How it all began
When I was a kid I remember going with my parents every once in a while to an art fair in Guayaquil Ecuador where I grew up. I was probably 10 years old. We moved to Ecuador from Colombia when I was 7. I think the art fair outing was at 10 years and it was only me and my parents. I don’t remember that my brothers ever came with us. They did not find it interesting. Me on the other hand, I was mesmerized and excited. My curiosity was insatiable. I wanted to see each piece of artwork, walk every row and look at everything. I still do that when I go to any art fair that comes to town and in museums as well. That is why I prefer to go alone. Not everyone, even art lovers do that. It can be extremely tiring and your feet and back will suffer for it. But I of course could not go alone at 10 years old… so I will have to accept after my parents repeatedly told me that it was time to go.
I fell in love with art then. I did not know how to do it. In school we took art classes but they were more like time spent with art materials and freedom to do whatever, but I do not recall have like a real art class. There were the usual talented kids that will create beautiful drawings or paintings with ease. That always made me feel inept towards art. My parents noticed my love for art and took me to painting classes with a known landscape painter. The classes were on Saturday from 10 am- 2pm. I loved going there every week. The space was the dining and living room of a small house, it smelled of linseed oil, oil paint and turpentine, which I found delightful.
I finally learned how to paint, I was able to reproduce a painting fairly close. Painter Jara taught me how to paint using oil paint and pastels. Oil paint was my favorite. The way the colors blended with each other on the canvas by using layers. The intensity of it’s hues. The way you could easily create shadows that look so natural. The smoothness of this paint was amazing. The way it will easily flow. The easiness to correct any mistakes. He also taught me the beauty of the mistakes, most time these are wonderful discoveries that takes the painter into a different more interesting path. I absolutely fell in love with creating art. I finally had the tools to do it, I learned it is something that can be taught.
I was a very curious kid, always busy. I was in the sports team, the drama group and now in weekend art classes. At some point mom also put in me in etiquette and modeling classes, but those were not of my liking. I was a tomboy and there was not changing of that. But art was the place I found that I felt safe. Creating the paintings, even though they were not of my “creation”, I was reproducing them, took me away from the pain. At around that same age that I discover art at 10, I had been sexually abused. As most kids, I never told anyone. I felt ashamed and guilty so I kept it inside. I thought that I could handle it just fine, and as a matter of fact, I truly believed I did. Sure enough, I did by staying busy ALL the time. I did not realized its impact until much later in life when I was making decisions that did not put in the best place or situation. For years my confidence and self esteem was non existent. For year, I put everyone else first and second and third. I guess, I really did not know how to deal with it all by myself, specially at that age. However, art, creating art was my outlet, it was my therapy. Even though, these incidents in my life affected the rest of my life, the impact was subdue in great part because I had an outlet.
When I started creating my own art, no more reproductions, it was extremely dark. Dark in colors, dark in subjects matter. Something dark was happening in my paintings. I did not know exactly why that was but I was not interested in giving it an explanation or putting a name to it. It was my art where all the fear, anger, sadness was being channeled. My art was my therapy. Not knowingly how to apply it, of course, without a guide.