Artists/The How To: Iive, paint, play in Mexico
So here I was at the crossroads of life, fumbling around trying to find my “so called self”. My body & mind were going through the motions more or less and I was responding to events, people and situations in a somewhat predictable manner but then I discovered the Baja. When I arrived in Cabo for the first time in 1991, it became so obvious that I had been dreaming a life, then voila, upon waking up, the real life was exactly here where I was standing. Although I had traveled extensively throughout my adult life, I was not prepared for the Baja. I believe there are places on earth that can have that effect. The early 90’s Cabo was a relatively unknown factor on the travel scene and although the Hollywood crowd was familiar with it, the world hadn’t discovered it– as yet. To me, it awoke a mysterious force which would have its way with me one way or another.
We were hooked on Cabo from the moment we landed. Charming in its own way, we loved the rustic buildings, dirt streets with the chickens and children running about, the bougainvillea and cactus which are stunningly beautiful and everywhere you look. The airport at that time was only open during daylight hours and comprised one rickety old building and one small runway used for both takeoffs and landings. There is an incredible peace you can actually feel, once away from the airport and town, the silence is deafening out in the desert. The airport is located near San Jose and there was a badly potholed 2 lane road which took you the 35 miles along the Sea of Cortez to Cabo San Lucas.
The big appeal in Cabo was the big game fishing and of course the weather, which by the way is perfect 9 months of the year. Of course the margaritas were and are a huge draw for tourists looking for a way to blow off steam in a safe but exotic atmosphere.
In some ways, I believe we didn’t choose to go to Cabo so much as it chose us to be there. We’ve discovered that after returning a few times, Cabo gets in the blood, you’re addicted to the easy way of life, the warmth and the quiet peace which seeps into you, it gets much harder to return to “normal”.
Apart from a small studio run by an artist from Texas, there were no art galleries in Cabo San Lucas. My now mentor/artist/travel companion Chris MacClure quickly found a gift store to sell some small pieces he painted while we were there, but as a professional artist for over 40 years, he saw the innate potential in Los Cabos. The way one felt in the 50’s or 60’s is how it felt in Baja and that freedom feeling is intoxicating and contagious and everyone we spoke with felt it too, it was just a matter of time before this “hidden gem” would be discovered by the world.
I was just learning to paint and the atmosphere there was working its magic in my soul. At some point, I became aware that the urge to paint was beginning to override any other considerations and we soon found ourselves discussing ideas to move to Los Cabos permanently. Sitting on a beach late one afternoon we were watching the sea as the sun set behind us and we turned as the last rays caught a lone cactus silhouetted against the sky. It was glowing so brightly that golden rays of light beamed out from it. At that moment the name of our soon to be studio/gallery came to both of us at the same time. We would call it The Golden Cactus Gallery.
“Nothing is so powerful as an idea whose time is come”. Victor Hugo
Learning the art of living and doing business in a foreign country was about to begin in earnest.
Tune into the next blog for details on’ how to’ or more specifically ‘how not to”.
Adios for now Marilyn