In honor of Women’s History Month, Great Parks is celebrating eight local woman artists who find creative inspiration from the natural world around them.
Meet Lucia Del Bosque
Lucia Del Bosque is a self-taught painter from Mexico. Her paintings are a reflection of the many places she has lived, depicting plants, flowers and trees from Brussels to Brazil. She finds creative inspiration from her Latin American heritage, bright colors, and trees.
The views and opinions expressed in the interview are those of the artist and do not represent the views or positions of Great Parks.
Great Parks: Where do you find inspiration for your work?
Lucia Del Bosque: I find inspiration from nature. I love nature. I also find lots of inspiration from the places I visit. I have lived in three [other] countries. So, I also take inspiration from that.
GP: What countries have you lived in?
LB: I was born in Mexico. And I lived a couple of years in Belgium. Then five years in Brazil. And I have been living here for eight years now.
GP: Were the environments of all those places quite different?
LB: Yes, they are. For example, Belgium is a very humid country. Cold, rainy. So, the landscape is always green, beautiful flowers, foggy, beautiful trees. And in Mexico we have different types of landscapes. We have beautiful beaches. For example, Cancun. I love to paint Cancun. I have several paintings from Cancun. Also, we have these cacti in Mexico. I love cacti. I love the flower of cacti. And there’s a fruit called “tuna.” I have painted one cactus with the fruit, with the tunas. And Brazil is very exotic in nature. There, it’s so fertile that everything blooms! So, big leaves! Big trees! Very exotic flowers. Lots of colors. The fruits are all tropical fruits. And here, I love autumn. The fall, the colors in the fall. Everything is like painted by God. I love the fall colors. I also love the forests. I love to take walks in the forest and see the trunks of the trees, the mushrooms. Each place has its own things.
GP: What in life brought you to painting?
LB: Since I was a little girl, I loved to draw. All my notebooks had drawings, and I really wanted to get into art, but at that time in my country it was very expensive to take art classes. So, when I had my kids, I put them in art classes! And I always continued drawing. But when I moved to Brazil, there was … it was not school or art school. It was like a place where you can go and paint. In Portuguese it’s called “artelier.” It was in front of my kid’s school. So, I said, “This is destiny. Now it’s my time.” So, I started painting there and there was – I call her my guru – the teacher who was responsible for the space, I told her I had never painted! So, she said, “Do it as you feel it!” My first painting was tulips because I love tulips, and she directed [me] how to paint it. And I love it, and since then I have been painting. This was about 13 years ago. I started painting nature, and one day when I painted a tree she said, “You’re ready to make an exhibit.” And I said, “Oh my gosh! Really?” So, I painted some paintings of only trees, and that was my first exhibit. Then I moved here, and I continued painting. I started taking art classes. And I’m always teaching myself. Always, always. To learn more techniques, to learn different ways of painting.
GP: What are some other interesting artistic opportunities or important memories to you as an artist? In your creative process, in your career … ?
LB: I think painting has helped me a lot when moving because when you move to another country you have to learn the language, understand the culture. You miss your food, you miss your family, you miss the weather. So, for me, painting has been like a refuge because in it I find that I can express myself. My mind relaxes and I can express what I’m feeling, and I feel like I’m creating something. And I love when someone loves one of my paintings or buys one of my paintings because it takes a little bit of me with them. So, everything I paint has something behind it. I don’t paint only to paint. I have always said that art moves your soul. So, that’s why I paint. To move peoples’ souls. Because every person looks and feels something different with art. Art has helped me a lot. It’s like a therapy. And it’s a way to express myself, what I’m feeling, and what I want to show to the world.
GP: Why is it important to paint nature?
LB: I love our planet. I think, for example, every flower, every tree, every plant is like God’s art. Sometimes it’s so perfect that it inspires me so much to paint it. I feel so sad that we are destroying our planet. We have such a beautiful planet that is our only home, and we don’t take care of it. So [painting nature] is like a way of showing that we have such a treasure that we have to take care of, and you know, cherish it and treasure it!
GP: How do you want people to feel when they see your work? What do you want them to think about?
LB: I want them to feel happiness. And to become aware of our planet. To take better care of it and to really appreciate it and to move their souls.
GP: Does being a mother influence your artistic work or your practice?
LB: Yes, totally. Since I wanted my kids to be artists. I wanted them to feel that sensation that I feel every time I draw or I paint. I wanted them to feel that sensibility. I have two boys. They are not boys anymore now. They are grown up. But I wanted them to feel that … that it’s okay to feel sensitive. You know, if I want to paint a flower, even though I’m a man, I can do it! Why not?
GP: In addition to painting, how else do you spend your time?
LB: I love to cook.
GP: Cooking is an art form too, right?
LB: It is! It is! I always say that a chef is an artist.
GP: Are there artists that really inspire you?
LB: Yes. One of my favorites is Van Gogh. I love the way he painted. The flowy-ness in his paintings … it’s like they have movement. I love the colors. I love the … pincelada. What is the word for when you brush?
LB: Yes! The brushstroke. I love the way he uses his brushes. And I admire the way he painted even though at that time it was [considered] crazy. But he continued painting like that because he believed in what he was painting. And he loved his technique and so I really admire him.
O’Keefe. I love her work! I love it. Especially the abstract ones that she painted. I love them.
Another one I love and admire a lot is Frida Kahlo. I admire how she transformed her suffering into art.
GP: Anything else you’d like to share about your artwork or artistic practice?
LB: I always like to paint colorfully. With vibrant colors because I want to show my heritage, my Latin side. Because I come from a country where everything is colorful. We try to [express] happiness with our food, with our art. My country is full of artists. We have beautiful art. Food is another kind of art. Mexican food. Not tacos. I’m not talking about tacos. Gourmet Mexican food! It’s an art. Our architecture is very unique and important. There are many Mexican architects. I want to show the people a little bit of my country with my colors, with my paintings.
GP: Can you tell us why sharing about your Mexican heritage is so special to you?
LB: Well, I was raised in Mexico City. Mexico City is a very cultural city. I believe it’s the city with the most museums in the world. So, since I was a little girl, I used to go to museums. Since then, I had that connection with art, even though I didn’t know at that time I wanted to paint. In Mexico City, art is always around. Always. With museums, with exhibits in the streets, with the colors. For example, the Day of the Dead. It’s a very colorful tradition. So, I think all that influenced me to paint what I paint now. Because I grew up looking at colors everywhere.
GP: Speaking of colors, I first saw your work at an exhibit called Colores, which was an art show at the Cincinnati Interfaith Workers Center featuring the art of local Latin American artists. What was that experience like for you?
LB: It was great. You know being an immigrant, it’s not easy. You always have one foot in your home country and one foot where you are. And you’re trying to bloom where you are! So, to be with [the other artists] showing our art, it was like a recognition of what we have lived to get here, you know? To show what we do in our foreign country. And, in my special case, I have been very welcomed here. I always feel very grateful, and I was very happy to show my art while feeling this gratefulness of being so welcomed here because I love living here in Cincinnati.
Lucia Del Bosque is one of the local artists whose artwork will be on display at Instinct: Woman-Made, Nature-Inspired, a nature-themed art show happening March 31 and April 1, 2023 at Fernbank Park.
Nature Interpreter, Miami Whitewater Forest