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My First Amate Bark Painting

I’ve always loved the Mexican traditional art form of Amate Bark Painting. Whenever my Mom and I would travel to her home country of Mexico, we would make a direct line for the fabulous markets where these gorgeous handmade paintings were sold. We’ve collected quite a few between the two of us. ❤

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The scenes are usually of village life, showing weddings, farming, people out shopping, and the amazing natural scenery of Mexico like volcanoes, mountains, cactus plants, and rivers. And, of course, the centerpiece of life – the sun.

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It was my Mom who suggested that I try combining the traditional Amate style with my own Lupita painting style. The Amate style is handmade on tree bark, usually with acrylic paints and ink. In this case, my painting is created by me drawing with an Apple Pencil on my iPad using the design program Procreate.  I left the software frame on these close-ups so you could see a bit of how it works and all the many layers of color involved.

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Two completely different approaches, but in the end, the same bright colors and feeling of celebration and joy. I learned so much making this first painting as far as technique, color, and how to use the vertical space on the page. I felt more connected to my Mexican family and to my Mom while I painted. I’m so glad I took her advice and tried something completely new.

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Blessings,

Emily Lupita

Artist & Author

Emily Lupita Studio

 

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View From My Art Desk: Creating An Online Artwork Gallery

The Design Process:

I’m embarking on the first part of a long-term goal to archive all of my paintings and present them in a new online gallery. I currently have a gallery with Fine Art America, but I’m thinking I would like to have one that I curate myself on my own website as well. I wanted to share my process for creating it – a sort of behind the scenes look as it comes together. It will be a long process but I think it’s time to get started on it.

The first step is to create a template for the images. I decided to use my watercolor portrait of my mother, Juana Maria, as my test image. This is how the template design started:

Juanita in a Blue Dress_Gallery Photo

This process has taken some time and is challenging because I’m looking to create the best balance between the information I need to display and the artwork itself. There needs to be a title, my name, my studio name & website, plus a copyright mark in addition to the image.

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I decided the first design was too colorful, so I took out all the color (except for the Lupita), but still too many distractions from the painting itself. I then went to full black and white for the info, playing around with the shades of gray in each area.

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Still too many distractions for the eye…so I took out the flowers and immediately loved the change.

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A few final touches – took out the ”  ” around the title, resized everything to one inch distances, took out the butterfly…then put it back again.

Juanita in a Blue Dress_Gallery Photo

Then I tried it out with several different pieces of art to make sure it will translate across projects.

Silver Dapple Dachshund with Wings_Gallery PhotoSan Cristobal Landscape #1_Gallery PhotoStar Covered Kimono 1_Gallery PhotoI Believe I Can Fly_Gallery Photo

And there I have my template. Whew…it took a lot longer than I expected, but I’m glad I experimented and found a design that works best for my artwork overall. Next up – scanning all my paintings (there’s still a drawer full not yet scanned), digitally archiving them, and placing each image into the template to upload into my gallery.

Sending wishes for a beautiful day,

~Emily Lupita

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