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Life takes over

Hi all y’all!

Here it is September first. I think I am pretty organized, but sometimes I don’t get to my paint brushes.

Sometimes I get to my paint brushes, and I am embellishing giclées, not playing with a new painting.

Sometimes I have a million non-artistic errands.

Sometimes I look up and it is September first.

The painting that I started is Roller Girls. I have some of it blocked out. Here is a glimpse.

Roller Girls, the beginning
Roller Girls, the beginning

I listened to the soundtrack of Whip It, while I was painting. I love that movie. I love Drew Barrymore, too.

Maggie made me a paint brush out of pipe cleaners. It should come in handy. It is adjustable.

Paint Brush

One of my favorite topics about Cuba is the Medical program. Cuba will train American doctors at no cost to the USA or the students. The students are given free room and board with all of their meals prepared for them, their basic medical supplies, and basic toiletries. They are even given a stipend in their last two years when they are most valuable as a resource.

I saw 4 recent US graduates from Cuba’s six-year training program discuss their experiences. One of the recent graduates is from the 9th ward in New Orleans.

Dr. Gigi Simmons
Dr. Gigi Simmons

I will tell you the highlights of the medical program, as I remember them.

The program is taught in Spanish. Most people go to Cuba without any Spanish. The first semester is Spanish immersion. All of the exams are oral, which teaches the potential doctors to think on their feet. When they are stuck on something, they are told to help each other. They spend a full semester without any equipment so they can learn to diagnose with their 5 senses. As for paying Cuba back, they are told to go home and serve.

Medicine as a public service is just the approach that drew many US graduates to ELAM, (Latin American School of Medicine).

“When I learned about Cuba’s health system—free, universal, and with a focus on public and global health—I knew this is where I wanted to study,” Dr. Veronica Flake of Philadelphia told MEDICC, (Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba).

“I came to ELAM because I believe health is a human right, and so does Cuba,” said Dr. Tia Naquel Tucker of Sulphur, Louisiana. (medicc.org)

Before I went to Cuba, I would have thought a Cuban medical degree was inferior to a degree in the US. Now I can’t wait until Dr. Gigi Simmons puts her shingle out.

There is no smooth transition here.

We had a tragedy in our family. Although it is sad, I feel it needs to be said. My nephew passed on August 20th. My sweet darlin’ and I flew to California to be with the family. He was 27. It’s a sad story with a sad ending.

Until next time,

Thank you for being there.

Holding you in my loving thoughts,

Gator Girl

 

 

 

 

 

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Studio Revamp

Hi all y’all!

August. Like a warm, wet blanket. You can reach out and grab the air.

This is my audition photo to get into Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival. This is my second year applying. I am on the waiting list. I am showing you this photo so you can see the wooden frames where my art is hanging. Katy made the frames from Pinterest inspiration. We wanted something easy to put up. Possible to store without a garage. And not distracting from the art. 

Tent Audition
Tent Audition

I am fixing up my studio so it will be ready for visitors. I think the easiest and most satisfying way to sell art will be to have people come to me. The first step in my master plan is making my studio stunning.

When we moved in this house 5 summers ago, I put everything in my studio without much thought and started painting. It is a long, narrow room with a lot of furniture. More furniture all the time. Also, Maggie and Raffi paint in here. And by paint, I mean build things out of piles of recycling.

When I got back from Cuba, I  painted one long wall with flat white paint. I put two of the festival panels up very high on the wall. I was afraid it would be too busy, but it worked out better than I expected. I can rotate art easily and the panels draw your eye up. It makes the ceiling look very tall.

Studio Wall
Studio Wall

This is the best photo I could get because the room is only 10 feet wide.

August 1, I was the artist at Bolden Bar. It is the most beautiful venue. The downside was that nobody came. August 1 was also White Linen Night in the Arts District. I hope to go back on a busy night. It was lovely there.

Bolden Bar
Bolden Bar
Large Paintings
Large Paintings

Shortly, I will be painting again. I am narrowing down the subject today.

Cuba continued…

My sister, Jan
My sister, Jan

Jan is standing on the balcony of Hotel Ambos Mundos in Havana. Hemingway lived for years in room 511. Behind Jan is the Cuban flag and directly behind the flag is Che Guevara’s house.

We saw Pablo Menendez perform on the roof-top patio of his home. He is originally from Oakland, California. He moved to Cuba with his mother when he was 14. It was a fabulous night.

Pablo Menendez and his band
Pablo Menendez and his band

Until later,

Unwavering love,

Gator Girl

 

 

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Cuba!

Hi all y’all! I just got back from a week in Havana. My sister and I took the trip with Global Academic Adventures. We both had our concerns about going with a group. It turned out to be the best trip ever. Dr. Siri Briggs Brown (founder of Global Academic Adventures) led our group and packed the agenda with tried and true adventure. Every day was better than we imagined. There really was not one wasted minute. My sweet darlin’ did some extra work this summer and encouraged me to go on a sister trip. He puts the sweet in sweet darlin’. I am working on a way to go back to Cuba with David next summer. More on that later.

Most of our tour group.
Most of our tour group.

Cuba is amazing. The people were the best part. I wondered what our reception would be like after a 47 year blockade. The Cubans were happy to see Americans. So happy and hopeful to have a chance to travel to the US and have the opportunity to rebuild their infrastructure. One woman cried when she saw us in a restaurant. 3.1 buildings in Cuba collapse every day.

Havana neighborhood
Havana neighborhood

Cuba is picturesque, but the buildings will not last another 47 years without some supplies and money. I fell in love with Cuba. I think I could write a book… but this is a blog. I will add a little bit of Cuba to each blog for a while. I want you to know about US medical students in Cuba, the food, the cars, the economy…

Where Hemingway Stayed in Havana
This is where Hemingway stayed in Havana
Our taxi driver
Our taxi driver

He played Cuban music on the radio and honked at all the girls on the Malecón (8 km sea drive).

Hotel National de Cuba
Hotel National de Cuba

The hotel was built in the 1930’s. There is still a bunker on the grounds with a map of the missile launching sites and targets. I found inspiration in the colors and music. I am looking forward to being with my paints.

Living la vida loca!

Gator Girl