Because we liked the apartment where we were staying so much, I drew the interior more than I had expected to. The furniture, in heavy wood, glass, and leather, was so different from our northern interiors, as were the bright Mexican colors and bold shapes of the plants, vases, lamps and other objects. My eye is always energized by seeing something different, and my spirit too.
And when I'm seeing inspiring art every day, it makes me want to draw. Mexican art often encourages simplicity and the search for form, I find. Even the two-dimensional art feels quite "plastic", and I sense that sculpture, painting, and nature all inform each other, leading to bold, monumental shapes and a minimum of fussiness or elaboration for its own sake. For example, this detail from a fabulous, huge mosaic titled Rio Juchitan (1953-56) by Diego Rivera and assistants in his workshop, now at the Soumaya Museum:
Back at home, here's some fruit in a pedestal bowl:
The food we were buying at the market was inspiring in itself - we always had a bowl of mangoes, bananas, tomatoes and avocados on the counter. And our residency was also changing the space a little too, as we bought flowers and some embroidered textiles and ceramics, and settled into the places where we liked working. J. often worked at the dining table, while I sat on the couch with my knitting, computer, and drawing.
As I filled the pages of my own sketchbook, I was touched by this book in the anthropology museum - written and illustrated by some kindred spirit at the time of the Spanish conquest of Mexico.
Most of all, I think drawing at the apartment provided a quiet time after the noise, busyness, overcrowded intensity of the metropolis: a way to re-center and come back to myself.