Monday, October 5, 2015

A Visit to the Ex-Hacienda

A little over two weeks ago, I returned to San Miguel de Allende in Mexico to take another art journaling workshop led by the amazing Orly Avineri.  The workshop was organized by Rebecca Brooks, who has a special touch when it comes to gathering together a group of artists in a special place and arranging for everyone to have a wonderful time.
Orly and Rebecca
The theme of the workshop was "Standing in the Ruins: Arms Outstretched". Our first day together, we travelled by bus for about 2 hours to visit an abandoned hacienda called Jaral de Berrios for inspiration, what the locals call "The Ex-Hacienda".  Our first view of the building as we approached, along the most heavily rutted dirt road I have ever travelled on, was like coming across a castle surrounded by a brick wall covered with graffiti.
Our first glimpse
We arrived at exactly noon, and just as the last one of us stepped off the shuttle bus, the church across the way starting playing Ave Maria from a speaker in the clock tower.  It was a truly magical moment and we all paused to listen.
Vanessa photographing the church
We then turned and faced the front of the Hacienda.  It was a beautiful and imposing structure
but the signs of neglect were immediately obvious.
Our guide, Hector, began to tell us about the history of the building as we made our way through the front door and into the main courtyard.
Hector walked with us and shared stories and information as we started to explore the buildings and grounds.  We were all fascinated with our surroundings, taking turns grouping together and then heading off on our own to see what we could find, all the while snapping away with our cameras.
Hector and Billy
It was a filthy ruin of a building - there is bird and bat shit everywhere and the smell of same mingled with the odor of decaying plaster.  There are holes in the floors, walls and ceilings, outdoor areas are overgrown with weeds, and everything of value long has long since been removed by scavengers.

Where pipes have been removed from walls
The white marks on the walls are bird poop!
It was also an exquisite example of a time long ago when it was a home of great beauty and grandeur, with remnants of painted walls and expensive wallpaper, silk fabric on the ceiling, beautiful frescos in what was the master bedroom.

Stay tuned for most photos of this fascinating place in my next post!


Frances said...

Love your drawing!

Frances said...

Lots of inspiration for your art journal. I am sure the memories of your trip will surface in your art over time! Thanks for sharing.