Roatan’s Beauty, Truth & Wisdom
Elmer with one of his acrylic paintings.
Elmer’s studio is the western edge of his concrete porch overlooking the busy street of the Colonia Policarpo Galindo. Elmer, his wife and three sons live in a handsome, blue concrete house on a steep road leading west into the hills of Sandy Bay. As Elmer looks over his easel he can see dozens of small, wooden houses perched on the slope. As he paints on a Friday afternoon he hears sounds of people returning from a day’s work. These are his neighbors.

The Colonias in Sandy Bay are a vibrant microcosm of emigrants from all over mainland Honduras. The beauty right outside of his door is full of color, noise and vibrancy. It is the place for many mainlanders to start their lives in the island department. Sandy Bay colonias are a Honduran melting pot where Olanchanos, Misquitos and Capitalinos build their “Roatan dream.”

Elmer is painting using acrylics on small rectangular, dark canvas. The image Elmer paints is of an old man wearing a white hat walking amongst coffee plants in the mountains of mainland Honduras. Elmer had used the Google search engine to locate this image and bring it to canvas and back into a non-digital existence.

“I like paining old faces,” says Elmer. “In old faces you can see their work, toil, happiness and sadness.” While he paints a face of an image he downloaded from google, the world outside his door is full of life, struggle, work, joy.

Elmer Alexander Madariaga Sánchez, 36, signs his work with a four letter acronym: EAMS. He was born in Department of El Paraíso to a family of farmers. His parents moved to Tegucigalpa for economic reasons. Elmer was painting from the time he was nine-years-old.

“I married at an early age. I had children,” says Elmer who decided to interrupt his art studies at UNAH after barely starting. From that point forward his life became centered and focused on supporting his growing family. He completed several courses in fine arts and began working making jewelry in Tegucigalpa.

His life became centered and focused on supporting his growing family.

In 2010 his life took a turn. He moved to Roatan to work at a Diamonds International store as a jeweler. In fact, he still works as a jeweler in the mornings and paints in the afternoons.

He is still growing as a painter. He is working out his style and exploring many painting techniques. He can paint impressionist, surrealist, realist, landscape, and portrait paintings. He likes to paint in acrylic, pastels on canvas, and oil. On the weekends he paints murals and does interior design.