The maguey, or century plant, is one of the symbols of life in Mexico. The people used to use the pencas, the large leaves coming from the base of the plant, to obtain fibers for rope making. The ixtle was also used to make durable bags, and other useful items. Now, one particular type is planted for the making of mezcal, a famous Mexican liquor. Unfortunately, mezcal has led to the undoing of many homes. Nevertheless, it is a beautiful plant that comes in many varieties. Some have many spines, some few. Some have broad pencas, others narrow. Some grow very large and others remain small. They vary in shades of green, some being almost blue.
This painting has to be one of my favorites. It presently hangs over my desk and I don’t tire of looking at it. I was fascinated by how this maguey looked at night, lit on one side by an outdoor light. I love how it’s blueness shows up in the large green pencas.
I usually prefer to use brushes, but this painting begged for a palette knife to spread the colors in long swatches, just like the long pencas of the maguey.
Someday I hope to paint other pictures of magueys as symbols of my “other country”, Mexico.