Saturday, January 24, 2009

Virtual Mexico

One way to deal with the oppressive winter here in Maine is to "visit" Mexico via painting spots and ideas experienced there during my fall visit. You'd be surprised how refreshing this is. So I offer a couple more paintings I had "backlogged" which I recently finished.

Dio des Muertes
Oil on Canvas 16" X 20"


The Day of the Dead is the most vibrant holidays of the many Mexico, and some other countries,enjoy. Here the living celebrate the lives of the dead--friends, relatives and just about everyone else. The people troop to the cemeteries where they decorate graves and party with food and drink enjoyed by the departed. In the city are elaborate floral altars and people parade around dressed in skeleton costumes and dance to music supplied by bands whose outputs mix with one another in an aural chaos that has to be heard to be believed. The church, which normally has an outlook on death that is pretty grave, gets involved, too. I see this as a time when traditions of all kinds come together whether or not they contradict and to properly show it, the contradictions have to be expressed. Hence this painting with the church lit up like a Cristmas tree, pennants and flags flying overhead, and apparition-like folk wandering about.


Atotonilco Churchyard
Oil on Canvas 18" X 24"


If you follow these blogs you'll remember that when I go to Mexico, I get together with Frank Gardner to paint. This day in October Frank took me to Atotonilco, a small town outside San Miguel. It is noted for this church which is visited by pilgrims from all over the country. Of particular interest to us is the church interior which is completely decorated with paintings done by a priest who devoted his life to the work. Most views of the church and other buildings in the complex are seen from the front. However, I thought this scene of the rear of the buildings and the ancient stone wall with its arches told a different story. It was high noon then, but I pushed the colors which were all over the palette making for a complex picture, for me at least.

10 comments:

Christine Mercer-Vernon said...

beautiful paintings jack. i really like how colorful your paintings are becoming.

Jack Riddle said...

Christine--thanks for the nice comment. When it comes to color I'll go for it every time. I realize I sacrifice some subtlety, but it's what I want. Perhaps when I get "older," I'll calm down a bit!

Dan Corey said...

This has so much life, and yes its an oppresive winter to put it mildly. Thanks for the color, it warmed my morning. Dan

Barbara Pask said...

Hi there Jack. Very nice paintings, I love the colors in these. Sounds like your trip to Mexico was so great, you'll be painting from reference photos for years I would imagine.

Jack Riddle said...

Dan--glad I could "help." BNTW I love the work shown on your blog. I was up your way once to visit friends in Pemaquid and got one good piece out of it. Must do more. Let's stay in touch.

Jack Riddle said...

Barb--nice to hear from you again. Mexico does continue to inspire. In fact, I've done two more paintings since these which I will post eventually. But I'm starting to add to my USA "repertoire" too. I'll try to be more active with my blog than I have been of late.

Frank Gardner said...

Hey Jack, It is nice to see some new stuff.
The Dia de los Muertos piece is pretty cool.

You know I love the church in Atotonilco, from any angle. Good job. The foreground looks as clean as I have ever seen it. Ha ha.

Jack Riddle said...

Hey Frank--thanks for correcting my Mexican title for the Dia de los Muertos painting. I have to tell you that the day after that we went to the cemetery (behind San Antonio) and were blown away by the Rose Bowl type floral displays there. More contradictions about this strange holiday...
Yeah--I tidied up the backyard of the S.A. church a bit. I wanted more color as my photo which you'll remember was taken around noon was all washed out. Next time I'll take my box there and do it live to see if I can catch the dry, dusty feel of the place a little better. BTW my family did give me an Easy L for Christmas--11 X 14--can't wait to begin using it!

FCP said...

Hi Jack,
I love your idea of "visiting" Mexico in painting. Rumor has it that spring is on the way!
happy painting,
faye

Jack Riddle said...

Faye--thanks for visiting. I imagine spring is on its way, once we get past the foot of snow expected tonight and tomorrow!