I have alway been artistic, although it took me a long time to accept calling myself an artist. I think my mind blocked it because I am not formally trained. However, as the years passed, and I made a living using my artistic skills, it was easier to accept that term.
Living in Tortuguero, Costa Rica gave me an abundant source of subjects to choose from. Every day, I would see vibrantly dressed flowers, birds and butterflies. I could never quite capture the variations of hues and tones that were my world.
It took me a while to actually try my hand at painting. I felt I didn’t understand color, and rightly so, with the palette of so many shades out my door. Just the greens were daunting, and if it rained? Shoot, the whole thing changed again. But try, I did. I bought books, I practiced, and if I met a tourist who was an artist, I would trade things from my shop for an art lesson. I made my way, and little by little become more comfortable in color.
Now I am living close to Trenton, and my surrounds have changed drastically. My style uses strong vibrant colors in acrylic. My eyes now have a new feast set in front of me of a more urban setting. So different, yet color is everywhere. One of the things that I can not get enough of are the beautiful garments of women gathering around the steps of their West African church. Or the saris worn by women from India. It’s not surprising that my art style is now veering to incorporate this into my art form…take the painting I am working on now. It is of a Black woman standing in the jungle with the lush tropical flora behind her. She is purple at the moment, graceful and long, wrapped in a sarong of geometric African patterns. Her lips will be pink, full and succulent, and mistaken for a flower by a hummingbird who comes to drink her sweet nectar from her lips. She is one with nature and her inner beauty shines.
My goal is to merge my two surroundings together in a new flavor of two jungles; the natural and the concrete. In my short time that I have lived in this area, I have met so many talented and gifted people. Ideas are swirling in my mind and I start to “see” what I will paint, way before I start. It is an exciting process, and I am blessed to be on this journey of learning and exploring.
Last night, as I was driving home after a Hispanic fund raising event, I thought about how happy I am living here. It was not an easy adjustment from where I came, but I can now say that I am content with my surroundings and all that it has to teach me.