Friday, February 13, 2009


Here in Mazatlan, there has been a large migration of retirees coming to Mexico, buying houses or condos, doing the decorating thing, etc. Recently a couple from Vancouver stopped by my studio and asked me to make a colorful piece for their new condo. "What do you like?" I asked them. They mentioned a large mural at a local coffee shop, showing a jungly green scene with a woman (and her baby) picking coffee beans. So I took a pic of it (above), printed it out and looked at it for days and days, wondering how I was going to interpret that. I had little experience painting whole cloth, so I decided to try it, thickening my dyes. I wanted to also outline with black and then fill in the color, but didn't know in which order to do it - outline first, or put down swaths of color first with the outlining later. The latter is what worked best for me and I practiced on a few pieces. They were quite "elementary" (I refer to it as my kindergarten art skills) but I liked the composition so decided to continue with the idea of presenting one of these to the Vancouver couple as the foundation of what I would do for them. Then I showed it to a friend and her quick comment was, of course...Rico's coffee shop! I felt I needed to make it my own, rather than a "copy" of the coffee shop scene. So to make a proposal to the Vanc. couple, I showed them 2 things: 1)the practice piece that I wide-bordered with darks and then pulled out elements within the picture to applique in the border,or 2) the same woman (made out of hand-dyes) appliqued onto black.I like them both very much and both are "new" for me. I feel #1 borders on copying, but I truly worked hard to make it my own (inspired!) but #2 is definitely mine.Maybe the fine line between copying and inspiration is a time delay of how long it takes someone to say..."that reminds me of...." I don't know...maybe you have thoughts on this. I titled the pieces "Multi-tasking 1 and 2" as they show a woman and her busy life....carrying her baby, holding a bowl of something, balancing birds and other items on her head...sounds familiar, yes?

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