Paintings

Mariana de Austria

How exciting it is to walk at night. I feel darkness envelop me, I am unseen. Like a hawk. A hunter. I experience the quality of darkness. It is a different dimension, a bizarre element.

Portrait of Mariana de Austria.
13.97” by 10.23” (35.5 cm by 26 cm).
Acrylic on paper, 2019.


Infanta Margarita Teresa

Today I realized that a belief I held as a six year old still guides my path: when people don’t love me the way I want them to, I leave. I thought it was a way to punish them, but I am the one who gets burnt.

Dear Life, let me be aware of the obstacles within me that block the flow of love and abundance. Help me relate to others more freely.

Infanta Margarita Teresa.
Acrylic on paper, 2019.
12” by 9.25” (30.5 cm by 23.5 cm).


Temple

Dear Life, show me how to navigate the changing waters so that I flow with ease. Help me find stillness and comfort in my heart. Let me see beauty in all conditions.

I am you. You are me. We are one. 

Temple.
Acrylic on panel.
42.24” by 42.24” (120 cm by 120 cm)


Portrait of Maria Anna

The woman behind the mask.


Portrait of Maria Anna.
12” by 9.25” (30.5 cm by 23.5 cm).
Acrylic on paper, 2019.


Juan Martínez Montañés

I once asked a bird, how is it that you fly in this gravity of darkness? She responded, ‘love lifts me.’
— Hafez

Juan Martínez Montañéz.
12” by 9.25” (30.5 cm by 23.5 cm).
Acrylic on paper, 2019.


Aesop

A lot of times maturing as an artist is just starting to do the things you like to do.
— John Currin

When I began this series, I had a hard time trusting what to paint. What seemed most familiar to me felt strange, too simple, not of this medium. As if it belonged to the world of ceramics, sculpture, or drawing. But I wanted to paint, so I continued. 

Now that I’ve made over 100 paintings, I realize that the most important part of creating a body of work is to trust that what I want to explore is worth doing so. No one else can show me the way, there are no rules or guidelines to follow. Only curiosity and inner hunches that say: paint that orange, bring the line closer to the edge, make it thick. That is all I had to follow, and now that the paintings have come to life, they exist in a world with its own set of rules. 

Aesop.
12” by 9.25” (30.5 cm by 23.5 cm).
Acrylic on paper, 2019.


Venus

Sex and sensuality. The best way to get enlightened. Especially when it catches you off guard, when you think you are a tree, a rigid frigid tree, and you discover you are a river. 

Venus at her Mirror.
12” by 9.25” (30.5 cm by 23.5 cm).
Acrylic on paper, 2019.


Christ on the Cross

There, deep as the jungle, as the vines as the roots. Sunken in the blackest soil. Under peat. Back where it all grows and tangles and twists. There, you find yourself. 

Christ on the Cross.
12” by 9.25” (30.5 cm by 23.5 cm).
Acrylic on paper, 2019.


Collective Series

I am the sum of experiences, thoughts and feelings that inhabit my being. I am every person I ever met. I am my country and all the places I’ve lived in. I am the landscape. I am the temple. I am the tools, the ships, the highways. I am the presence and the absence. I am the love for it all.

Collective Painting I
Acrylic on panel, 2019.
39.37 by 39.37” (100 cm by 100 cm).


Las Meninas

I’m learning to be a better listener. I grew up thinking it was my role to tell everyone what to do and how to do it. I thought I wouldn’t survive otherwise. Now it makes me inflexible and isolated and I am aware that it’s time to be another way. It’s hard, because part of me feels I’ll never be heard unless I give advice, but this year I am also learning to listen to myself and pay attention to how I feel. Now I don’t need others to hear me as much because I’m the one who needs to listen.

Las Meninas.
12” by 9.25” (30.5 cm by 23.5 cm).
Acrylic on paper, 2019.


The Coronation of the Virgin

When I began to paint, I didn’t know what to explore in this medium. As a jeweler, one of my first decisions was to make pieces that were wearable, and that helped me define what came next. On a white canvas, I could go anywhere, and this freedom was intimidating. I remained stuck for months. 

At first, I tried to paint what I saw, then what I imagined. I explored realism and figurative work, but felt freer with abstraction. I used paint as a way to express myself, but then gravitated towards drawing. I drew organic, then geometric shapes. Then I got lost in trying to integrate the background into the foreground. 

Finally, I decided to paint what I would normally make into jewelry. I realized that my emotions and inner reality are naturally expressed in each visual choice I make, no matter what medium I use. The subject is the vessel that contains who I am.

This series integrates what I previously explored in ceramics, jewelry and printmaking. It includes my love for primal shapes, folk art and textiles. By narrowing my focus, the doors opened to endless possibilities. 

The Coronation of the Virgin.
12” by 9.25” (30.5 cm by 23.5 cm).
Acrylic on paper, 2019.


Don Balthasar Carlos

An insect as royal as a prince.

Don Balthasar Carlos.
13.97” by 10.23” (35.5 cm by 26 cm).
Acrylic on paper, 2019.


Portrait of a Lady

I live a few blocks from The Frida Kahlo Museum. Every day there are lines of people from all around the world waiting to visit her blue house. The last time I entered was in high school, over 25 years ago, but whenever I walk by her windows, I feel her presence and imagine her when she was alive. I see her walking out her front door wearing her colorful mexican textiles and layers of silver jewelry. Her home feels like an oasis in the city, a small island where a woman could paint what she felt, where she could process and express the challenges life brought her way. Now her home is a temple, a reminder that we can embrace the pain and joy of being human and transform it into something beautiful. 

Portrait of a Lady.
13.97” by 10.23” (35.5 cm by 26 cm).
Acrylic on paper, 2019.


Velázquez Series

On weekends I visit a park called Los Viveros de Coyoacán. At the heart is a tree nursery, surrounded by a 1.5 mile track filled with people, young and old. When I join them, I feel I enter the river of life. We all move at our own pace: some run, others hobble, a few push stollers down the gravel path. I feel exhilerated as I walk and observe those around me, we all seem so different, yet so alike in our humanity. We all know love, joy, sorrow and discovery. We all have to let go of so much during our lifetime, and we can all connect to the beauty of each moment. This is how I feel as I rejoin you here after many months of introspection. 

My life used to be all about work and productivity, my sense of worth was based on it, but much has changed this year, and today I feel blessed just to be here, with the warm Spring air on my skin, as I look at the birds through my window. I now paint, and I enjoy it immensely, but what I value most is that I feel alive. 

I hope that one day I can describe in words what I experienced this year, but for now I offer my art as a visual diary. It’s the best way I’ve found to express who I am. 

My paintings are inspired by the past; from textiles, sculptures and buildings created by ancient cultures. Like them, I am attracted to all that inhabits this earth, but more so to our experience of life, and how it translates into symbols within our subconscious.

For this series, I used antique art books as a canvas. I painted lightly over the printed image, leaving it visible enough to contrast with my drawings. The first series I will show you, was made on a book of paintings by the 17th century Spanish artist, Diego Velázquez. I named each piece with the title of his original painting. There are more to come.

Paintings from top to bottom, left to right:
Philip IV as a Hunter; Master of the Hunt; The Forge of Vulcan; Portrait of a Man; Portrait of Philip IV; Christ in the House of Martha; The Triumph of Bacchus.

All are 12” by 9.25” (30.5 cm by 23.5 cm).
Acrylic on paper, 2019.


A New Path

I have just completed my first painting commission. 

I've wanted to paint for as long as I can remember. In fact, I wanted it so much, that I denied myself the pleasure of following that path. I was so afraid to fail or succeed, that I decided I would never be good enough, so why even try. Making jewelry felt less daunting so I chose to explore that instead.

Lately, however, I’ve been wanting to work in a larger format. Such is the power of my mind, that the moment I admitted this to myself, I received a commission to make a big painting. My angel patron liked the one in my home, but gave me full liberty to create what I wanted. She also gave me a video tour of her house, so I could see where the painting was going to live.

Years ago, when I was in college, I had to decide a theme for my thesis. I majored in ceramic sculpture, and in order to graduate, I had to show a large body of work in the campus art gallery. I planned to make variations of abstracted heads I had worked on in the past, but my sculpture teacher suggested I experiment, since that was why I was in college in the first place.

One evening, I started to doodle. As my hand held the pen, I felt it move it across the page as if by its own volition. Specific shapes started to appear, none of which I had made before. I allowed this to continue, and several hours later, my notebook was filled with geometric symbols. I was in awe of this process, because for the first time I felt that these shapes had not come from my rational mind, nor had I seen them in books, they had come from deep within my imagination. As I later made them into clay sculptures for my exhibit, I felt that one day they would also appear in another medium.

By the time I turned 40, I had stopped making sculptures and was a full time jeweler. I loved my work, and would have never tried a different medium, had it not been for an large antique frame that I purchased for a mirror in my jewelry store. The frame had not fit the shop, so for months, it leaned against our living room bookshelf, and was always in our way. One day, my partner said, why don’t you hang it on the wall and make a painting? I agreed, because the frame alone would have looked sad, and I wanted to keep it.

As I sketched ideas, the symbols from college re-appeared. I quickly painted them on the wall, exited to see what they would look like in a large format. When I looked at the finished mural, I was in awe of how simple, yet powerful it was. Each symbol seemed to have multiple meanings, and the more I observed it, the more centered I felt. I knew that this was the door to my path as a painter.

The next day, my inner critics attacked with full force and I believed every word they said: you are not good enough, who will ever want this?, you will never be part of the art world, men are artists, not women, etc, etc. Discouraged, I soon stopped painting and continued to make jewelry.

To end a long story, I want to say that today, at the age of 44, I re-open the door to my path as a painter. I now believe that we are meant to do what we imagine and desire in our hearts. If we no longer pay attention to the excuses that stop us from doing what we love, we can open our minds to the possibilities that will allow it to happen.