Travel and visual inspiration


It still amazes me. How you can get on a plane, spend a day travelling and end up in a new culture, new weather, landscape, language, architecture, etc. No matter the long anticipated planning & arrival – it always stuns me. That first couple of days I spend wandering and watching like a visitor from a different planet. (The 6000 ft altitude in SMA might also have something to do with my stunned state…)

Perhaps that is why it is all SO inspiring – that overload of visual information. It is ALL so different we seem to look harder – and see more when we travel or are on holiday. Although… San Miguel de Allende could seduce even the most distracted of travellers. The colors. The shadows. The streets and steeples. Reminding me of a youthful summer lived in Banff – it is like a postcard every day.

Here on the wet coast we perch on rocky shores between majestic mountains and sparkling sea. Not a bad view even on a foggy, changeable day, but any place that is familiar becomes “common”.  We tend to become visually complacent and oblivious to our coastal grandeur, taking it for granted. I think some of the simple things we find attractive (in exotic lands) like hanging laundry and long shadows are also here in our own back yard – we just don’t take or make the time to notice.

One of the things that I try to impart to my students is to “see” the details and the wonder in the familiar. It takes time and concentration, practice and LOTS of looking. You don’t have to travel to exotic locations… I can find inspiration just outside the door or across the table.

But out there far away, every day…is that place.

Every time I return from a journey – I am struck by the fact that the exotic place I have briefly (and very fortunately) experienced is still there…half a day away. The local people going about their work. Bells ringing, doves cooing, petals falling, chickens turning on the spit, ladies splashing the sidewalk, and the garbage runner clanging away.  All there for my daydreams to feed upon. When I bring home my sketches and paintings it is like a little slice of their day lives again for me. I hope you enjoy them too.

Painting with others.

The added joy of this trip was to share the “looking” with some other visual junkies. Like finding your tribe in a world of peoples – You don’t need to explain or elaborate…they already “get it”. My fourth time in San Miguel and second stay in Guanajuato, it felt like familiar territory to share with newbies.  It doesn’t matter how many photos you see – to stand on the narrow sidewalks and walk the crooked cobbles on the shady side, finding your way to the Centro – Colonial Mexico is like no other place.

We found our separate corners to work and paint, wandered together and apart, and sat to share a view a coffee and creative time together. How fortunate to live this life and share such treasures with friends.

sma amigos01





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