Saturday, November 27, 2010

Patzcuaro Portrait Painter


Patzcuaro boasts a consummate portrait painter.

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José da Silva was born in 1948 in Boulogne-sur-Mer, Argentina. He married Adriana Mitidiero and they had two children. In 1974 the couple left Argentina to move with their two-year-old daughter and six-month-old son to Mexico D.F. José and Adriana both needed to work and they spent hours commuting in the nightmare of Mexico City traffic. They said they hardly saw their children. The niñera fed breakfast to the children after the couple left for work and put them to bed at night before they returned.

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In 1976, CREFAL in Pátzcuaro offered Adriana a position as executive secretary and also offered José a job. The couple picked up again and happily moved to Pátzcuaro--where two more daughters were born and Adriana and José have lived ever since.

In Pátzcuaro José met an Austrian who had been trained as a finish-carpenter. The two men set up a business, first making wooden toys and then furniture. At one point Carrefour in France ordered 2500 sets of shelves, which they shipped in 1997. At its peak, the furniture business employed 80-100 people.

José started painting on plywood at the age of ten in Argentina and had always liked to paint, even though he worked at other jobs for a living. In Pátzcuaro he was further able to study painting technique with a painter from Mexico City. José began painting portraits, which is what most interested him, and he sold them well from the beginning.

At some point José and his partner realized they did not both have to manage the furniture business at the same time. They began trading three months on and three months off, then six months, and eventually one year at a time. They shared the profits which gave them both the luxury of time off with income. Eventually, in 2006, José sold his share in the business to a mutual friend. His children were grown and José could devote himself full time to painting, his first love.

Although he has done a few landscapes, José is first and foremost a portrait painter. He says that the expression on certain faces catches his attention. To begin, he may take as many as one hundred photographs of a subject which he uses in picking the angle and the look he likes best. He especially likes to paint a person’s eye contact. And some people, such as Arminda of Ihuatzio, he paints over and over again to capture a different mood, angle or look.

Those of you who wander around Pátzcuaro have certainly admired the superb da Silva paintings displayed at El Patio or La Surtidora on Plaza Grande. José usually has some portraits for sale and he can ship to a customer. If you are interested in purchasing a painting and would like to know what he has available, make a comment below to request his email address.

Here are some portraits that José da Silva has painted.

Pátzcuaro bound?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pátzcuaro is Special

An inveterate traveler posted this on a message board that I happened upon:

clip_image002Typical architecture in Patzcuaro. All buildings must be painted white with with dark red bases. The lettering must all be of the same style and painted red, black and white. All of the lanterns lining the streets are identical.

To me, Patzcuaro is a VERY SPECIAL, enchanting place. When you enter the city, you can imagine that you’ve gone back 200 years in time. Of course, there are automobiles, electricity, and other modern conveniences, but the basic aura of the city is timeless. It exudes feelings of a simpler time when people spent time together and engaged in ages old occupations ~ farming, fishing, weaving, and hand-crafting items for use in every day life. I’ve NEVER seen any city that has a bulk SEED STORE located on their main plaza. Apparently it’s been there forever and ever, and has been run by the same man for generations. In Patzcuaro, you still see MANY Tarascan people in their traditional clothing out and about.

Patzcuaro is a place we WILL return to ~ hopefully over and over again…

Post by JoanieBlon of to

A place in Patzcuaro for you.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Drive Pátzcuaro to Nuevo Laredo

There has been interest expressed in some specifics for the drive from Pátzcuaro to the border at Nuevo Laredo, using the bypass on the West side of Querétaro. Your mileage may vary from mileage given here, depending on the route taken through Morelia.

000.0 mi – Tanganxuan Glorieta in front of Aurrera, Pátzcuaro

Drive through Morelia and take cuota to Salamanca

104.1 mi – At Salamanca, take cuota toward Querétaro
N 20˚35.318” W 101˚08.311” (approx. coordinates)

149.0 mi – Right hand exit to Santa Rosa Jauregui/San Luís Potosí and to Mex #57
N 20˚ 34.248” W 100˚ 29.026”

Follow signs Sta Rosa Jauregui / San Luis Potosi toward Mex #57

165.4 mi – Do NOT exit at Santa Rosa Jauregui

166.4 mi – Follow sign to San Luís Potosí

167.0 mi – Join Mex #57 North

279.0 mi – El Potosino Parador Turístico

Bypass San Luís Potosí

Go into Matehuala (there is an option to bypass)

398.7 mi – Las Palmas Restaurant and Hotel, Matehuala

465.0 mi – San Pedro Parador Turístico
N 24˚ 29.738” W 100˚ 17.693

524.6 mi – Monterrey-Saltillo > Cuota
N 25˚ 10.501” W 100˚ 43.727

546.0 mi – Saltillo bypass, right exit
N 25˚ 26.070” W 100˚ 48.287”

559.5 mi – Take right exit > Saltillo-Monterrey
N 25˚ 35.108” W 100˚ 52.755”

563.2 mi – Exit again right > Morones Prieto (via new cuota)
N 25˚ 36.825” W 100˚ 50.171

581.0 mi – Exit right > Nvo Laredo Cuota Mex #40
N 25˚ 41.786” W 100˚ 34.655”

606.mi – Go left/North > Nvo Laredo Mex #85 via cuota
N 25˚ 50.880” W 100˚ 14.882”

609.5 mi – At this Y stay on cuota

656.0 mi – El Rancho Parador Turístico, hotel and restaurant, Cuota Km 99
N 26˚ 30.119” W 100˚ 00.703

718.4 mi. – Alternate border crossing: Exit to Colombia Bridge (at approx. km 207 of Cuota)

Arriving in Nvo Laredo, follow signs to Zona Centro & Puente I

730.6 mi – At the Y, go left.
N 27˚ 27.087” W 099˚ 31.084”

Follow this curving road around. You will pass a turn-off to left where car permits are processed.

734.0 mi – Nvo Laredo Puente I into the U.S.
N 27˚ 29.873” W 099˚ 30.479”

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Noche de Muertos 2010–#11

Pilgrimage on Horseback

On November 1, 50 riders set out from Morelia on horseback to make a pilgrimage to Pátzcuaro. Every year the pilgrimage keeps gathering riders from pueblos along the way, until they finally number from 600 to 1,000 on arrival at the Plaza de la Basílica. This massive procession on horseback pays homage to Nuestra Señora de la Salud, who is venerated at the Pátzcuaro Basílica.

The ride started in the dark at 5:00 AM and the caballeros and caballeras starting arriving in streams at 5:00 PM at the Plaza. In the fading light, the earthy smell of the horses permeated the air, while the occasional clatter of restless hooves, the snorts of horses pulling at their tethers and their nickers punctuated the burble of satisfied conversations.

This year no horses were permitted to enter the small courtyard area adjacent to the Basílica or the edifice itself because of restored paving and flooring. Mass was held to the jingle of spurs as those who were standing occasionally shifted their weight from foot to foot.

See a series of posts on Night of the Dead in Patzcuaro.
Patzcuaro bound?