On the road to León

On the 90-minute van ride from San Miguel de Allende to the airport in León, you pass through some beautiful landscapes. Big skies, distant blue mountains and wide plateaux covered in cacti and yellowed scrub vegetation, for the most part. Occasionally the van slows down and you realize you are passing through a town. From the van window you catch a glimpse of typical Mexican street life. There’s no chance to stop for photos in this van full of anxious travellers, but I snap iPhone pics from the window. Most of them are trash, but a few are good enough to merit a second look and perhaps end up as reference for a painting.

This big tree — likely an Acacia, from my research — was a lucky capture with the phone. So much life in the shade of that tree, including a shoe kiosk and a family settling down for lunch. And almost as if they knew I would be passing — a yellow wheelbarrow. Painted on a half sheet of Arches 140 lb rough paper.

29 Comments on “On the road to León”

  1. Chris Rusk says:



  2. Donns says:

    You have no fear putting on the shadows of the tree branches!!! I just cannot a good result. Need more practice. Brilliant color!!!


  3. joantav says:

    Love the shadow of that huge tree and the colors of the town. Funny to have you find a wheelbarrow down there too!


  4. Bernadette says:

    So enjoy the tree with wild flowing branches that almost fill the page. Great sprawling shadows, colors, umbrellas, and family having lunch. It’s a winner! Thanks for sharing.


    • Thanks Bernadette. This scene really was all about that tree. It painted it first, with more patience than I usually have, but I really loved doing all those branches. It was like meditation.


  5. Ritzie says:

    Spectacular! Love the tree and the umbrellas!



  6. Tim Liddy says:



  7. I can feel the atmosphere of this scene – wonderfully conveyed, and with only an iPhone photo for reference!


  8. Those shadows and the colourful umbrellas are amazing!


  9. Judy Sopher says:

    I can only agree that those shadows are great. (trite word but it says it all) BTW, I recently learned that San Miguel de Allende is one of the safest places to visit in Mexico so I apologize if I was worried. I have lived too long in a border state.

    This is one of my favorite of your paintings on your trip.Just lovely.


  10. M. L. Kappa says:

    What a wonderful, atmospheric painting, Shari! I could almost imagine myself under that tree!


  11. Pam says:

    The shadows make the painting come alive! I love it.


  12. Liz Lystra says:

    Lovely, so much energy and I love the shadows.


  13. Very interesting street scene.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. idigy says:

    Amazing 👌


  15. Jann Gumbiner says:

    You really captured rural Mexico in this one. The tree, the light, the spaciousness but especially the shadow!


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