This year we all went to Mexico
to see some familiar faces, and meet a few new ones. As with last
year, there were some exceptional painters in the group. It was
amazing to see them all work, and see what people brought home
at the end of the day. It's wonderful to share stories and ideas
about painting with the other guys, and talk shop about some of
the practical aspects of painting on site. Sometimes I would walk
through the main hall, where we all leaned our paintings at the
end of the day, and stumble into a fascinating discussion of composition,
or creating light through color temperature, or brushwork, or perspective.
There was an energy in the group that made us all want to go out
and paint our best.
Frank Gardner did an incredible job of putting this trip together.
He found us an amazing home to stay in, and made sure we saw the
best parts of his home town. I spent half my time painting in town,
and the other half painting the beautiful countryside. Part of
the experience of this trip was just being with the other guys,
and laughing together. We all had a great time riding horses one
morning. Every night we had a wonderful dinner and sat around the
living room taking turns playing pool, looking through art books,
and showing each other our favorite artist's websites.
Painting in Mexico was a whole new experience for me. I really
struggled the first few days. The colors everywhere were new for
me to paint.The streets in town rise and fall across a steep hillside,
and threw off any simple ideas on perspective. I couldn't rely
on my old tricks, and had to really look hard and pay attention
to what I was doing. I was amazed at what the other painters were
doing with the landscape, and had to find my own way to capture
the light and color of San Miguel. Once I started finding my way
in painting the town, I felt like I was getting very familiar with
this foreign place. The town became close to me by spending so
much time walking the streets looking for a painting, and then
standing on a street corner for hours while I worked. The people
in town were welcoming, and the authentic beauty begged to be painted.
I loved being with such a great group of guys,
a great group of painters, in a lovely town, and eating such delicious
food at every meal! —Colin Page