Carmen Lagos - Watercolors

My training as an architect provides me with a strong sense of design. I am constantly redesigning elements of nature, so my paintings become original “rearrangements.” I never copy nature, I orchestrate it. It is very much like a musical composition or a poem – the artist creates using elements of nature to give birth to a new creation. As the great architect Le Corbusier said, “Creation is a patient search.”

When I returned to watercolor after many years of experimenting with other media, I found the freshness and spontaneity I need to work on my flowers. The medium is very responsive to my personality, and allows me to express my inner vision.

Flowers offer me infinite possibilities to explore color, texture, light and atmosphere. I see flowers as design shapes as well as beautiful life forms. Flowers teach me so much about the color. Their colors change during the day – the color you get from them in the morning is gone in the afternoon, but another color is present. Plants have personalities, like people. If you pay attention to them, they will richly reward you with exciting discoveries.

When I came to Florida, I immediately saw that the flowers here were like those I remembered from home in Chile… graceful and feminine, the delicate crepe myrtle, hydrangeas, the camellias, and the wisteria. But the tropical plants of Barranquilla were also a part of my experience and my life with Gustavo. So I began to also explore my feeling for the voluptuous nature of tropical plant—the banana trees, the crotons, the bird of paradise.

There are so many directions a painting can take. That’s how I get to work on the same subjects, but with slight variations. The subject matter – flowers and foliage – offers me infinite possibilities to explore color, texture, light and beauty.


Gustavo Castillo - Watercolors / Acrylics

As a child, I do not   remember paying any particular attentions to art, but I was definitely in love with airplanes. I knew I would have to work hard to convince my father to allow me to be a pilot. When the time came, he suggested I study engineering, promising to pay for my flying lessons later. After a few years of the university, my passion for planes reached its peak. I ran to the airport for all necessary information on flying lessons and after a few arguments, my father agreed to pay for them.

But, that shows how little I knew about my wants and needs! Them Carmen came into my life. I watched her working on architectural illustrations for her school projects. She made it looks to easy. I decided to try my hand at painting. But it soon found that learning to paint in watercolors was like learning another language. For me, it was very much like learning to speak English.

Equipped with my instruction booklet, “How to paint in Oils”, I purchased several tubes of watercolor pigment and began to apply it directly to paper with a palette knife. It was love at first brush stroke, and my fascination with it was immediate, especially after Carmen explained to me that I needed to add some water. Them came my questions about colors, shapes, light, sizes. Why am I doing this… who am I doing this for… well, I am still looking for some of these answers, but most importantly during that process I began having a lot of fun.

Today the Fruit Series is giving me even more answers and I am pleased with some of the results. I’ve discovered it is not so much about the individual paintings outcome anymore, but the act of painting itself. That sometimes brings me that wonderful and sweet drowsiness that makes me go to the studio almost every day.

I use up to 15 layers of color, building luminosity. It allows me to see more deeply the richness of the subject, to experience the light and the flavors of the fruit.   


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