I Didn’t Need Paris (Yet), I had San Diego, CA Instead
When I first start painting, all I wanted to do was go to Paris, France because that’s where all of the great artists that I had read about had been, lived, established their art careers and thrived.
The desire to go to Paris was always in the back of my mind that I would have been prepared to go at a drop of a hat until I realized that I didn’t need Paris to become and artist and experience what I could experience there because I had San Diego.
I learned this from an old friend who in the mid 1990’s was a well-known artist in the San Diego area. He had been painting and selling work in SD for years. When I started painting, our relationship became like Picasso and Braque, we were constantly talking about art whenever we got the chance and inspiring each other to go farther with our artwork.
Painting In Chicano Park, San Diego
One day he invited me to paint in Chicano Park, San Diego because he was also a well-known Chicano artist at the time so I accepted his invitation to paint there and didn’t realize that I would experience culture first hand.
It was a Saturday morning, I arrived in Chicano Park with my art supplies ready to start working. He had already been there for hours working on several canvases.
I opened up my art supplies and proceeded to start a painting of the well-known Chicano Park bridges in front of me. As we painted, I could smell the delicious smell of fresh tortillas and mexican food being cooked down the street, I could hear guys playing handball in the nearby courts and music Tejano music playing somewhere nearby.
The whole experience was almost intoxicating, I was wrapped up in my painting while he worked on his canvases. What was strange about the whole experience is that I felt safe painting there even though my parents warned me about it being a “rough” part of town.
We painted for about 3 hours that day and after we both had wet canvases, we realized that it was time to get something to eat so we loaded our art supplies in our vehicles and walked down to the taco shop for some mexican food and beers before I headed home.
I Can Be Inspired To Paint Anywhere
While I sat there eating lunch, with still wet paint from my canvases on my pants, I realized that San Diego was “my Paris” and I could find inspiration there around every corner including the same inspiration that artists like Monet found in the French countryside since in San Diego I was just an hour away from the mountains, beaches or countryside if I wanted to find inspiration for creating new art.
Now in my 40’s, I still want to go to Paris (someday), hopefully with my family, but for now I know that I can be inspired to create new artwork anywhere including San Diego, Central Texas, Oregon or wherever I may be living in the United States.