Surprise! It’s nearly February.
Anyone who knows me knows I am addicted to Pinterest (follow me here: https://www.pinterest.com/marycatherinex/), and something that pops up quite a lot that I always think I’m going to try are month-long photo challenges; just taking a photo every day for a month of the given theme. So, if like me one of your resolutions for 2015 was to be more creative (and if like me, yours hasn’t really taken off yet) maybe this will help – I decided to start by designing my own challenge.
(I’m certainly no graphic designer)
(I made a signature as well)
Guanajuato was at the top of my list of places to go in Mexico, and this weekend I got to see it! My photos don’t even come close to doing justice to this amazing city – I’d heard it was one of the prettiest in Mexico, but I’m certain it’s one of the prettiest in the world.
As well as Guanajuato I went to Morelia, San Miguel de Allende and Queretaro to celebrate Mexican Independence Day (September 16th). The highlight of this day is “El Grito (de Dolores)”; again, it’s hard to put across what exactly goes on, but I’ll do my best.
Hundreds, probably thousands of people are gathered wherever they choose to gather, in San Miguel de Allende we were out in the square in the centre of town. There are Mexican flags flying wherever you look. Towering above the crowd are interesting sculptures; it’s not immediately obvious what they are or what they’re made of but we’ll soon find out…
Then for “el grito”. El Grito was first uttered in the town of Dolores on September 16th, 1810 by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, marking the beginning of the war of independence. Last weekend, in towns all over the country, El Grito was recited over a loud speaker, with the crowd responding to each line with, “Viva(n)!”
¡Vivan los héroes que nos dieron la patria y libertad!
¡Viva Josefa Ortíz de Dominguez!
¡Viva Galeana y los Bravo!
¡Viva Aldama y Matamoros!
¡Viva la Independencia Nacional!
…Followed by fireworks. A lot of fireworks. That’s what the sculptures in the crowd are made of (it was quite scary when they were lit!) It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Just amazing.
Over the summer I got a little bit back into painting, but I forgot to pack pencils/paints/brushes to bring with me to Mexico and, since realising I had no materials to work with, all I’ve wanted to do is art. I really miss 6th form, spending hours in the studio with some close friends working on sketchbooks and huge canvasses. Although at the time, I often resented having to do so much coursework which would inevitably be criticised for reasons I didn’t understand, I seriously miss being given time to dedicate to art, having the materials all there for me, being inspired by my classmates and having a specification to build on; I even miss the input of my teachers. A lot.
They introduced me to some great artists (at the time I hated having to do artist studies, but now I miss that, too!) There are a few who even now make me really want to paint. My favourite of all time, working in my favourite style, is Leonid Afremov.
Since doing a project on impasto (thick paint) using only one layer feels like I may as well not be painting at all. Afremov doesn’t use brushes, only palette knives, and although I quite like my brushes, I like the freedom that comes with not having to be too precise, the emphasis on colour and texture as well as the subject matter – to me it’s more expressive and a lot more fun. That said, I like detail, and he produces that, too.
I just found out today whilst writing this post that Afremov is currently living in Mexico – I will definitely visit his studio and probably spend an unreasonable amount of money on his paintings!
I haven’t done one since sixth form, but I like portraits. I don’t think I’m very good at them (I was alright when I was doing them all the time – maybe I can get up to speed again) and I’ve never done one in thick paint. Time to experiment (:
The artist who made me want to do portraits is David Hancock. It took me forever to remember his name when I was thinking about this post and I’m so glad I did. I’d like to meet this guy. He’s based in Manchester so perhaps it’s a possibility. I learned through studying his work that he’s a Bright Eyes fan as well as an amazing artist so I feel some sort of affiliation with him (we’re few and far between!) But yes, mostly his art. He paints people I can relate to, especially when I was younger, his style is overall one I can connect with.
I also miss life drawing. Being at school made it easy, but now that I’ve left I’ve got more ideas about how to draw and paint figures, but no one to draw!
Finally, photoshop. I miss photoshop. Not for making photos look better, but for making them look so different that they are works of art in themselves (another thing I firmly disagreed with in school and now want to dedicate entire sketchbooks to).