Sunday, July 17, 2011

Getting the rhythm

This video clip of my friends, extraordinary guitarists Gil Gutierrez and Jaime Valle
feeling the rhythm was filmed at The Restaurant in San Miguel de Allende.

After an intense travel schedule this year it's great to be home in San Miguel de Allende. When creating it is so important to find the right rhythm. I've enjoyed settling into the studio this week and soaking up some of the local color. As you can imagine the hues and textures of our town give breath to my work.

When the first rooster crows I put on my running shoes and go for an early jog to clear my head and absorb the sounds of the city, colors of nature and unparalleled quality of light.

Often unexpected juxtapositions take me by surprise and these ideas find their way into my work.

This is followed by a strong cup of coffee, latin jazz and solitude so I can focus and get into the painting zone. I work to build an uninterrupted rhythm in my studio from early morning to late afternoon. I like to take short breaks to clear my head. My favorite technique to stay fresh is to play my guitar beside a fountain we built outside. The sound of the water and music does the trick.

I wanted to introduce you to my 9 year old son Santiago who is my most important critic. Working on children's books it's essential to make sure you are speaking the right language and he keeps me on track. It's a gift to spend time with him and I like to see things through his eyes.

Here he is in his pajamas with the donkeys across the street. Down the hill they come early each morning with the campensinos bringing firewood and sacks of dirt into town.

Santi is testing out the Lucha Libre wrestler costume created by his grandmother. I am so inspired by the children I meet as their imaginations really give wings to things we take for granted.

Santiago gives me valuable feedback as my books develop and I like to see how he responds to certain characters or icons on the pages I paint. If you pay attention you can really see where his eyes go first and next.

Then I wander down the hill to get inspired by sketching and shooting photos of textures and colors for the next day.

As an artist I've learned to surround myself with the things that I'm passionate about. This can be as simple as putting up images that resonate for you or playing good music in your studio.

To look for clues that make you tick, or listen to that voice inside your head-to really make time to listen.

It's about not making excuses or letting resistance keep you from the things you want to do. When I sense obstacles or blocks I return to my sketchbook and just keep drawing.

You have to work to craft the space in your head needed to create. To realize how important it is to find the rhythm and to search for it wherever you go.

I'm currently painting spreads for a new children's book My Name is Tito
and feeling the beat.

1 comment:

Lauren43 said...

Beautiful work! I am an English Language Learner Instructional Assistant at an elementary school in Kent, Washington. I have been searching for the artist of the "One World, Many Stories" art work that I found on line. I would love to see about buying some of the posters, like the elephant reading for instance. The colors are so wonderful, and nothing our school has ever had. If it is possible, please let me know. Thank you! Lauren Paz