San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

New Joseph Kaknes exhibit at Laguna Mar Hotel

A new exhibition by landscape artist Joseph Kaknes opens Feb. 2 in the recently launched Laguna Mar Hotel near San Miguel, in the southern part of Guanacaste.

Kaknes moved to Costa Rica six years ago and settled in the tiny Guanacaste village of Islita to pursue his passion for painting landscapes and seascapes. His own crowded gallery, Galeria Casa Estrella, is testament to his fascination with his tropical surroundings. Kaknes works have previously been exhibited at the Hidden Garden Art Gallery in Liberia and Hotel Punta Islita, and they can be found in important private and corporate collections here and overseas.

The American artist is also an award-winning dramatist who has created original onstage art and drama in the U.S. One of the plays dramatizes Van Gogh’s final days, as he paints a post-impressionistic canvas on stage. Kaknes performed his one-man show “Van Gogh” for the long-standing English-language Little Theatre Group of Costa Rica in 2011 to general acclaim.

Joseph Kaknes

Kaknes’ new paintings are displayed at the Laguna Mar Hotel.

Vicky Longland

Although Kaknes has no formal art training, his vibrant compositions are full of energy and colourful expression. Due to his fascination with Van Gogh, Kaknes’ art is influenced by the post-impressionist movement, and in particular, its most famous protagonist.

Kaknes has become a well-established figure around Islita and the picturesque beaches and communities in the area. Wearing a battered straw hat as protection from the elements and puffing on his pipe with two faithful doggy companions – George Moss and Loida – in tow, Kaknes is easily recognized. Locals and tourists alike stop along the road for a chat and to view his latest creations.

His approach to his work is unlike other artists in the country in that he insists on painting only in situ, capturing the essence and atmosphere of his subject in the countryside. He disdains using photographic memory aids to complete a canvas. Once it’s done, it’s done.

Kaknes with be exhibiting his work Feb. 2 from 3-8 p.m. at Hotel Laguna Mar. The hotel will be serving complimentary wine and bocas at sunset (while supplies last). Stop by and enter to win a $50 Restaurant Laguna Mar gift certificate (no purchase necessary to enter drawing).

Location: Hotel Laguna Mar, Javilla, near San Miguel, Guanacaste.

Contact: 8651-9487 or 2655-8181

Directions: from San José, the drive is approximately four hours. Take Highway 27 and Panamerican Hwy 1 to Puente Amistad; then roads to Mansion, Hojancha, Islita, Javilla.

Daily flights to Islita with Nature Air

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