My Path to Art in Mexico
As far back as I can remember, I’ve always had the drive to create. I can’t remember when it began, it just always was. I recall being in trouble for painting things at my grandmother’s house. Also taking things apart to see how they worked. So noticing details and looking at the parts of things was just a natural inclination. That energy later went into drawing and painting. Animals, plants, and faces were my favorite things to draw. As I went through different phases of life, my focus would change… woodworking, sewing, gardening.
During the time when my children were very young, I found it difficult to have time to create. But the energy was in me and would build up so that I felt I had to do something to stay sane. I started painting using the only hours left in the day after taking care of 4 babies and the household…midnight to 8:00 am. I used watercolors because they dried fast, required less set up and I could paint two at a time, a paintbrush in one hand, a blow dryer in the other. The images coming out at that time were about the love I felt for my babies. A whole series of paintings featuring mothers and babies that are now primarily owned by my family.
Having come from a very strict upbringing, there were many times in life I felt I was invisible, with no voice. I had been feeling oppressed and ready to explode. Trained always to be polite and deny anything remotely sensual or natural because it would displease either God or my parents. By 2018 I had been married twice and had 4 children, 3 stepchildren, I still had no real idea who I was. I had a nice comfortable life but felt increasingly restless and unfulfilled.
As my life changed, so did my art. When I moved to Mexico it was at a very complex, stressful time in life. For the first time I was living solely for myself, by myself. I was struggling with the adjustments but energy was building.
During this challenging time, I started to paint things I hadn’t before. My first painting took a year to complete. I called it Estoy Aqui because I wanted to express what I was feeling, that I am not nothing. I am here. It expresses energy, growth, & sensuality, a freedom I was feeling and finally able to portray.
Through some very difficult times, I painted Fuerza de la Voz. It is primarily about speaking out against oppression, predators, and the entities that would keep us silent. We, especially women, have to realize that our silence benefits control of our lives. By speaking out by whatever means we have, our voice, writing, art, it shines a light on things that need to be revealed and changed. Most of the time the change required is within us. I had to come to a place where I wasn’t afraid. I could not be silent, devoured, or ignored anymore.
By sharing this art I hope other people will hear the same message within their own hearts. You are not nothing, you have the right and the ability to be you and to shine with your own intelligence, your energy, and your strength.
I am still learning to find my voice to express things that might not feel right to other people. But I look in the mirror and have to please only me. Am I honest, am I real? At all times, especially in the creation of my art, have I done the best I can do. If “Yes!”, then it is enough.
Stephanie Dawn Scott Morgan