Who knew that coming home from a month’s stay in San Miguel de Allende would pose such an artistic challenge for me. As I mentioned in my previous post from Mexico, my personal goal for traveling to San Miguel was to gather creative inpiration from a city that is touted as the Santa fe of Mexico for being a creative mecca that is diverse and multi-cultural. I could not have anticipated just how stimulating and magical this cobble stone, colonial town would be. Encompassing both the urban and rural, this Latin American/colonial environment teeters between the old and the new on a multitude of levels. The starkly contrasting high tech and primitive infrastructure leaves one both frustrated and enchanted. The realities of classism, wealth and poverty co-existing within every nook and cranny of the center of town presents a visual that is both blatant and alarming. My senses were brimming with images evoking emotions that were often in the same moment heart wrenching and heartwarming .
Simply put, San Miguel touched my heart. It’s old and imperfect beauty kept me constantly looking about as Steve and I walked the famous cobblestone streets on a daily basis for one month. We experienced a thousand beautiful moments that included inner homes and secret gardens behind store fronts, rooftop restaurants and bars, fresh tortillas, daily avocado and papaya, cakes, cookies and flan to be eaten on every street corner to name just a few. Creativity and artistry was obviously flourishing and abundant on every level. Both primitive, native crafts and sophisticated fine art spilled out onto the streets everywhere. Architectural design, textures, tastes, smells, sounds, and instantaneous and unexpected celebration teased our senses endlessly. And then, there were the people.
There were many unexpected kindnesses that we experienced from both local and expat folks alike. There was an unguarded, authentic quality to many of those that graced our time in San Miguel. We met and spent time with folks that made us feel like we belonged and that we perhaps knew them previously in a different time and place. Already, just two weeks home, I miss San Miguel and feel a draw to return. Karen, Sally and Mike, your hospitality and thoughtfulness made our trip so sweet and added to our fun immensely. I have a feeling we will be friends for a very long time.
I took a few thousand pictures and I have struggled with how to present them. The creativity and visual stimulation that I experienced in Mexico has indeed inspired and inspirited my imagination. An inner confidence to move beyond the lines, and color where I please, has been invigorated. Now, how to respond to this moment and express myself properly?
When we returned to Oregon the last leg of our trip was a drive from Portland to Bandon. As we made our way through Coos Bay it was pouring buckets of rain. At one point, I noticed the dancing of color through raindrops dripping in front of me. The sparkle captured my childlike attention so I began taking pictures of street lights through the windshield. After several shots I stopped to scroll through some of the photos I took and became mesmerized. The colorful images immediately flooded my mind with the memory of ubiquitous, paper lanterns hanging from the narrow street tops of San Miguel. My imagination was off and running. So while I have many photos of our experience to share, the first installation (not including the bird story in my last blog post), will be this one that has been rumbling around in my heart and mind since our rainy drive home.
Lanterns and Lights: The artistic renditions here reflect a convergence of sights, memories and emotions that I experienced as we drove through Coos Bay on the way home from a remarkable month in Mexico. Subject repetition, coupled with the blurred and bleeding usage of form and color reflect my dreamlike state as I attempt to transition from one world to another.
Again and again I find that my own inner counselor, my secret dreaming self, is not only wise and helpful but usually amusing as well.
~ Sheldon Kopp, The Hanged Man
Active imagination requires a state of reverie, half-way between sleep and waking.
~ Carl Jung
Through dreams a door is opened to mythology, since myths are of the nature of dreams, and that, as dreams arise from an inward world unknown to waking consciousness, so do myths: so, indeed, does life.
~ Joseph Campbell
Lastly, I would be remiss in not acknowledging those family and friends that gathered around us with love upon our return from Mexico. We met with those from Steve’s family and mine prior to our trip and at the end for the new year as well. And upon returning to the motel, it became apparent that our La Kris Inn family went above and beyond in caring for our business. Without them, trips such as these are impossible for us. Our hearts are full. Family and friends, new and old remind us of what is important. Additionally, I treasure those of you that follow me here and support and encourage me in my artistic endeavors. It means so much.
Happy new year and may yours be filled with a thousand beautiful moments and more.
~ With gratitude ~ Susan