I arrived tired, and in many ways spent…artistically and otherwise. Rather than give myself time to acclimate to my new surroundings, I jumped right in, sketching one charming scene after another.
Too charming it turned out. Everything I did looked like a cliche, disturbingly pretty and sweet. The colorful buildings; the deep doorways framed with flowers; the sloping perspectives. San Miguel de Allende was picture postcard perfect. What does it say that this left me feeling discouraged and creatively frozen? I simply couldn’t bring myself to paint yet another version of the iconic pink cathedral situated on the edge of the town square.
Beauty doesn’t need another advocate.
Desperation set in. Is the quintessential traveling artist allowed to stall out? Maybe I’m a phony. I limited myself to black and white for a while, moving further in the direction of abstraction and interpretation. That helped. I set out to render the entire block of Estrelitta Street (a view you can’t possibly see without me) and having a larger mission helped-despite having to get “small” with particulars.
Eventually, I regained my artistic footing. Color returned and my sense of confidence. Ironically, I got a commission to draw the most iconic view of the entire city. But by then, I knew I could make it mine.