Lately, I have found myself thinking about how art was brought into my life. What were the main influences, the key determinants, of the artist I nurture in my soul, and who executes her art with my body? Who were, and still are, the key actors in this personal performance that is my life? Like opening Pandora’s box, once we start looking into each step that brought each of us to the present day, it is hard to find those key players -- but today, I will start. Thanks for reading…
The child I once was wanted to draw cartoons, comics. I copied Disney characters and I had my own furry dog character that I would draw in various settings, ready for its comic strip. I also secretly dreamed of becoming a piano player, or a solo singer of jazz and, later, rock. My intense daydreaming happened in Argentina, but my conservative parents managed to dissuade me from thinking about art as a career option. I was ashamed to even think about these visions, let alone share them with anybody… An unexpected effect since both my parents were highly creative and crafty -- my Dad had even been a drum player in a jazz band before he got married to my Mom… Being curious about and in love with math, I decided to pursue a scientific career, which was revolutionary for my family. However, I always knew science was not “my call”, my true love: From the very beginning, I disliked working hands-on in the lab. I enjoyed the theory and, of course, the algebra. I loved the beauty of the scientific thought and its method, but not as the basis for my career. Thus, I looked upon my early scientific life tentatively– secretly I knew that my heart was somewhere else.
When I moved to the USA, my life became more introspective, akin to the experience of a retreat, where the lack of family gatherings and other intense social routines allowed me more time to explore what it was that I really wanted to achieve next. I noticed I was spending more and more time at the art stores near my house. I craved the smell and touch of the oil paint on the artworks I visited frequently at the Museum of Fine Arts and the Fogg Museum (now Harvard Art Museum). A watercolor kit (and some timid attempts at painting later) helped me realize I still wanted to draw and add color to my, then, rudimentary creations. While I continued to develop my scientific career, the germ of my passion for the visual arts stood the test, continued to grow, and bloomed. Having a certain bias towards academic knowledge, yet unable to afford a (second) college experience, both financially and realistically, I joined the best classes I had access to in adult education centers. I was privileged to have the amazing instructors at the Brookline Center of Adult Education and the Studio School at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education (CCAE). Drawing and painting paper bags, nudes, still lifes, and portraits, peering further into perceptual drawing, and color theory, my basic art training was set to a great start.
Without the rigor of formal, full-time academic training, I was extremely fortunate to meet amazing teachers who were talented artists generous enough to share their passion and skills with their students. Additionally, I felt privileged with the opportunity offered to me during my CCAE days: the chance to investigate the Studio School’s library and be exposed to such a variety of artists on those invaluable bookshelves. We spent hours going through those stunning art books, those heavy holders of beauty, horror, texture, color, exploration, and magic. Through those pages, through the fabulous faculty’s input, and my proximity to the fantastic Fogg museum, I was able to explore the beauty and the intriguing images of artwork by Bonnard, Rothko, Kandinsky, Lucian Freud, O’ Keefe, Susan Rothenberg, Morandi, Max Beckman, Antoni Tapies, and the like. Those are some of the artists who remain in my thoughts over the years since. Each of them made a mark on my psyche and impacted my art practice: the texture, the abstraction, the bold palette, their minimalism, and passion helped me with my own art explorations.
The beginning of my art journey had an abundance of apples, pears, tablecloths, roses, and nude models in the adult centers’ studios. Very quickly and instinctively, however, I began to zoom into my models. I looked for smaller, more focused sections of my subject, and my attention went into the corners and crevices of my subjects. But more on that in future posts about my art journey, and about when I started to turn inwardly in my painting.
Before you go: If you have not watched my recent interview at the SoWa Artists Guild Facebook LIVE event, you can watch it here. Enjoy!
Image: “The Pear”, oil on canvas, 10 x 8 inches; the original is not for sale but I am currently offering high quality giclée prints reproducing this and a few of my early representational or semi-abstract pieces from those days when I scrutinized a pear for hours to be able to capture its essence, its beauty and personality, and translate it onto my canvas. Please go to Facebook or Instagram to see this offer, or contact me. If you are interested in any of my paintings or have questions, please contact me here.