Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Journey to Bolivia: part 1: Santa Cruz and Cochabamba


I have just returned from a painting trip to Bolivia, a fairly exhausting experience, which took me from Campo Grande in Brazil, across the border at Coumba, then by bus to Santa Cruz and then to Cochabamba, then to Potosi, Sucre and La Paz

Campo Grande is one of the most tedious cities I have ever been too, being more or less flat, extremely spread out, with a highly unimaginative grid plan  and, like a US city, utterly devoted to car users. I did not see a single building of architectural note. 

Santa Cruz, Bolivia, is  better, though it has equally few natural features of interest. It does have, however (as does everywhere I went in Bolivia) innumerable people selling things n the street: food, tissues, drinks, magazines, whatever.  They sometimes have little trolleys, though often they simply squat on the street with their wares laid out in front. Quite how they manage to make enough to survive is beyond me.

 Santa Cruz, street sellers, oil on card, 12 x 15 cm

There is also some distinctive old Spanish architecture, notably one or two storey buildings with eaves that extend onto the street, supported by columns, creating arcades. These provide protection from the elements, and have a certain grace. These buildings have courtyards, some of which, such as the excellent Hostal Colonial, have little gardens.

 Cochabamba, an entry point into the Andes from the East of the country is considerably more fun, with a vast, unruly, street market, a handsome central square and fine Baroque churches.

These next was painted from the Colina San Sebastian, looking towards the Bus Terminal:

A view of Cochabamba, oil on card, 16 x 17.5 cm    SOLD

Entrance to a street, Cochabamba, oil on card, 16.5 x 17 cm

Houses, Cochabamba, oil on card, 13 x 16 cm

 A mountain, on which stands a concrete Jesus, overlooks the city:

 Cochabamba, hillside 3, oil on card, 15 x 13.5 cm

Cochabamba, hillside 2, 17.5 x 17 cm

Here is a section of the elegant square, looking North:

Central Square, Cochabamba, oil on card, 15 x 17.5 cm

And finally, a tree, painted near Cochabamba`s rather dismal little river:

Tree, Cochabamba, oil on card, 14 x 15.5 cm


Thanks to Cristina, Brazillian Medical student for help crossing the border.



  1. I really like the last painting a lot! It has energetic balance of warm, neutral, and cool colors. Also, it's different from your other paintings in that the other works seem to indicate a specific place of another country. They often leave us this unsatisfactory feeling and wondering where it is. This doesn't seem to be unique to a specific place.

    1. I think I can understand what you mean. It`s like not knowing who a portrait represents. But it seems an unavoidable consequence of painting travel pictures!