The sunlight in the Tropic of Capricorn is blinding, saturating all it settles upon. There’s a lot of ambient environmental red and orange from the tawny clay earth to the baked tile roofs. Trees and plants scream green and yellow, the sky vibrates blue and indigo. It’s astoundingly opulent.
And it’s hot, best to wear light, loose cotton that billows and cools in the breezes. The women in the painting are students at Unicamp in Campinas, SP, Brasil, going to class. Much of the campus has covered walkways protecting from sun and frequent rain.
So the blinding sun, all the red and orange, the sheltered paths and young women in flowy white pastel garments is the reason for this painting. That’s reason enough, no need to go deeper.
These winged seeds come from a tree which can grow to over 100 feet in height. In Brasil the tree is used extensively in reforestation projects, urban landscaping and for its ornamental wood. The yellow flowers become really large, 4-6″ whirly-gig units which are blown far and wide. The seeds also have pickery spines that cling to fur, clothes or wherever they can get a grip. I painted these as part of an ongoig study of seeds, my interest in these being their enormous size. These are painted full scale.
The tamboil tree goes by many names, most of which are associated with its ear shaped seed pods. Scientifically it belongs to the Fabaceae family and is named Enterolobium contortisiliquum. They’re native to Brasil. They can reach 20-40 meters in height giving welcome shade. The wood is used for furnishings, the bark which is high in tannin is used in learher industries.
The seed pods have a wonderful, pouchy shade with a have a rattle when jiggled!
If you are a philodendron, the Tropic of Capricorn is where you want to live, not in the upper latitudes clinging to life in an office planter, overwatered, underfed, starved for daylight.
Here the size and variety of this species is vast. Plants which are scrawny potted slips in the US are as big as a house in Brasil, co-habiting with even bigger plants as they climb, coil and wind skyward. Their closed pods are the size of a liter Thermos bottle. When the pod (blossom) opens it reveals a huge ivory anther. After fertilization the blossom closes. Why? I don’t know, yet. I walk past this philodendron daily and always look to see what’s new.
Tropical Depression, 20 x 14″, pastel in Arches 140# CP
Being American, being of a nature that celebrates variety and a se la vie attitude towards most matters, I must admit that I had a real sense of depression and loss with regard to the US election results. I’ve been painting this since the day of the election and it took longer than most. I couldn’t find graphic resolution to it’s design. Sorta like I can’t find emotional resolution to why the US electorate had such sorry candidates as presidential nominees.
But it’s done like this painting is done. God bless us all. It is what it is.
Edwardo invited us to dinner last weekend. He has a highrise apartment in downtown Campinas, Brasil. The view’s great from the seventeenth floor and his deck is enormous and totally private. I was caught by the combination of geometry and airy openess and painted it in tribute to built spaces.
We moved closer to the Equator last weekend, landing in Brasilia, 7° north of the Tropic of Capricorn. Ted had some business at the University of Brasilia. His colleagues, our friends, Adson and Diana, showed us around several of the campuses spread far and wide throughout the city.
Brasil is going through political and monetary tough times. Unsurprisingly, the turmoil was evident throughout the city, particularly on campus.
Sidewalk Graffiti, University of Brasil
This red, white and blue sidewalk painting shows the arm of the USA offering a bag of money to Brasil who in turn offers a barrel of oil. These images overlay the great waterfalls of Brasil which turns to blood red as it flows into a sewer drain. Copies of dollars and Brasilian raeyes are glued to surface, pouring with the blood into the drain.
The truth of this matter lies between the Left and Right extremes portrayed in the painting. I was startled when I saw this graffiti. In my book, this painting is good, honest art, nothing less. Salud to the artist.
Jardim Botanica, 2016, 8 x 8″, watercolor on 140# CP paper
Ted and I have toured a few major highlights in Brasilia proper the past few days, places honoring the founders of this latest Brazilian state, monuments which commemorate, venerate and relegate these men who once held power to eternal memory. Ashes to ashes and dust to dust.
The botanical garden, Jardim Botanica de Brasilia, on the southwest side of the city provided perspective when compared to the hard built shapes of its Brazilian architect, Oscar Neimeyer. The concrete plazas of greateness are so very hot and thirsty, the garden is cool and quiet, life abounds. A docent, Melissa, student of entomology, explained that bees, her specialty, are threatened and under great environmental pressure due to human activities. She studies at the University of Brasilia.
We have met other students, mostly in fields of engineering . Ted gave a couple lectures at the U of BR, which is why we’re in this capital city. Ted teaches design.The gist of both lectures was that when searching for design solutions, identify the true nature of the problem before embarking. Interact with people who have different academic backgrounds to achieve wider vision when designing. The students we met are at the end of undergrad studies and must decide what to do next, pretty scary, I recall.