Discovering Mexico

Bacalar lagoon (Mexico)

In January, I fled the gray skies of Paris and made my way to Mexico for 2 glorious weeks of sunshine, swimming, lagoons and jungle. It was my first visit to this oh-so- colorful country. I traveled with acrylics this time, as I was worried about trying to locate turpentine for my oils. The Yucatan region provided much inspiration. My palette mostly consisted of lavish shades of turquoise to capture the sea. 

One day on Playa Mia my boyfriend pulled out the book he was reading (Anais Nin no less!) and there was my subject. I loved painting him lost in his book. Ok, maybe the sun moved and was in his eyes and my eyes and we had to relocate mid painting…but it was still a lovely experience to capture him reading in this beautiful setting. 

There is such an immediacy about plein air painting. Sometimes the challenges become a stepping stone to discovery. One day, I was unable to find just the right spot: no shade, too many people, no focal point. Frustrated, I decided to give up and have a Mexican beer instead at a charming beach bar called Coconuts. Seated across from my boyfriend, I said, “Oh I can paint your portrait here!” I grabbed my supplies only to realize I had forgotten my paints, except for fluorescent pink and white. Not to be deterred, I grabbed my brushes and attempted to find the lights and darks of my very limited palette. The resulting pink portrait was really a fun experience that I plan to do more of soon. 

I spent a few days in Bacalar which is on the “Lagoon of Seven Colors” aptly named thanks to its blue and turquoise hues. One day I found a quiet bank at El Encanto that was dotted with thatched huts and steps into the lagoon. The covering was perfect as it started to rain a bit. I managed to paint the mandrakes, the lagoon and its gorgeous shades before taking a rainy swim.  

Back in the studio I put together this montage of some of the paintings I made. I liked the effect of grouping them as a whole. Each one is connected to the other in color mixtures and in memories. 

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