In 1979 Eleanor rented an apartment on Marine Street in St. Augustine. A painter traveling from Mexico she found a place that fit her desires. An ancient, tropical enclave by the sea. A few months later she met Curt, a newly arrived woodenboat sailor who had traveled down the East Coast from the Outer Banks of North Carolina stopping and working along the way. He too had found a good reason to stay.

From that time, through their years together and the many places they have lived, they have documented their experiences through creative expression. Their story continues here...

Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Party

A return to San Jose this week gave Eleanor a chance to shop before we leave. It was extremely busy with scores of outlaw vendors hawking side-by-side down the center of the walking streets. At any time a cry would ring out and they would quickly gather their merchandise and lose themselves in the crowd. It would have been easier for the police to herd cats.

Street busker with a fine lo-fi kit

The central market was open with its maze of walkways and shop of every type...

medicinal herbs



dry goods

potions in recycled bottles

We started organizing for our show in the barrio. Exhibiting our work was a small way to share our expressions of the community. Isabel decided it deserved a party, plans were made and Isabel took Eleanor to shop for party food ingredients in town.

vegetable stand next to Senora Chaves' house in San Ramon

Isabel, her sister Eugenia, their mother, Senora Chaves and Eleanor started cooking early on Saturday and continued through the day. Patacones (plantains flattened in a tortilla press and fried crisp), pico de gallo, picadllo de platano verde, picadillo de papa with chorizo, and refrescas made with mora (blackberry) and cas.



3 o'clock

 Royce, the director; Jaun Jose, a board member and his family joined us from San Jose. Quite a nice surprise.


Eleanor's Copan

We also celebrated Marisol's birthday early for her father Bryan, Isabel's son and a research diver, was going back to sea.

La Familia

with my art bud, Jose

The wind and mist are back. We are packing for a 5:30 pickup to take us to the airport. We will return for Eleanor's show at the National Gallery. Maybe within six months, a homecoming to look forward to. But for now we are full from... Seis Semanas in Copan.

Monday, February 22, 2016


Our residency through Intercultural Odysseys is somewhat different than many artist residencies. Although lodging, meals, laundry and a work space are provided... the emphasis is on community and environmental interaction. It is not a requirement, some choose a more conventional, sequestered arrangement; but working in the community has fit us well. Maybe it is because we have had the opportunity to work in our home studios mostly free of other obligations, but more likely it reflects our shared desire to join in, share and learn.

Living in a barrio has its challenges. It is small, crowded and no one speaks English. The only hot water is an on-demand shower head that struggles with more than a small stream. There are no screens, a well-worn clothes washer, drying on the bushes and fences and open gray-water drains. When the wind blows there is a staccato of flapping metal roofing. The walls are common to our neighbors and quite thin.

But the flip side is much more fulfilling. Isabel's extended family has taken us in like we are their own. The neighbors are friendly, the kids are funny and full of energy and our stay is seeming too short.

Eleanor continues to research Barrio Copan, this women-built community of over 400 homes. Interviews, old photos, remembrances and continued pride in a success that was against many odds. A remarkable feat.

Three originals... Damaris, Maria Elena, and Isabel

Young Damaris making tamales for the workers

Before construction

Wedding celebration

Starting to 'build' the community

As the week wound down we caught a bus for the coast. Enjoyed a hot afternoon in Puntarenas, swimming and eating seafood.

And back for more art and English lessons at our favorite Saturday Market cafe.

Arturo and Eleanor

Monday, February 15, 2016

El Viento

The past week was hard on much of Costa Rica. The wind blew off roofs and heavy rains flooded rivers, especially on the Caribbean coast. There were a few things blowing around in the neighborhood but mostly just thick fog and heavy mist from the mountains to the north.

Issa always has good things to eat, no matter the weather

We have been painting and taking our daily walks into town and visiting with our home family and friends. Eleanor interviewed a woman that had helped build the houses twenty or so years ago. The women were trained through a government incentive and did all the work themselves. I am sure Eleanor's visual portrayal will be quite revealing.

Late in the week we all took a bus to San Jose, the capital, to visit museums. Program artists have exhibited in the National Gallery and we wanted to see the spaces. It is an old, teeming city not unlike others we have visited in Latin America. Interesting sights and sounds around every corner.


Fossils at the National Museum

Pre-Columbian stone spheres only found in Costa Rica

Scouting out the possible show galleries

Muy guapo!

Negotiating the wind and traffic

Lunch in San Jose

On Sunday we decided to revisit a favorite restaurant, Soda Flory, in the mountains above San Ramon. A great meal and a long hike finished the week.

Stoking the cook stove


Holger's family is flying in tomorrow and he is finishing his six weeks here and off to the Caribbean coast for two weeks. We are planning to head for the Pacific coast next weekend, but I am having to take it easy with an eye problem. Maybe we will work here instead. Would like to get more done as a month has already sailed by!