Preparations for Painting Trip in Mexico

My husband and I like to get away in the winter and focus on making art, rather than teaching or exhibiting.  This year we will spend 4 weeks in Old Mexico, drawing, painting, soaking in the sights and culture in the Baroque cities of Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende, enjoying the rich craft traditions of Guadalajara, exploring Viejo Puerto Vallarta, and warming up along the beaches of Nayarit.

This week has been spent in preparation of being away from home for four weeks.  Well of course there are all those mundane things like getting reservations, arranging for a house sitter, and packing…….Then there’s the fun stuff: research and dreaming: looking at maps, watching travel vids on YouTube, networking with friends; shopping for the holes in my travel wardrobe; and preparing for making art-on-the-go.

As a painter of horses, flowers, gardens, etc, I also spent the past week brushing up on my perspective principles and skills.  The weather here has been really snowy, cold, etc, and my days have been taken with other prep chores, so I worked from photos in the evenings.  Making these drawings gave me time to acquaint myself with the environment I will be visiting, as well as revisit places from earlier travels.

This is a street scene from Guanajuato I found online.  From watching YouTube, I learned that Guanajuato is considered the “Gem of Mexico.”  It is built into the mountains in the state of Guanajuato during  Colonial times from an economy originally based on silver mining.  Guanajuato is a prosperous city with well-preserved neoclassical architecture featuring carved granite facades, soaring towers, archways, European-style plazas, and a network of winding cobblestone streets.  This pedestrian-friendly city has redirected the bulk of motor traffic below the city into the old mining tunnels.  in 1988, Guanajuato was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.  I intend to find out more about these “chopped off” trees, which I found in all the videos and many photographs of the area.  What variety, why they are shaped this way, etc…..guanajuato

This street scene came up in my Guanajuato image search.  As I got into the drawing, I realized the shop signs were not in Spanish.  Unlikely to be Guanajuato; still good practice for perspective drawing.  My sketchbook page was small, and this scene had many characterizing details that I felt needed to be included, so I chose to unify the whole by working in value markers, rather than painting.street

With the sumptuous architecture and perhaps some questionable mountainous winter weather, drawing interiors will be profitable to practice as well.  I took this photo while visiting Fredericksburg, Texas last winter.  It is a charming, old-fashioned candy store.  You may notice the distortion of the paper, painted in a “dry media 80 lb” sketchbook.  The focal point is an M&M dispenser.  I imagine you choose the color blends you prefer and pay for the candy by the pound.  It looks rather like a coffee bean dispenser.candy

The last drawing is from an earlier trip last winter to visit my family on the West Coast of Florida.  My sister took me to a gelato shop.  The macaroon counter was amazing, with all the colors from the different macaroon flavors… coloring?  Like the candy store, I was drawn to the patterns of the geometric lineup of colorful shapes.  It was fun to play with the transparencies in the display while practicing perspective rules.macaroon

Author: Cheri Isgreen

I have been a lifelong rider and horse lover. I got my first "horse" at a yard sale; it was a pony actually. It was sometime in the early 60's. I was in 3rd or 4th grade. The pony was perhaps $10. My sister, brother, and I pooled our money and led him home. At the time my parents were traveling, and my Uncle Bill promptly made us return it. (stay tuned...more to come...)

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