Summary of Mexico
Another teaching session has been completed in beautiful city of Mexico, San Miguel de Allende. Means that a new location and new adventures to me. It was such a treat, and I am returning back with many good memories.
This workshop/tour has been organized by School of Botanical Art and Illustrations, Denver Botanic Gardens. Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski, head of the school, had invited me to teach for this year event at Mexico. I immediately said yes. Not only because I know how successful the School is and their workshops and tours are mostly amazing, but also here we were talking about Mexico! A place I have never been so far (shame!) and I always heard good things about Mexico, land, people, culture. A country is extraordinarily alive! And from my first moment till the last I felt that. Country is alive, active, everyone is smiling, everyone seems happy(!), and it is generally inevitable that you fell happy with in such community.
I travelled Mexico earlier than the date of our workshop, to see a bit more of the country. If I am going to a new location to work, I do like to take some days before or after the work to see more, to feel more that new place. I had some chance to visit Mexico City, and Yucatan Peninsula. I am not going to tell you about my memories apart from work, but basically it was wonderful, my first observation about this country is that its active positive energy!! My biggest interest is actually Oaxaca region, but I didn’t have enough time, nor energy to go to Oaxaca. This is for the next time hopefully. After being to some amazing destinations and meeting beautiful people, then it was time to work, so I headed to San Miguel de Allende.
San Miguel de Allende, a beautiful city was designated as a Unesco World Heritage. A wonderful city with all its murals, festivals, music, history and people are always smiling, and yes massive amounts of churches and chapels. This city is even more alive than the other parts I have visited. There are constant parties going on in the entire city with massive fireworks starts with the sunrise.
I head directly to the ‘Posada Corazon’ where we were going to stay, eat, work and enjoy beautiful atmosphere that is created by Rocio and Cesar, owners, in many years. Here, most of the houses are looking like just a wall from outside, but when you enter from the door of the wall, you are entering a yard which you can call basically a heaven.
After arriving to the heaven, everyone was ready for such a treat, includes many days of painting plants from Mexico, and many other days visiting the area and surrounding with our expertise guide Alberto.
My first morning started with a bit of excitement. I woke up very early and as soon as I stood up, I have bitten by a scorpion! And damn it was painful! It bit my foot, and it started immediately swollen. The pain I had, I can’t describe. Lady who was preparing our breakfast, came to my room with a garlic : ) and put it where it was bitten. I love garlic, a medicine for everything, even vampires can’t deal with it! Well, in the end scorpion was not poisonous, I think its venom was strong and make my foot swollen and it stays as swollen, still! But here I am, not death, no allergies, and feeling even stronger. As Mexicans says, if a scorpion does not kill you, make you stronger.
Well then day has started, and our tour went just amazing in every moment. We toured El Charco Botanic Gardens and studied a plethora of wildflowers with Michael, our guide with Australian roots, and we were even allowed to pick some plants for our classes. I was teaching every day, demonstrating some plants, but everyone was painting their own selected plants. This is how generally it works in my classes, I make many demonstrations, but this is an education mainly works with one to one tuition, teach or talk depending on the level of the individuals. That went very well, I think everyone enjoyed as I did. (I hope!)
In one of these day, we had the privilege to have Maestro Antonio Domingues from La Esmeralda-institute, Mexico City, to teach us the basics of the siligraphy technique. Siligraphy, water-less lithography, came to Mexico mainly from the Tamaring Institute of University of New Mexico, NM, U.S. The images were traced on the smooth surface of aluminum plates (originally used for newspaper printing). The drawing needs to be done with a pencil containing gum arabica. The printing is then done on a lithography paper and the results are stunning!
This tour involved many other things, from taking a cooking class, to visiting many historical places. I even got a private bar tour! (this is between us!) Hard to explain all here, but all we had some wonderful time during such treat.
Visit Denver Botanic Gardens website to enroll for the future tours. I might not be there again, but in each time is another beautiful story.
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Once again - Transylvania Meadows!
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April 21, 2019
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Artist Residency in Denver Botanic Gardens
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