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A Place For Artists And Art Lovers By Joan Vandermeer

The magic of seeing San Miguel for the first time is an experience I will never forget. In 2010, my art teacher Jane Filer and her husband John and my sister flew to Leon and from there took the shuttle to San Miguel. We rented a cheap but beautiful home in the area of San Antonio and wandered the city for a week before  attending a painting workshop with Laura Loe, the director of the summer arts program at Nimrod Hall . My sister, also an artist ,and I moved to the new location, hotel that caters to artists, to meet with Laura and her group of painters. Armed with easels and paints we gathered , a group of 12, to explore and paint the city well known to artists all over the country. Although I had heard of San Miguel and had visited other cities in Mexico, nothing compared with the food, the sights ,sounds,and the smells of this colonial city.  Since 2010 I have returned 5 times and am never disappointed.

For me color is the key to any painting and Mexico is full of all the colors that I dream in and love. The stores and galleries are full of art by local artists many of them are transplants from the US and Canada or ex pats as they are called. They seem to blend into the the landscape of  the city and enjoy the slower pace and vibrancy of the area. 

San Miguel is a walkable city but the cobblestone streets are a bit tricky so good sturdy shoes are a must. 

Starting from the Jardin you can walk to all the different neighbors and explore something new each day to paint.

Your subject matter can be the streets, the people, the flowers in the gardens, the market… all make for wonderful eye candy for a painter.

I am an acrylic painter and primary paint out of my head so for me, a studio painter, I set my easel up in the hotel courtyard while others made their way into town to paint.

There are many things I see but I am drawn to color and story.

When in doubt  I start with a vase of flowers as a warm up and then move to other subjects like the Tango, taught at the hotel, and The Casa On Calle San Francisco, an interior painting. The city also has an art store or two and if supplies run low there are places to buy them.

You might ask, when is the best time to go to San Miguel to paint?

There are artist workshop all year long but one of my favorite painters, Sara Linda Poly teaches there each winter so for me February is the month I like to visit. The city is very alive with music, parades, celebrations and wonderful wedding processions .

The donkeys dot the town from time to time and vendors  are always selling the goods they make.

To learn more about  San Miguel visit this site . For workshops held by Sara Linda see this site . You can also google “art workshops in San Miguel” and you will find many artists that you can take classes from.

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