The gypsy village
At perhaps two miles of the place where my host lived, there was a small village of Romas or gypsies.
One day we were working in the yard moving a few pieces of firewood and picking up a bunch of garbage that had watered out there, my host started telling me he was planning to go later in the day to the gypsy town to see a girl who according to him, Janet Jackson fell short in terms of how beautiful she was. At that time I did not really get what he meant and I just said it was fine and I would follow him as usual.
In the afternoon of that day we went on the bicycles to the Roma village which at the entrance had dismantled car which seemed to me funny because of the reputation of the Roma people in many parts of Europe.
When we reached the village, we got off the bikes and the people greeted us amicably, I was walking behind my host and he was telling me a lot of things his usual quick way of speaking, so I wasn’t really paying attention to much of what he said.
Suddenly in the garden of one of the houses we saw a lady in her forties who smiled at us in a shy way and greeted us so raised my hand and waved back. My host started telling me that she could be an option and but not the best because she was old. I was still thinking “an option?” And had not grasped well until I heard, among all the words that my host said in Romanian to the lady, the Spanish words “mexicano” “sangre caliente” and and then that the lady started doubting and laughed distressed whilst reflecting. Then my host said the other girl to whom he referred earlier would be much better so we should look for her.
Then we kept going, looking to the other one and I thought “What the hell! What should I say now? “However I wanted to wait and see what happened out of curiosity, basically as it had been all throughout my stay there, and as if something came up I would think about a way to free myself and say no . While passing some houses, my host pointed out one where there was a very fat lady who greeted him with a straight face because she was busy doing some chores and he told me that was the house, the problem was that was the mom was there so he didn’t have enough courage, besides, he couldn’t see the girl around. We walked a bit more and found the younger sister, a girl with common Roma brown skin, good-looking with pale eyes, my host greeted her immediately and we got a bit closer to which she smiled. He told me as we approached she was the younger sister who was fifteen, that she could easily be a model and that he had not taken a chance with her yet because he knew if his dad found out, there would surely be problems. Then he started talking to her in Romanian and mention the same words in Spanish as before “mexicano” “sangre caliente”, pointing at me, I did not answer anything, just watched the situation and the reaction of the girl who was smiling, blushing, saying no and thinking, he kept talking to her trying to convince her and she doubted it while I thought “what am I going to do if he says yes? How do tell them I’m not going to get involved in this?” Right before I said anything he said “she doesn’t want to”, we withdrew, she went back home and he said” I don’t think it is a good idea anyway because the parents are here and apparently the sister is not around. She was good, used to fuck like crazy since she was thirteen”.
At that moment, we got on our bikes again and went quietly back to the house, relieved that I did not have to think more about how to get out of that situation and somewhat shocked.
One of the tasks my host gave me to do at home was to paint something on the wall of the kitchen which was just plain white and was shared with the entrance hallway.
I said agreed so he gave me a few bottles of paint with the three basic colors plus black, gray and white and a few brushes. For the finer details he gave me a toothbrush to which I cut a few bristles and attached them with a piece of wire to a branch to have a sort of a makeshift brush.
As we prepared the material, I thought and thought what to paint, sought ideas from recent conversation topics and made some sketches. When I asked my host what he would like me to paint or if he had a particular topic in mind, he just told me not to worry about it and to paint anything, he just wanted to have a work of art of my creation, so I decided to make a quick sketch and start painting it as soon as possible because I didn’t wanted to spend the whole day doing it.
I had never painted a picture on a wall before and less so with that kind of paints, so I decided to just start and experiment and as I had not very specialized tools I decided it would be best to do all the color blends directly into the wall.
I had to do something small first as a test to see how the paints behaved and the flow of brushes felt so I chose the small piece above the doorway between the kitchen and the dining room / bedroom and a thin brush and started doing Mayan style masks I made up on the go, with orange highlights and shades in blue to see how the overall combination looked. In the end, I wasn’t pleased with the masks, but that’s normal, anyway it helped me realize that the paintings mixed well and the result was good so I could proceed to make the big mural.
Before I begin, my host’s mom came in and saw the masks for the first time, she observed them for a moment and finally said they were nice in Romanian, which understood after having heard that word being repeated many times for many other different things that she liked. It was quite late so we ate and I left the large mural for the next day.
The next day I started painting the large surface of the wall which was the hall all the way up to the door. First I had to think of a way to separate the masks from it. It did not take long to decide that I was going to paint a line using a repetition of squares with the primary colors.
Once that was done I began to trace the outline of the bigger piece, taking care of the proportions, composition, etc. and afterwards I started filling it with color, mixing, and detailing until it was finished.
The subject of y painting was a huge skull-shaped tree with some guys approaching to cut it. This time the reaction and words of the mother were different when she saw it. She paused for a moment and instead of saying it was beautiful she just said it looked interesting… When my host saw it he made no big fuss, he was just happy that I had painted something on his wall so that it was no longer flat and thanked me for leaving a piece of my work at his home, he asked me to sign it and write the date to keep the memory of who and when it was created.
The next day he asked me to use the remaining paints to repaint the wooden floor was worn out and half orange. I told him the color would not be the same tone but did not care and said it would be good anyway. Finally the floor was painted in a weird way as the new part was closer to magenta while the old was orange because there was not enough paint to cover it but my host said it was good anyway.
The last thing he asked me was to paint the white door threshold connecting the kitchen to the dining room / bedroom with another drawing so there I just used the red and blue colors and drew a prehispanic style theme of two heads with symbols of dialogue which he liked very much and made his mom very happy.
After several days, near the end of my stay, my host asked me to do another art job consisting of painting a huge piece of wood that he wanted to use to attach it to two small logs and make a bench to sit outside the house. I had no idea what to do and didn’t want to complicate my life doing some elaborate drawing or looking for a sophisticated idea, so I painted it white and then spattered it with the rest of the colors creating some interesting textures. In the end, the bench was very cool and both my host and his mom really liked it. We carried it outside with the base trunks nailed, and they had a new bench just waiting there to dry up.