Are light and shadow always the artist’s friend? Cast shadows on sunny days help us define architectural features of the simple capillas we like to paint. Today we arrived somewhat earlier than usual, about 10am, and found the front view of this capilla entirely in a strong shadow backlit by the morning sun. Yes, there was light and shadow but not from a helpful angle. The solution we both came up with was to use the very strong cast shadow of the entire structure as a dominant element in the composition.
Capilla de Guerrero or Capilla de Jesus, we aren’t sure of the name, has the date of construction, 1874, carved above the door. The white-painted front and original stonework on the other three sides are typical of the exteriors of old capillas. The atrium is enclosed on three sides but open to the fields in the front. There are two calvarios—one very small and the other with a small altar and three crosses. Of interest is a delicately painted face of Jesus in the center of one cross and a cantera carving of a bird in the ceiling.
Sometimes our adventures in the campo seem like one long steeplechase. We start with maps or directions from the internet to the ranchos. Our primary guide, however, continues to be a long out of print book, The Churches and Chapels of San Miguel de Allende by Robert de Gast, which lists the number of capillas in each community. Once we have found a particular community such as Los Guerrero, then it’s time to start scanning the horizon for the telltale bell tower that tops almost every capilla. Linda can drive and scan at the same time—amazing.
Today a senora passed by on her way to the center of town and greeted us. On her way back, after inspecting our paintings, she applauded. It was our first applause in the campo!
Los Guerrero (population: 63; dwellings: 10; 1880 meters; 100° 48’ 48.24” W, 21° 03’ 3.85” N).
© 2016 Lorie Topinka