We have a prickly pear cactus at home. It is the kind of cactus that is used as a "veggie" in the traditional Mexican gastronomy. We cut leaves from it almost every Sunday for cooking and it is very old. It is almost like a big tree with a huge trunk and strong branches. Every Spring it blooms and produces a couple of yellow prickly pears that mostly the birds are the ones that actually enjoy them before we could even harvest them.
My dad, who takes care of the garden, used to wash the cactus with water and soap very often because he thought it was getting infested with a white fuzzy bug. Interestingly enough, that bug would dye your hands red if you squish it. So one day I showed a picture of it to my cousin and she said with excitement: ¡Es Cochinilla!
Two years ago I attended a women's retreat in Colorado. It was an incredible experience to be held in a circle of 20 wise and kind women of all ages and backgrounds. It is rare in this modern age to be able to be open and raw with a group of people you never met before. And still we felt safe to talk, dance, scream and cry together.
After one of the sessions I made a sketch on my journal, showing a woman connected from the ground to the sky through a string. Back then I did't even think about painting it or do anything with it. It just came to me and I kept it.
One of my favorite things about having a creative life is that I can play and experiment with a lot of ideas and they don't really have to be correct or accurate. The part that I am not very good at yet is to materialize those ideas and make them actual projects.
Sometimes I need a little motivation, and last week that motivation came from one of the most influential Planetary Scientists alive today, and one I particularly admire: Dr. Alan Stern, head of the NASA's New Horizons Mission that flew by Pluto in 2015.
Since I started to paint with watercolor this summer, it was clear to me that I was going to paint many moons: the waxing moon, the waning moon, the full moon, the eclipsed moon ... the latter being the least common and the most fascinating; I have seen it reddish, brown, orange, with a little blue around the edge. They are what some call "blood moons", and they have many mysterious connotations.
On June 10th there will be a total solar eclipse. Although it will be only visible in the Arctic, it reminded me of a painting I made last December when the last solar eclipse happened. I have a great fascination for pre-Hispanic cultures and their astronomical knowledge, especially for the Mayan culture. They understood very well the motions and cycles of the celestial bodies and could predict eclipses with great precision, even those eclipses that were not visible in their territories.
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