It's taken me a while to get back to earth and to my blog after my wonderful trip to Mexico. I have loved Mexican folk art, Mexican colors, and especially Mexican food for as long as I can remember, so it was high time I traveled there. It was beyond anything I hoped for. The colors were stunning! I was especially captivated by the combination of beauty and the shabbiness of decay. I have intended to keep this blog focused on artwork, but I have to slip in a few irresistible images along the way.
I think I filled up one memory disk with walls, windows and doors. The beauty of them was everywhere:
I have to admit I didn't get nearly as much sketching in as I had hoped. I was in absorption mode and just had to pause and take everything in. But here are a few finished pages. We stayed in a beautiful hotel, Hotel Sotano. Like so much of Oaxaca, little could be seen from the walled entrance on the street, but once inside the doors, there were delightful bits for the eye everywhere. We all agreed that we could have spent a week sketching the vignettes in the courtyard, balcony and rooms. I loved that I was given the Santa Lucia room. She is the patron saint for needleworkers and guards their eyesight as they age. Coincidence?
It's hard for me to know what Oaxaca is like in normal times since it was fully decked out for Day of the Dead. There were surprises around every corner from a street dance of monsters in full costume, to tapetes (large tapestries) made of sand filling the streets, to parades, to giant skeleton puppets, and of course altars everywhere:
Before I left on my trip, Leigh gave me a grid for small sketches. (thanks Leigh!) That ended up being one of my favorite ways to sketch on the trip. There was so much going on that I seldom had time to sit for long. Using the grid, I could quickly capture snippets along the way. I think small grids will now be a regular part of my sketchbooks:
And for sheer visual overload, we made several trips to the markets. They are probably incredible throughout the year, but during Day of the Dead they are loaded with sugar skulls and coffins and crosses, special festival foods and decorations. These beauties were made out of flour paste and are used to decorate the tops of pan de muerte, the special Day of the Dead breads:
I'll be posting more about Mexico and some of the inspiration I found soon. Paula, one of my traveling buddies, has wonderful posts about the trip on her blog.