Atacama

First: an Indonesian-style baruga in the foothills of Santiago! Then, on to the Atacama.

The desert near San Pedro: stunning. I have only seen wild donkeys and a few flamingoes so far. 
These shoes are shot, for sure!

 The salt ponds are everywhere.

Did life start here?

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Kari Canyon Walk

The Kari Canyon lies in La Cordillera de la Sal, Valle de la Luna, near San Pedro de Atacama: stunning scenery. A cool walk best done in the morning, before it gets hot. The salt crystals (Calcium sulphate) vary in size and colour, looking almost like snow sometimes. We were careful to stay on the path, lest we damage the dust-dry formations. We had to empty out our shoes after the first sand dune descent. The different rock colours are inspiring: like being on Mars or the moon perhaps. I had a slight headache from the altitude, but it’s an easy walk, two hours, with taking pictures, passing along the ancient dry river bed and through a few arches and caves. If you stand quietly, you can hear the salt whispering as it expands and cracks. 
Palpitations only on the last incline!

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Picture This

An Equinely Quintetto

Horses, beautiful horses! I have to get going on a quintetto (neigh, they don’t sing) of Arabians, long overdue. I have met them, even ridden one, and the paint must now be splattered! I will surround myself with facsimiles of their equine grace, all the time wishing myself to also be in warmer clime.

In keeping with all things horse: I recently saw War Horse, brought to stage under the direction of Nicholas Hytner and Nick Starr. A most splendid production, with amazing puppetry. The play is based on the novel by Michael Morpugo, adapted by Nick Stafford and the puppet wizardy brought forth by Handspring Puppet Company. It is a National Theatre of Great Britain production, but I saw it in Toronto.

The story was inspired by the fate of horses used in World War One, where about eight million of them perished. Toronto supplied 18, of which only one, by the name of Bunny, survived the first poison gas attack of the war.

WarHorse is about sixteen year old Albert’s hunter, originally trained to plough on the farm, and sold by his father to the army for a hundred pounds. It is a powerfully sad anthem for peace. (Do read the related articles below.)

The horses I will be painting are Arabs though. They are all, or have been, used for endurance riding, something Arabians excel at. Here are some initial inspirations:

ShahAhira Rabdan Nahim Nahim2 Ahisha

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