Thoughts in San Miguel Post 1

My wife and I live on the University of British Columbia campus during the summer and in San Miguel de Allende in the winter. I have a studio in each location.

I am writing this in our home in San Miguel de Allende. It is October 8, 2016, and the weather is perfect.

On September 11, 2016, I hosted an Art Show and Sale in a local restaurant, named Trafalgar’s, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The restaurant provided excellent hors d’oeuvres for over fifty guests. Wine was also provided.

This was my first show. It was a success in that I more than broke even, and received many positive comments about the art work and the cuisine. I also had Adrian Verdejo, a classic guitarist playing the full two hours which added a sense of originality to the proceedings.

The art work included acrylics, watercolours and drawings.  The acrylics were mostly done in San Miguel de Allende, the watercolours were done in British Columbia, parts of Europe, San Miguel de Allende and the United States, and the drawings were all done in British Columbia.

I always create sketch paintings of every scene which I generally use for the larger finished works.

Many of the works were completed from plein air watercolour sketches, and some of the 12″ X 16″ watercolours were en plein air, which is possible in the warmth of San Miguel de Allende, whereas it is almost impossible to create acrylics en plein air due to the rapid drying sequence. Therefore, the acrylic paintings were completed from watercolour sketches and photographs.


Tres Cruces de Aldama

This acrylic painting was completed just a few days ago, so was not included in the show, but it is a good example of the colours that pervade San Miguel de Allende. The daily temperatures there range from 17C to 29C, so nice warm days and cool evenings – perfect for cocktails on one of the patios in our San Miguel home!

Yesterday, we went to Jaral de Berrio, a vast Hacienda, where special Mescal is made.

The glory days of hacienda living are today just an intriguing piece of Mexico’s history. For the newly-arrived Spanish nobles it was a time of great wealth and great expectations that began with their arrival in Mexico in 1524, until the slow demise of the grand estates following the Mexican Revolution of 1910. This land, christened New Spain by the invaders, was commonly obtained by Spanish nobles through grants from the Crown.

The haciendas flourished as autonomous, self-governing worlds unto themselves and hacienda life typically included their own parish church, a school, a post office and a railway. All facets of hacienda life were overseen by the owners, including the indigenous people who worked tirelessly for their patrón, taming and harvesting the land.
Hacienda Jaral de Berrio in Guanajuato
Beautiful ceiling with painted cloud mural. Hacienda Jaral de Berrio in Guanajuato
The hacendados’ (owners’) holdings were huge and included thousands of acres of crops of wheat, sugar, fruit, vegetables and livestock. In some parts of the country, depending on the climate and the soil conditions, the land was given over to mining, and other estates like Hacienda Jaral de Berrio (obtained through a land grant in 1613), became known for manufacturing both gunpowder and mescal.