Friday, October 22, 2010

More Sketches and Photos from Mexico Trip

Two of the many reasons I love Mexico and Mexican culture are its diversity and duality of ancient and new- the traditions, many years of ritual and practice passed down from one generation to the next.

We sketched one morning in the desert botanical garden el Charco del Ingenio. The Four Winds Plaza, a ritual and scenic space, was inspired by Tolteca-Chichimeca indigenous beliefs. The outer circles indicate the four cardinal directions in their classic colors- Flora (agave) yellow East; Fauna (coyote) red West; Earth (hill) black North; Water (spring) blue South. The inner circle represents the Sun at the moment it is covered by the Moon. It's a testimony to the 1991 solar eclipse, the astronomical date of the founding of the garden. In 2005, the Dalai Lama proclaimed this place's energy a movement toward a new consciousness for peace.

We spent another afternoon at a newly opened toy museum called La Esquina. It's one woman's collection of over 1000 popular Mexican toys. I enjoyed the carnival toys and dolls.

We visited Atotonilco and the Sanctuary of Jesus Nazareno of Atotonilco. In 2008, this church was designated a Cultural World Heritage by UNESCO. It's on the 100 world monuments watch list. The state of Gaunajuato received funds to restore the interior frescoes. The paintings represent the syncretism of Catholic iconography mixed with native religious beliefs.
Visits to three artists' studios made for another highlight of our trip. Anando McLauchlin showed us his office, new studio, house of many colors, and garden - a work of nine years.
He creates assemblage pieces, jewelry and incredible interior and exterior designs. Anado referred us to two other local artists. Leigh Hyams paints and colorful floral acrylics. She's written a book entitled How Painting Holds Me on the Earth. Edward Swift creates wonderful paper mâché figures that look like stone. He showed us his process and said that Clyde Connell is one of his muses. He uses her paper mâché techniques. It's so inspiring to see how other artists work and what influences their art. Mexico has left its imprint on each of these artists' work.

Bill LeVasseur showed us his collection of 500 Mexican ceremonial and performance masks housed in his museum called The Other Face of Mexico. The masks represent 62 different indigenous groups in Mexico with their own language, culture, food, customs and rituals.
We watched a video that showed the dramas and dances with performers wearing the masks. All of these experiences reinforced my awe of Mexico with its diversity and traditions.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Portland Art Collective October Giveaway

This month, Tory Brokenshire gives away one of her beautiful chandelier glass journals. Comment Here to win and get more information. Good luck!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

San Miguel de Allende's Monjigangas

Las Monjigangas, giant puppets, teeter and dance to the music down Canal Street during a parade to celebrate the Feast Day of Saint Michael the Archangel or San Miguel.

The puppets stand nine feet tall and weigh about 30 to 35 pounds.

We visited the studio of Hermes Arroyo, a local monijganga artist. His nephew showed us how the puppets are made- metal/wood frame, cardboard and plaster, acrylic paint and then they are dressed. Each one has a personality. The artist often sits in the main plaza and sketches faces and characteristics of people he sees. The inspiration is transformed into his puppets.

The construction of the hands impressed me.
He lost his ring during the parade.

Monjigangas also represent historical figures. Brides and grooms often commission puppets of themselves to celebrate their wedding day.
The studio also makes smaller puppets for wedding guests.
It's a festive and fun art form from Mexico. Viva la vida de Mexico!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mexico- A Feast for the Senses

Cynthia, Robin and I traveled to San Miguel de Allende to experience the culture, art and festivities of Mexico. We filled up each day with lots of different activities.

All across Mexico, everyone celebrates the Bicentennial of their Independence from Spain and their Revolution Centennial . The state of Guanajuato is where the Mexican Revolution started. September 16th is their Independence Day. In 2010, it's a year long fiesta. Merry Calderoni's artwork this year focuses on the soldiers of the Revolution. I took liberty with one of her paintings and sketched my own lines outside the the box.

During our stay, the city of San Miguel de Allende celebrated La Fiesta de San Miguel Arcángel- their patron saint and namesake- with parades, fireworks, and music.

The sounds of the city impressed me- bells ringing several times a day, traffic noises, water falling in fountains, birdsong, children playing and laughing, dogs barking, the drum beat, band music, mariachis singing, fireworks and loud booming bottle rockets.

The colors of the city- folk art, flowers, architecture, flags, sky, doors- plus the smells- of the bakeries, street food, restaurants, horses, plants blooming and flower bouquets

It's a rich culture full of history, tradition and wonderful people. The next few posts, I'll share more of the places that we visited.