I love artists.

February 20, 2014

“San Miguel de Allende is not Mexico.”  That is what a Mexican friend told me many years ago when he first moved here from Mexico City and started a natural food store, Natura, across the street from our house.  Since the time of Stirling Dickinson, San Miguel has been a place where artists, foreign and national,  have lived and worked, sometimes for decades and sometimes for vacation.  Some of us love the gringo community here and some of us are eternally frustrated by it.  I believe that if we focus on the art and the artists, our frustrations will melt away.

A couple of weeks ago, before I became consumed in the San Miguel Writers Conference’s 9th offering, we cruised Colonia Guadalupe Art Walk.  I had not been out to Guadalupe in too long, evidently, because I had not seen the mural project.  The Mexican Mural movement started with Rivera, Orozco and Siquerios in the 1920’s and continues here in San Miguel and in areas in the US, too.  I found this group, UGLARworks, lighting up the streets and billboards of L.A.  In the US, my oh so controlled country, the muralists have to deal with laws and regulations and neighborhood coalitions to share their beautiful art.  I was not part of the Guadalupe project, and I am suspecting that it was much easier.

Calling myself artist has not come easy.  I am sister, daughter, wife, grammy, boss, employee.  As my contribution to the world of art, for today, here are some photos from the Guadalupe Mural Project and a poem that I wrote while sitting in my friend’s studio, a beautiful painter, Gwen Dirks while she started a new piece.

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Co-creation

Her blank canvas, my empty sheet of paper. Her first pencil marks, my tentative sentences. Begin with an image drawn or described, boundaries for broad strokes of color.

She strokes long and short, terre verte, cobalt and white, naples yellow, cadmium pale, fill the room with pungent scent, stronger than the odor of ink on paper. I hear Machado and write the sweetness of those orange blossoms.

Silent, my loops of letters cross a pale line like the calico cat moves across the patio toward the sparrow. Her scratches of brush on canvas echo the mice building nests inside the kitchen wall.

Her white canvas gives way to green as hummingbirds fight for space on a mutilated elm tree. The sparrow faster than the cat, rises into the branches of a leafless shrub.

She places a wall between blue sky and green earth, yellow off into the distance as my half eaten apple browns, core and seeds exposed.

The painting deepens with layers of color as my words wander closer to what wants to be said. She hums along with earphone music, forgetting me outside her window.

Her blue sky, yellow wall, green grass, a color wheel. Rhythm my wheel: short words sweet sharp quick run down the page.
More elaborate vocabulary meanders darkening alleyways.

She has dozens of brushes, soft and coarse, wide and narrow that wait in old glass jars and plastic racks. Punctuation textures my lines. Exclamation points! Question paradox?

There she goes, steps back, moves from arm’s length to across the room: perspective. Later I step back, when words move from paper to computer screen, notebook page to printout. Those line

breaks. Fiddling with the final details until the work is done.

KEKinser
February 2012

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