Wednesday, March 27, 2013



A few weeks ago San Miguel de Allende held it’s annual Writer’s Conference. San Miguel has hosted this event for several years and it is well attended by people from all over Mexico as well as the US and Canada. I am told that the speakers were all extremely good and that the lectures and workshops were helpful and informative.

However, although I will likely attend next year, the conference is not the reason that I am writing this post. It is merely the event that began a series of happenstances. One of my favorite blogs is Writing From Merida, written by Joanna Van der Gracht de Rosado who attends the writer’s conference. This year when she mentioned on her blog that she would be in San Miguel, I told her that I would love to meet her if she had any time free from the conference. To my delight she contacted me and we were able to meet.



Joanna was able to find time to join me for dinner twice during the conference so we had a chance to get to know each other a little better. I knew from her blog that Joanna had grown up in North Vancouver, British Columbia, as did I, and that our childhoods had been very similar.

Over martinis at El Pegaso we reminisced about our lives in North Vancouver and discovered that we had both attended Delbrooke Senior High one year apart, had most of the same teachers and knew some of the same kids. As children we had both gone swimming in the pool at Princess Park, across the street from the house where I grew up, and may even have played together.



Life is indeed a curious thing. I discovered that, also like myself, Joanna enjoys drawing and painting. We talked about watercolour pencils, which were entirely new to me. What a great concept! For some reason I have done very little painting since moving to Mexico. I guess my new life here was all-consuming for some time. Everything was new and interesting and I found I had little time for past hobbies.

Since my accident I have not picked up a paintbrush at all. This is sort of surprising as I am not terribly mobile and certainly have more time on my hands these days. My husband Todd was with Joanna and I for our last dinner together at El Pegaso and I guess he saw that the talk of the watercolour pencils had sparked and interest in me that had been laying dormant for some time.


watercolour pencils 001


About a week later he came home with a set of pencils and some watercolour paper. My brushes and painting supplies found their way out of storage and I began to experiment with this new medium. As it turned out the pencils that Todd had bought were Derwent Inktense. They are a water soluble ink pencil. Somewhat different than watercolour and much more vibrant.

This was a whole new ballgame. I went on line to find out how to use this new mystery and not only found someone demonstrating my new pencils, but a plethora of art classes. I have taken classes before and quickly learned the basics but somehow, no matter what I tried, may painting always seemed a little tight. I have always loved watercolour and aspired to paint like Paul Cézanne, but have never managed to achieve that loose, free quality that he, and so many other watercolour artists bring to their work.


my paintings 037


my paintings 006


my paintings 032


Above is some of my past work. Over the last few weeks I have been experimenting with different tools and different styles.


flower paintings 001


flower paintings 005


I think it is pretty clear that I am never going to be a great artist, but I think I am beginning to see some of the fluidity that has been missing from my work. I don’t know if I will ever really get there, but the journey is great and it’s nice to be painting again.


  1. Yeah......wonderful! Kudos to your hubby for making the move on your behalf. I've never heard of watercolor pencils either. Cool!

  2. I'm really having fun with them. It's nice to be painting again.

  3. There is nothing like the creative process to keep us in our 20s -- when anything was possible.

    1. I don't know if it can accomplish that, but some things may be still be possible, LOL.

  4. Shannon - I'm trying to add Writing from Merida to my bloglist but I tried putting in and that didn't work. Do you have the URL?
    Thanks. I really like her writing......


      You had it right, just no www.

  5. Having been in the fine art reproduction business for many years, I can tell you that you are well on you way to excellence!

    Cheers, Peter.

  6. That is very kind Peter, thank you. Although I have no allusions about my talent I will always continue to try to improve. I just love to paint.

  7. My goodness Shannon! You have a wonderful talent. I am honored that my comment about water color pencils sparked your husband to action. We had such a great time that evening... As Steve said,"There's nothing like the creative process to keep us in out 20s."

    A few of us are talking about hosting another a bloggers' event in Merida next November... would you be interested? And by the way, I have shown "¿Que Hora Es?" to everyone I know. Hysterical!

    Happy Easter to you and yours...

  8. Thank you Joanna, and not just for the kind words. Because of you I am painting again and I don't think I had really realized how much I missed it. We really did have a lovely time that evening!

    I would definitely be interested in the blogger event. We would both really like to go back to the Yucatan. I agree, "Que Hora Es?" is hilarious.

    Happy Easter to you and your family as well.

  9. Those are beautiful! I am just learning watercolors myself and I will have to try the colored pencils.

  10. I think they are terrific Cheryl, but I would get the watercolour not the inktense. I think the watercolour are a little easier to use, a little more readily soluble. The great thing about them is that you only need a little water and you can take them anywhere.