I recently returned from a trip to the Yucatán peninsula in the very south of the Mexican republic. It was the first trip that I remember taking in at least 30 years where I did not bring drawing and painting equipment. My wife Heidi and I left about three days after I had rotator cuff surgery on my painting arm. Wigged out on oxicodone for the pain, we managed to visit five different Mayan cities. It was Heidi’s first experience with the Maya world and she was thrilled!
Since I could not paint or even lift my camera on this journey, like any artist, I put my focus on observing everything to its profound core. Everywhere I go, I am always composing paintings in my mind, whether it be at a table in a restaurant or gazing from the top of a pyramid. I have always try to impart to my students to take the time to stop, contemplate and observe the subject before starting a painting or drawing. Intimacy with the image will certainly show itself in a painting. Once an artist begins painting, there is that extra distraction of the process and technique which challenges the ability to truly observe.