January 2013 ● Color Theory – Practice 1

PAINTER ADVENTURES By Federico León de La Vega ● January, 2013

Painting by Federico León de la Vega

Painting by Federico León de la Vega

You certainly do not have to be an artist to enjoy art. Artistic enjoyment is freely available all around us, at least in Vallarta. I hereby suggest the following practice. On one of those occasions  when movie theatres offer nothing worth seeing, take a car ride anyway: at around six in the afternoon is a good time to start. Find your wife, significant one or perhaps a good friend for company. With the exception of gasoline this show will be gratis. For sound effects don’t forget to take a good Cd, something like Philip Glass, Bill Douglas or Mozart will be most adequate.

Optional, but perhaps desirable will be popcorn and soda; although a good cheese selection and some frozen grapes, mineral water and perhaps some almonds will be preferable.

Sierra Madre Mountain - Photo by Harvest Estudio

Sierra Madre Mountain – Photo by Harvest Estudio

Once ready, head toward the Jalisco high Sierra, which is the way to San Sebastian and Mascota. Do not try to pass anyone, unless it is a truck which may drastically obstruct your panorama. Remain in the calm and solitude of the road, away from crowds. This art practice does not consist on arriving at any specific place, its purpose is the enjoyment of the view along the way. We shall delight in the process of travel through color, specifically yellow to red hues. Once you have passed the town of Las Palmas, you shall begin to see abundant woodlands, but today we will not attend greens, not even blues in the sky. As your iron horse climbs the altitude of the Jaliciense Sierrra, suddenly you will arrive to a zone where the road was built by making repeated cuts into the hills. Pay attention I beg you, to the varied colors of the earth. At first you will appreciate light crimson or “pinkish” colors, occasionally mixed with orange and sepia. Do notice the spectacular combinations: colors are not “flat”. Each little rock has its own hue and tone, yet they all belong to the same family under this study.  These variations cause the colors to vibrate as they form patterns, subtly changing in size and frequency as you advance upwards.

While you listen to the music, have your company help you to the frozen grapes, be sure to exchange impressions on the delightful scenery. What feelings do these color combinations and frequencies inspire in you both? minding the wheel constantly,  you may still appreciate how the sun is beginning to add red to the mixture, bathing even your passenger’s face with a glow. Skin is warmer an softer under this light. Imperfections are blurred and smiled highlighted by even redder lips. This is why the time for this art practice is important. Should you make this same tour in the morning, colors will be tending more to gold rather than crimson.

Sierra Madre Mountain - Photo by Harvest Estudio

Sierra Madre Mountain – Photo by Harvest Estudio

A few more curves and ochre and Naples yellow will become dominant. The earth here is so attractive, that in the town of San Sebastian these muds are used in the stucco mixture to finish houses.  Regretfully, I have no significant knowledge of Geology, but with each cut you may get some understanding of the formation and order in the layers that shaped these beautiful rolling hills. Finally, upon your arrival to La Estancia, oxide and Indian reds will become predominant in rich variations, which helped by the sunlight may even approximate the color of blood. By then, if you have kept an average of 60 km/h, your watch will be marking 7:15 pm. Time to stop. Take a break. Get off the vehicle. Embrace your dear. If this is your wife, hold her tighter and for a longer while. See her up close and then… from afar. Remember how fragile life is, and how it may suddenly be brought to an unexpected halt, a total loss of color.

Retain therefore in your memory this simple moments, dyed in yellows and reds. Chew the rest of the grapes and savor the cheese, while you watch the sun slowly approach the horizon. Depart prior to total darkness, the last rays of sun will provide additional thrills. On the way back to Vallarta, even after the sun has sunk, you might enjoy its reflections on the clouds. Be sure to discuss with your travel partner whether they are sheep-shaped, of brushstroke like, or even resembling rivers. Drive carefully, leave the cell phone alone.

Federico León de la Vega
E-mail: fleondelavega@gmail.com
Please Visit: http://www.federicoleondelavega.com 

Author Note:
This is a chapter of a book I am writing about my adventures as a painter artist.

The Federico León de la Vega Estudio – Café is open to the public and is located in Paseo de la Marina 31, Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit. Opening hours are Monday to Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Sundays from 8:00 to 11:00 a.m.

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