Monday, December 30, 2013

Ten days in southern Minas Gerais- part one


Boa Esperança, shop, oil on card, 14 x 16.5 cm

Boa Esperança, pasteleria, 12.5 x 18 cm

Boa Esperança, Percy`s Peças , oil on card, 13.5 x 15.5 cm

Boa Esperança, Salão de Beleza, oil on card, 14 x 16.5 cm

Boa Esperança,the central square, oil on card, 14 x 14 cm

Boa Esperança is a town of forty thousand, prettily situated on a lake in Southern Minas Gerais. 

I tend not to go to the interior of Brazil much. I always think of it as the real Brazil, deep Brazil, Brazil for really serious explorers, in contrast to Santa Catarina, which I think of as Brazil-lite, easily palatable for gringo softies such as me. That is, in the interior you have to endure sertaneja*, dilapidation, heat, slowness, and very heavy food. You feel like you are the only foreigner and you probably are, and everyone is incredibly religious**.

The landscape of southern Minas is not as charming as that of Santa Catarina, as it lacks the drama of both the coastline and high mountains. There are huge coffee plantations over slow, almost treeless hills, and small towns in which nothing ever happens except the occasional downpour and their own gentle decline. There are many children and many dogs and everyone seems quite happy.


I enjoyed my time painting in Boa Esperança very much. I loved the simple painted buildings, which often have deco detailing, and the pleasant people, whose children, playing in the streets, struck me as very polite and sweet-natured.

I am trying to paint pictures which are simpler, more cheerful, and more colourful. For a long time I had, largely unconsciously, been trying to paint North European landscapes here- and painting the shop-fronts were a great way to escape from this. I am also working on a slightly bigger scale. I want to feel freer with the brush and enjoy broader effects.

* a form of Brazilian country music, often played at high volume by morons in oversized cars.
**this, sadly, has a political aspect, with various Protestant church groups seeking to meddle in the affairs of secular state, harry homosexuals, and generally reduce the liberty of others.

 Many thanks to the Rodrigues family, especially Filo, for kind hospitality in
Boa Esperança.


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