Living on the island of Cozumel has encouraged this expat to get involved in many local activities and tonight was certainly no exception. I was invited to a local artist’s first exhibit and was able to view some wondrous watercolor art as well as see just how supportive islanders can be of one of their own. It was a grand party and, before I close my eyes for the night, I thought I’d share some of the highlights. And, let me assure you, there were many. There’s one thing Cozumel knows how to do and that’s throw an event.
But, before I get to the exhibit I’d like to take a moment and introduce the artist herself. Sarah Pritchett, that’s her on the right, is originally from Oregon, but she and her husband, Tommie, now call Cozumel home. They run a great little place called Villa Zaztun, which are rental apartments located on Xel Ha just a few doors down from me. However, in between playing hostess to their guests, Sarah, a woman who likes to stay busy, decided to take up painting. As she explained to me, it was almost by accident. Apparently there was a woman by the name of Linda Lord who visited the island several times a year and, while on the island, offered watercolor classes. Since Sarah was always interested in crafts, and had developed an urge to paint a palm tree on the side of their business, she finally decided to join a few of her friends and take some of those classes. Now, and this part is important, this all happened just four years ago in 2009. She had never painted before that time! And, when you see her work, you’ll know that this is one person who was truly born to work in this medium. After she took some classes, and continued to turn to Linda as a mentor, she then borrowed a DVD set from a friend that offered further information and instructions and she followed them carefully. She went on to paint cats to learn how to layer the colors. Next she focused on dogs with their whiskers and then local wildlife such as turtles and birds. Finally she began to create works that featured colorful individuals and this is where it all began to come together. Just wait until you see her art.
So, with that said, let’s get back to the exhibit. It was held at the Museo de la Isla de Cozumel, a grand and beautiful building (a former luxury hotel) located on Melgar, which is the main street that runs along the ocean front. The exhibit opened at 8:00 and had all the pomp and circumstance that one comes to expect here on the island. Sarah was put front and center at the base of large stone steps (with grand ornate railings) along with museum dignitaries where she was formally introduced and then presented with a plaque to commemorate the event. At that time she was asked to speak a few words to the many attendees and, once she was finished, there were smiles all around and we all headed upstairs to the exhibit itself.
Her paintings were placed all around the main gallery and dozens of people stepped up to view and appreciate. As is often the case, the camaraderie of the many folks who came out to support her was apparent. Folks greeted each other, hugged Sarah and her husband, perused the paintings, signed the guest book, and sampled the hors d’oeuvres. It felt like one of those affairs that is attended by anybody who is somebody and, for a few minutes, I could almost believe I was back in NYC. Folks were dressed well and smiled often. When it became a bit warm inside we could meander out to the outside balcony and take in the ocean breeze and look out at the well lit “Pirate Ship” that cruises along the shore after sunset. What can I say, the ambiance was perfect.
Now, here is where I would like to mention that all the artwork is matted and framed, but I took photos of just the paintings. That has to do with the fact that I’m a bit short and when I try to include everything the art gets a bit tilted, so I stick with a close up of only the work itself. Also, due to the gallery lighting and the glass over the artwork, there might be an occasional bright dot of reflection from the glass. Please keep that in mind when viewing the few pieces that I selected to go with this blog. Finally, if you see something you find particularly interesting, or just want to see some more great work, I’ll include her website address at the bottom of the piece.
Well, after about an hour of taking some photos, talking with this person, or that one, it was time for me to start thinking about heading home. A couple of friends of mine were getting ready to leave as well and, in true island fashion, offered me a ride. So, to round out the evening, I asked Sarah to stand with her husband, Tommie, for a last shot. The easy smiles on their faces told me that they were quite content with how it all turned out. And that’s as it should be. A talented artist, a crowd of supporters, and all on a lovely night on the island of Cozumel. It really just doesn’t get better than that. Salud!
p.s. If you are on the island, the exhibit runs through November 10, 2013. The museum serves a lovely breakfast and you can then check out some great art before going on with your day. Also, here is the link to a website where you can view even more of Sarah’s work………… http://www.cozumelwatercolors.com