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Dreams of Long-Lost San Miguel

Ancha de San Antonio

By Sheridan Sansegundo

Have you every paused, while walking on the streets of San Miguel, and thought “This is so beautiful, but I wonder what it would be like without the cars”? Old black and white photos of the city show a quiet, unhurried place, where there seem to be almost as many donkeys as people on the streets.

Linda Whynman, a watercolor artist, has been making a series of paintings of the ancient Indian chapels—some almost forgotten, some really inaccessible—that lie buried in the countryside around San Miguel and which she recently published with her painting partner, Lorie Topinka, in the book Capillas de San Miguel de Allende: Leyendas de fe.….

“There was the excitement of finding these capillas, and then, while painting them, the sensation of being taken back in time, the complete silence, of focusing on the stones and the shadows and sensing the comfort that religion brings in Mexico.”

The project roused her interest in San Miguel’s past and in those old black and white photographs. They sparked an idea, “Let me draw on those photos and see if I can bring them to life with color, with my paints.” The paintings that resulted can be seen in “Pueblito Precioso y Vistas Antiguas” at the Galeria San Francisco Annex at the Fabrica Aurora from Saturday, December 1. There will be an opening reception from 5 to 7pm.

All the landmarks are there—the Parroquia, Las Monjas, San Felipe Neri, San Francisco—but they are still bordered by fields and trees. Streets are unpaved, streams are clear, dogs and donkeys wander empty squares.

“When I was painting people would come by and say, ‘I remember when there were no houses on that hill,’ or ‘I remember that milkman.’ It’s a pleasure to rekindle people’s childhood memories.”

Whynman has been involved with the arts all her life. She was an art teacher for over 30 years and then an arts administrator in New York State, overseeing art programs in several districts.

She now gives watercolor classes at Fabrica Aurora.

Fifteen years ago she came to San Miguel and, apart from being a stalwart of the Audubon Society, used her computer and graphic design experience to create books—poetry, prose, paintings, drawings—for other people, over 20 in all.

Then one day she had an epiphany, “Life is speeding by, I better get back to what feeds my soul—painting, particularly watercolor, which is so spontaneous and exciting.” So she shouldered her paints and her easel and set out into the countryside and, one might say, into San Miguel’s past.

 

Art Opening

“Pueblito Precioso y Vistas Antiguas”

Watercolors by Linda Whynman

Sat, Dec 1, 5-7pm

Galeria San Francisco Annex

Fabrica La Aurora

 

 

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