As a Latina, I am searching for themes that express my heritage. My recent portrait series of young Latinos with a blackbird was a breakthrough for me. I used the bird as a symbol, a kind of spirit guide to help the young people find themselves and succeed.
While painting this series of portraits I became aware of how much I savor the intimacy of getting to know the sitter's face. I get in touch with aspects of myself as I capture the likeness and the spirit of the person. It is like meditating with someone who is not present yet so real at the same time.
I studied with Cornelia Foss at the Art Student's League. She is a master painter. In class, she had just the right comment to help me when I was struggling. And if she saw me hesitate, she was not beyond taking the brush from my hand and showing me what she meant. I liked her teaching style and I benefited immensely from her guidance.
All I want to do is paint, and I have been doing it for about fifteen years. I paint portraits from photographs because of the time element, but I enjoy still life and landscape because, when painting from life, I use a different set of skills.
Among famous American artists, I admire the work of Jacob Lawrence. Some of his compositions make my heart stop. He used shape like nobody else. I also like Richard Diebenkorn and Fairfield Porter, both masters of form and composition. I don't paint like any of them, but their work inspires me.
Within the discipline of figurative painting, I strive to get better and discover as much as I can about my craft. I keep in mind Cornelia's mantra as I am starting a painting: this is going to be my most beautiful painting.
Doing my best work is often a struggle, but it is also joyful. I haven't figured it all out, but life is a journey and I am still hiking along.