wish to, you can go to our website, www.cardonahinegallery.com, click on the icon on the right that says Gallery Blog and you can read about both or either of us, our new puppies, life, news and our work.

Alvaro just returned from a week in Grand Rapids, MI where the symphony orchestra there, under the direction of David Lockington, performed an elegy Alvaro wrote to honor one of our closest friends, Hank Feldrais, who ended his life about a year and a half ago. And not only to honor Hank, but to express his own profound sorrow at losing him.

As an artist, it is possible to take up one’s sorrow and give it a form. It is often very difficult to do this, but if it can be accomplished it is helpful in moving to a next stage. Alvaro had written a group of poems after Hank’s death, but it was clearly not enough, so he worked on this music for months. Music goes beyond our intellect, directly into our hearts; we feel the pain, the sorrow, and to have one’s own sorrow shared is a great comfort. And to hear it performed so beautifully, as he was able to do this week for four different performances, and to have it received and loved by both the orchestra and the audiences was deeply moving. Gratitude is hardly the word to express it, but certainly, that is part of it.

We hope to receive a CD of the concert in a few weeks. We may be able to make copies available for any who are interested.

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Sorry About the Silence….

We want all of our collectors and friends to know that we will be in Todos Santos, Mexico, from January 5 through April 1, 2009. The gallery will be closed beginning Jan. 4 and will reopen on April 2, 2009.

We had a very busy summer and fall with many wonderful visits both in the gallery and from personal friends. Alvaro went through some health issues which also kept us fairly busy, particularly a rotator cuff surgery that kept him down for a while. All is now well and he is composing and back to painting. He has just completed a lot of new birds; some of these we’ve added to his gallery on the website, but there are quite a few more that will be added as others fly off to their new homes. Visit the website (www.cardonahinegallery.com) or, if you want to see a few of the new ones before they go up on the site, contact us through the site. We’ll send email attachments.

The point of three months in Mexico is for us to be free to work deeply without interruption. Of course, as many of you who know us know, we love to socialize as well, so if you’re in Baja Sur and want to get together, contact us through the website, as we don’t know what our phone number down there will be. Barbara always checks email every other day. It’s nice to have a break once in a while from our work. So if you’re in La Paz or in Cabo San Lucas, you are only one hour away from Todos Santos. We can meet you somewhere in town.

Of course, going to Mexico is also an escape from the winter months here. Particularly for Alvaro who, with his Costa Rican blood, needs a warm, sunny, and green environment in which to thrive. This will be our fifth stay down there. We’ll see what we come back with this time in terms of creating. It is always an inspiration to be there.

We also want to wish our patrons and friends very happy holidays, especially the coming new year. It looks challenging from this distance, but who knows? Everything is in flux. But what else is new?

Twenty years ago, we spent two weeks touring around Morocco. We were able to do this as a result of a car accident we had when we hit black ice and the car jet-lined down the road, ended up hitting the soft shoulder and turned over. Amazingly, neither of us was hurt. But the car was totalled. Our insurance company paid for the full value of the car and, even after purchasing a new car, we had enough left over to pay our flight to Morocco. Alvaro was writing a novel based on a dream he had had which involved, oddly, Morocco. So he wanted to visit to get a sense of the people and land.

We travelled from Tangiers to Casablanca where we joined a tour that would take us pretty much all over the country so that we could visit as much of the country as possible: the coast, the inland desert, and the mountainous areas. As a result of the trip, Alvaro began painting his impressions of the buildings and land. He has continued to paint Moroccan paintings all these years.

The Moroccan paintings, with their constantly inventive themes, and soft pastel colors, have become some of Cardona-Hine’s most sought-after paintings. Below is what the artist, himself, has written about the subject:

“There have been many painters who, after visiting some remote and alluring land, continue to paint it from memory. For me, that land was Morocco when I saw it twenty years ago in the company of my wife, touring its mountains, cities and towns with ever-widening eyes.

“What Morocco offers is something ancient, different and grand. Its landscape is vivid and unusual, its architecture part of a domed world, a world of camels and mosques, of storks perched on abandoned castles of adobe, raising their heads to give out their outrageous cries; a world of nearly invisible cemeteries and towers fragrant with the odor of roses.

“I paint Morocco to celebrate mystery, donkeys weighed down with eternity and blue-clad humans merging with vast, sandy distances.”

Two new paintings from the last six months:

Below is an oil entitled Islam & Spain, celebrating Spain’s cultural history, enriched by Moorish influences still echoed in modern day Spain. The muted and lightly mottled coloring captures the mystery inherent in the Spanish world, what is hidden or secretive, as well as the profound connection between the Arab and European traditions. TheĀ  painting measures 58″ x66″, is available at $9,600.

This second piece, entitled, Nocturne for Towers and Beasts, was painted approximately around the same time as the one above. It is more expressionistic and playful. It truly mirrors whatever the viewer brings to it. Some people delight in the beasts with those glowing teeth; others feel a slight sense of menace. Either way it is a powerful painting. It is 52″ x 54″, also oil on canvas. Available at $7,000. Feel free to write your own comments on either of these pieces. We’d love to hear from you.

Two Poems by Alvaro Cardona-Hine from The Curvature of the Earth, a book of poems by poets Gene Frumkin and Alvaro Cardona-Hine, University of New Mexico Press, 2007.

(The blog doesn’t permit the format of a poem, so I’ve used two slashes to indicate the end of a stanza.)

A Woman in the Forest

winters pass

and everything blooms

that had a hidden wish

behind it//

the snow holds tight

onto a crocus

white on white

Italian Wine

in drinking

one knows

a ranunculus

has been pressed

with the grapes

to give a lover’s kiss

an altered mind//

there it sings

tighter than a rose

as young birds

melt away

in praise//

for love is something

like an unbuttoned blouse

(Still Barbara writing for Alvaro): We don’t celebrate anniversaries much. In fact, we married on leap year day–Feb. 29–both so we wouldn’t have to do a yearly thing, but also to be sure we’d remember the day. But our gallery in Truchas, NM, will have been open for 20 years this coming May. It’s rather amazing to us, and it has been a journey of depth and joy for both of us, filled with years of meeting and making good friends among our gallery visitors, and growing and deepening in our art.Visit my blog if you’d like to read about how the gallery came about. Below is a picture of us in those first, heady, days just after opening the gallery.

Alvaro is not ready to commit himself to writing here as he is very occupied with writing an opera based on a play called “Flight” written by Mikhail Bulgakov. He has written both opera and chamber music before, some of which has been performed, but, so far, never an opera. It is no doubt quixotic of him, but that is how he is: it does really matter to have it performed, but the reality that it probably never will be does not stop him from doing it. He has to do it. It’s that simple. The music is in him; the play inspired him. At any rate, so I am greeting you for him, his wife.

He is not only a composer, but a painter and poet and writer. Rather one could say simply that he is a deeply creative man, and that creativity takes on many forms. Some of his writings will be included here; some of his paintings, though you may go to our website to see more of them www.cardonahinegallery.com.