The Corsica Galeria de Art, the Galerie des Artistes, and the Cafe des Artistes… Puerto Vallarta

The Puerto Vallarta Art scene is extensive ranging from public art to private galleries and extensive crafts. I found this delightful sculpture at the Corsica Galeria de Art. This fellow looked like he was commenting on my failure to check on whether the Cafe des Artistes was open for lunch.

Peggy and I were in search of a good place to take her sister Jane and brother-in-law Jim to lunch when they joined us in Puerto Vallarta. Both are quite talented cooks, a fact we have benefited from many times. Since we had fond memories of the Cafe des Artistes, it was at the top of our list. Unfortunately, as we discovered when we arrived, it was closed for lunch. (Whoops.) There was no danger of starving to death, however. Restaurants are rarely farther than a block away in downtown PV. More to the point, we found a couple of top art galleries located right next door: The Corsica Galeria de Art and the Galerie des Artistes. I remembered both from earlier visits. Both galleries welcomed us and told me to take all of the photos I wanted. They were quite open to my blogging about them.  Publicity is publicity, right. I’ll start with the art I found at the Corsica Galeria de Art .

These Mexican Chihuahuas caught my attention immediately.
I was reminded of these two cuties we found on Puerto Vallarta’s Isla Cuale a few years ago. It appears that the light brown fellow was getting an earful! Maybe he forgot to take the garbage out. Obviously, he cares. Grin. (Actually, he was about to get his ear bitten. Teach him.)
The gallery featured several other colorful dogs in three dimension. I’m thinking boxer, here.
A profile shot!
This one reminded me of a cocker spaniel from my youth.
The obvious companion to the sculpture I opened the post with. The shadow seemed a little sinister to me, like an evil twin sister. And what’s with the sort of scorpion, sort of cat, sort of person on her hand? 
This was one of Peggy’s favorites in the way the eyes, mouth, teeth and tongue stood out, becoming almost real in comparison to the rest of the painting.
Peggy also was drawn to this hat with its many feathers. I found it almost surrealistic in its intensity.
Are you a person who finds clowns scary? The little girl with her balloon didn’t.  The triple chins suggest a bit too much fast food!
I liked the colorful bull although the eyes suggest it could have been a member of the devil’s herd in “Ghost Riders in the Sky.” (One of my favorite songs when I was growing up.)
Remember Senior Fish Head from my post on the Furniture Mart. This fellow seems to have a similar problem with fish on the brain. 
I’ll close my section on the Corsica with this sculpture. I found it quite unique. You can learn more about the gallery and its artists by visiting its website:  Corsica Galeria de Art

The Galerie des Artistes was immediately down the hill from the Corsica and had a decidedly different feel to it.

I felt that this fellow could have been found hanging out in the woods of ancient Greece.
One artist used hot air balloons to connect his paintings. Here the balloon is offering cherries to the bear. Knowing what I know about bears, it is about to gobble them down.
This giraffe is either coming out of or morphed into a city, giving a new meaning to the term skyscraper.
Alligator with companions on a unicycle? I’ll bet the artist has some very creative dreams. What would Freud say…
Mixed medium skull. I’m starting to think Day of the Dead. (Next post)
I am not sure whether cat woman is facing forward or backward, but she was colorful. Note the extra pair of arms. I blew this photo up and found bears, owls and rabbits staring back at me. But as you know, I have an active imagination and I am pretty sure that the artist was okay with me seeing whatever I wanted to see.
More eyes staring at me. Is that a come-hither pose? Or is it Blake Shelton saying ‘choose me’ on Voice..
And finally, i was quite taken with this collage of floral images.  I couldn’t find a website for Galerie des Artistes but apparently the gallery is on Facebook.

That’s it for the galleries, but it is not the end of the story. Peggy and I weren’t finished with our desire to revisit the Cafe des Artistes. So we made reservations and went there for our 28th Anniversary dinner. The ambience was superb, the waiters great, and the food delicious. Each year, Puerto Vallarta has a celebration featuring world-famous chefs and we ended up with one of the top chefs from Mexico City. It was a close to a perfect evening. We had to rely on our iPhone for photos. I had previously left my camera behind in a taxi and we weren’t able to recover it. The phone didn’t do well with capturing colors in the dim light, however,  so I have rendered these photos in black and white.

We were greeted with a free drink. Cheers!
A free hors d’ouvre arrived at our table next. There were also rose petals scattered on the tablecloth. .
I had short ribs in a delicious mole sauce and Peggy had an out of this world duck leg that melted in her mouth.
We couldn’t believe it when our dessert arrived on a large mirror platter complete with Happy Anniversary in chocolate surrounded by small dollops of raspberry sauce. A candle lit things up and a large spun sugar heart provided the backdrop! And no, I wasn’t a two-fisted drinker. We had moved Peggy’s glass of wine for the photo. Needless to say, the waiters were well-tipped!

NEXT POST: It’s time for the Day of the Dead. We missed it by a few days, but there were plenty of sculptures and crafts around to remind us of the event. Get ready for some bone-rattling fun.

Furniture Mart or Zoo or??? … The Art of Puerto Vallarta

A friendly wolf licks Peggy’s face at the Furniture Mart in Puerto Vallarta.

Peggy and I have been coming to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for a long time, long enough to see the lovely two and three story hotels along the north beach replaced by would-be sky scrapers that encroach on more and more beach.

We always stay at the Krystal Hotel, which is located along the main road between the airport and downtown. Years ago, we bought a time share here. It’s not something you do as an investment, regardless of how fast the sales people talk or whip out figures that you are not allowed to take away and study. In fact, there are much less expensive ways to see Mexico. Forget what we paid originally, the ever-increasing maintenance fees alone would easily cover an annual visit to PV, or anywhere else in Mexico.

But Peggy and I like the staff, our villa comes with a swimming pool, and we have fallen in love with Puerto Vallarta: its art, great dining, tropical sunsets, friendly people and amazing wildlife. There is even a taste of more traditional Mexico once you escape from the popular tourist areas.

I’ve blogged a fair amount about the town, more than I remember. I laughed a couple of days ago when I was doing Google research on PV’s public art, came across a promising heading, clicked on it, and landed on my blog.  

I’ve even blogged about the furniture store directly across the road from the Krystal. And I am going to blog about it again— today. I can pretty much guarantee that it is unlike any furniture store you have ever seen. It all started as a failed restaurant. Peggy and I ate there once upon a time.The food was good but the customers were scarce.

The family scurried about,searching for some other way to make a living and decided to make furniture.They also decided to sell art decorations for the home, everything from cute little ceramic frogs to giant metal rhinos. Collecting unusual items became something of a passion.

There must be hundreds of ceramic frogs hanging out at the Furniture Mart. This one is a cutie, complete with eyelashes.
Contrast it with a full sized metal rhino!

The three, or four, or maybe five story structure feels like an Escher painting where you meet yourself coming and going. It is crammed full of art, wood carvings, pottery, strange statues, masks, and Mexican knick-knacks galore, as well as very unique furniture. There are thousands of items. The family of Carlos Paez Coronado describes their building as the Furniture Mart, the largest store of its type in Mexico, and a museum.

We visited this time with Peggy’s sister Jane and her husband Jim who were staying at our villa with us for a week. Jane loves ceramic plates and has dozens of them. We knew she would like the store. Senior Pepe greeted us and assured us that if we bought any item costing a few grand and weighing who knows how many pounds, he would personally deliver it to our doorsteps in Oregon or Sacramento. (Anyone need a 20-foot-long table?) He and his brother fill up a truck with purchased items and make an annual trip across the border. We disappointed Pepe on the mucho grande sale, but Jane almost bought enough plates to make up for it.

I have enough fun wandering through the Furniture Mart that I am going to do three posts on it: One on the wonderfully wild (and tame animals), one on the pottery, and one on the furniture and weird things. Today it is all about animals!

A ferocious jaguar stalking across the floor.
With big teeth.
A friendly dog…
That Peggy pets.
A toothy lion.
An eagle and a jaguar have a discussion about which is most ferocious.
Given this eagle, I’d say a toss-up.
A realistic carved horse…
That Peggy befriends.
Puerto Vallarta’s favorite lizard: The iguana. I’ll be doing a post on these big fellows.
Head shot!
A turbaned elephant…
A trumpeting trunk.
A crabby crab.
A fighting stag displays its hooves.
I’ll conclude my exploration of the Furniture Mart today with this striking painting of a giraffe. Next up on the Mart will be ceramics ranging from pigs to plates.

It’s Turkey Day here in Puerto Vallarta, so Peggy and I will be heading out for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Several restaurants cater to the day. But I couldn’t find a turkey to represent the holiday…

So, a moose will have to do!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all of our Internet friends! –Curt and Peggy.