Ever since I had to wear glasses I began to see more. When I had perfect eyesight I was immature, as I tried to see everything through my eyes only. Therefore, my painting was realistic and detailed to the point of stiffness, obstructed by my demanding architectural precision.
Now I am able to see more, since I combine eyesight with heart-felt insight, I can get fresher, more spontaneous results. Little by little I am approaching the magic and the mystical. Although I humbly admit to be still a foreigner in this realm, I do see more and more magic in everything.
For example, just the other day I went in to the pastry shop inside La Comercial supermarket, following a craving for some biscuits. I am a fan of these biscuits, and Tere, the cook at the Estudio-Café loves me if I bring her a “Concha” (shell shaped pastry), so there, while picking bread I saw magic appear right in front of my eyes: across the aisle, through the pans where the bread is displayed, I saw these lips eating.
These were not just any lips, mind you; they were juicy and sensuous, and they ate with delicious appetite. A pretty mouth chewing exquisitely. Now, the upper pan covered her eyes, so she could not see me looking, so I was able to enjoy the sight at my leisure for a few seconds.
Discretely, but with deliberate artistic curiosity, I then turned the aisle walking slowly, to discover the complete body of the bread-eating lips. There she was, a very good-looking, well-dressed señora. In spite of her not wearing any make-up she looked so beautifully interesting, like an Oscar scene in a French movie, munching on pastries while making her selections from the display pans, thoughtfully deciding what else to take home.
I passed by her, without staring, without becoming obvious… as if not noticing her. Some of you may think this a simplistic account, but to me it was fantastic (then again, I am one crazy painter who has repeatedly gone to see the same movie just to sketch the lips of an actress – the photo accompanying this article shows the painting that later resulted from such exercise). I didn’t want to seem rude, so after this very brief sighting I went my way, nothing happening, and so did she. I think she did not notice me.
The amount of information that one can collect with a brief sighting is considerable. You can quickly tell, by the clothes worn, taste, habits, cleanliness, possible occupation…and many presumptions are made. If this woman is wearing a good dress instead of shorts and sandals, if she is tall and her complexion light, her hands and nails are well cared for, if she wears large earrings, good perfume, then she probably comes from Guadalajara, or in a fortunate chance, from Mexico City.
Making up stories about passers by can be entertaining while waiting in line at the supermarket. Although we are seldom able to confirm their veracity. Lines at La Comercial are long, but since the bread they sell there is pretty good, I wait patiently. Minutes later, the woman arrived to the line, right behind me. Still remaining around her beautiful mouth were these little white crumbs. As an excuse to take a better look, I asked “isn’t this good bread?” …and a pleasant conversation followed which confirmed most of my deductions; she answered using the respectful “usted” mode, but with an ample smile. Waiting in line became suddenly pleasurable.
As we parted, I wondered if I should tell her about the crumbs still remaining around her lips…but no, this was part of what made the scene so beautiful and interesting. Anyway, a woman like her surely would have somebody to tell her about those crumbs and probably even willing to eat them.
Federico León de la Vega is a painter, artist and writer of his travels and everyday life in the Puerto Vallarta area. Federico’s paintings are created in diverse formats, many are large.
Visit his Website or meet him in person at his Federico León de la Vega Estudio – Café open to the public and located a tube 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.
Author Note: This is a chapter of a book I am writing about my adventures as a painter artist.