So I set out for Mexico and a week of study with my mentor with some goals in mind. I wanted to experience the freedom and passion that I have found Mexico values in its art. Here in the USA, people get so excited about very realistic paintings that look like a camera produced them, but in fact, a painter did. In Mexico, their feelings about such work are different; they would see these hyper-real renderings and ask — and I quote one of my teachers from long ago here — “Why? What does that tell me? Nothing. Yes, someone had talent, but where is the creativity? The passion? How does this artist feel about the subject?”
So as an artist who highly values putting images through the filter that is me, creating something that says a lot about how I feel about a subject and experiencing the magic of recording my feelings on canvas, I get so excited about studying in Mexico.
I’ve been back for a week now, painting in my studio, and I am reminded of the lessons daily. It becomes not so much about my work as about my life. “On Mexican time” is a famous saying. It doesn’t just mean being late; it means enjoying life, slowing down and absorbing more. It means stopping the glorification of busy and looking people in the eye and caring that you did. It means not sweating the small stuff and becoming so obsessed with the “shoulds.” It turns out this freedom and passion I see recorded on canvas by Mexican artists comes to them through a lifestyle. It’s not something that you can apply only to your art, and I am reminded that art really is a reflection of life, the soul, the heartbeat, if you will.
As I move forward in my work, it cannot be avoided that I must also move forward as a person. With April around the corner, I’m going to truly focus on truly smelling the roses.
Cheers to art and lessons learned on the road!
For additional Mexico-inspired images, visit Stephanie’s Facebook page.