Earlier in the year I got a call that stopped me in my tracks as it was from a young living master painter that I regard very highly for his draftsmanship and entrepreneurship. As I saw the caller ID I wondered what in the world could he be calling me for? Did I offend him on Social Media? Did he need my help for something? Was he inviting me to an exhibition? No, he was answering my prayers for an opportunity to learn from this young master. Let me tell you what an amazing experience and the great outcome from that call and how being at the right place at the right time can set you on a great path.
Cesar knew that I was hounding him on Social Media to do a workshop locally in South Florida or give me private lessons at almost any cost. Having a tight schedule between doing his own work, lectures and public speaking and not to mention workshops all over the western hemisphere of the globe it was tough to convince him. FInally some great miracle from above gave favor to myself and 5 other talented local artist and Cesar called us to invite us to come to his studio and learn first hand, his technique, tips and tricks one week from the date. Wow, talk about short notice! How do you even hesitate on an opportunity of a lifetime? My response was an irrevocable YES! Not thinking what my schedule would look like, if I had the funds for the workshop available, or where it was.
The week passed and before I knew it I was showing up at his eccentric and classical studio being greeted by him and his lovely wife Valentina. I met the other artists as they arrived and there was an immediate friendly atmosphere with no pressure no awkward moments etc. Cesar immediately got us working knowing we only had three days and boy it was hang unto your easel! Everyone worked from photo reference that had to be pre-approved by Cesar himself. It was quite refreshing how openly he shared with us his very simplified palette and technique to achieve luminous flesh tones.
During the three days there was so much laughter and story telling among all the artist as we worked closely together. Cesar being the ringleader, it was like painting at the Improv with a musical performance included, more on that later! Needless to say great friendships were made that day, the likes of Oscar Montoya, Mike Bernal, Mercedes Cisneros and her sister plus Luz Maria-Christian. I also discovered through them a great new Art Renewal Center approved Atelier called Chiaroscuro Studio of Art in Miami which I am now proudly enrolled in thus the unexpected part of the workshop.
On the third day we all let loose and all bets were off, we discovered Cesar listens to all genres of music including Bollywood and he even pulled out a middle eastern or indian drum and played a piece for us. That got him worked up and next thing you know we have Luz Maria on a guitar he pulled out Cuba bongos and they're playing a piece with Luz Maria singing. What more can one ask for? Just goes to show the giving and entertaining nature of this magnificent and talented artist. The other remarkable thing was how quickly everyone was able to progress through their paintings despite all the wonderful distractions. Cesar was vigilant on our progress throughout the whole time .
Needless to say what I cherished most of the workshop was memories of laughter and camaraderie that we shared, the friendships that were made and technique I gained in just three days. The experience made me reflect on the fact life is too short and the need for more of all of the above while we still can. Life is precious, we shouldn't waste the gifts we have been given and opportunities with the people that come into our lives. See the painting I created, Michelle, during this workshop on my website at http://www.santiagoperezart.com