Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I read an article the other day in The New York Times Style Section about the Mexican town of Merida, where artists, architects, and other creative types have been busy buying up haciendas and renovating them. Some have moved there full-time; others visit for several weeks each year. It used to be towns like San Miguel de Allende that drew these artists, but over time, those towns became too popular.

My great-aunt Dorcas was a painter who lived for years in San Miguel, before it filled with what the Times piece calls "American snowbirds." I visited her there once, with my mother and sister, when she was quite elderly. Toward the end of our trip, we went to a party given in her honor that included a sale of some of her paintings. My sister and I each picked out a painting, and mine is now in my dining room. It was my first piece of "real" art.

Several years later, my sister and I were going through boxes in my mother's basement, and we came across a sketchbook that belonged to my aunt. The sketches - all flowers - look like they were done in thin black marker, and the paper has faded to yellow. I'm not sure anyone would ever buy them, but to me they're beautiful.

I hung six of these sketches in our family room, next to a crayon drawing of a fish (care of my daughter) and a painting of a small orange house (done by either my sister or me - we're not sure who - when were were little) to add color. I think Dorcas, who loved color above all else, might approve.

But one last story: Dorcas once offered to do a painting for my father. She asked him what he'd like, and he said he'd like something that reminded him of the sea, with lots of blues and grays and greens. The photo below is that painting. Not what my dad was expecting, perhaps, but done in her own way and possibly my favorite of all.


  1. Love this post...I will never forget that trip to San Miguel and am so grateful we have some of her well put...we definitely have some wonderful treasures!

  2. Sus Love this, must be where your sense of design comes from!

  3. I finally figured out how to comment - not sure why it worked this time and not all the others! I also love the look of your den - so white and bright with a touch of color, thought it was a magazine!

  4. Hello. I purchased a house in San Miguel a year ago and understand it was your aunt's art gallery. Where can I see more of her work and learn about her time in San Miguel?


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