My first week in Oaxaca was a week of adjustments. I ran all week resourcing art stores and getting familiarized with the art supplies that I use for my work. Even though I brought as much as I could from home, I found myself needing more materials that I anticipated. Last week was also about finding a local market for fruits & veggies, a supermarket for other needs, a gym to keep my body & mind healthy and of course planning what the next 5 weeks will look like.
An outdoor gym with birds, lots of sunshine and a great instructor 4 blocks away from my place.
In order to collaborate with other artisans, I need to carefully plan my work so they can work on their craft. This type of collaboration requires a lot of planning and a clear vision of how the end product will look like. Since each woman artisan dedicates so much time on her hand made craft, I try not to make mistakes so she doesn’t have to re-do her work. For the past year and a half that we have worked long-distance, things have gone smoothly and just a few pieces had to be done again. This time, things are different because I am here to monitor the work and if things don’t work, then we can find the solutions faster. The first week, I carefully planned hand-made pieces for the artisans and passed them on to them so they could start working. I spent nights in bed reviewing my vision to make sure that I didn’t omit anything or didn’t make a mistake. By the end of the week, I was sleep deprived and exhausted but very excited!
The rooftop of my apartment has this beautiful view and lots of fresh air. It is the perfect place to create.
This second week was a bit better in terms of getting some sleep and understanding that whatever results I get to accomplish in this 6 week-period, it is fine! The goal of this trip was to get to be here, be inspired, get comfortable in the city, get to know more artisans and enjoy the journey. I realized that I have the time to accomplish a few goals that I set to myself and trust that the artisans will do their part on time. Once I passed on the work to them, I started to paint too. Well, that was also a bit challenging. The weather here is very hot and the materials dry quicker than I am used to.
A white canvas ready to be painted after I had to order the frame, get the fabric, get the gesso and applied it myself.
Actually, all my art supplies were acting out this week and I had to tackle this issue. Since I don’t know most of the brands that sell here, every time I open a tube of paint it is a surprise. I am also painting in my beautiful one room studio, with no easel nor a big table, so I find myself painting on the floor of my apartment, on the roof top, and even holding my canvases on my lap. One day I painted the whole day on the floor. No wonder the following day my back and knees were in pain. When I recovered from the pain, I breathed deeply and found the strength inside to know that I am an experienced artist and I can deal with being uncomfortable or challenged. Also this week, I moved back and forth from trying new techniques to going back to the old ones, where I found more comfort.
By the end of the second week, I am filling optimistic and happy with all the colors and forms that are pilling up in my apartment!
I am also attending painting classes at the Taller Rufino Tamayo with Rosa Vallejos, a local artist, and on Saturdays I take another class where Jorge Vidals, a local artist, is teaching me the encaustic technic.
Rosa Vallejos and Jorge Vidals, both local working artists in Oaxaca.
I also discovered a great organic market 5 blocks away where there are like 8 different booths with local restaurants and coffee shops. I decided to try a new one each day. So far, all of them have been great!
Today is Mother’s Day in Canada, and of course I feel very emotional not to be around my sons. It is the first Mother’s day without them in 21 years!. A lot of tears this morning as I read my sons messages… They have been wonderful and supportive with my decision to spend time here. I couldn’t be doing this experience without the understanding and support of my husband, my sons and my friends. I love you all a lot! "The stories you believe to be true are the ones your life will become" with love, Jazmin