Until recently, I had never heard of Macondo, but I’m grateful that I came upon a pastel painting on Instagram, of all places, titled It Still Rains in Macondo (shown below). The faces of the boys in the painting held my attention, not to mention the fact that their life jackets looked more like bulletproof vests. I had to know more.
I reached out to the artist, Sharon Pomales Tousey (@sharonpomalestousey), who is here today to tell us about it. You might recognize the title of the painting as a reference to the book “One Hundred Years of Solitude.”
“In Garcia Marquez’s magical realist masterpiece, Macondo was a place of absurd situations that reminded me of actual real ones we live in today,” Sharon says. Read her guest blog post here to be moved by the story of these boys; it’s one you won’t soon forget.
Sharon goes on to also share her inspiring advice for other artists, including, among other gems, “Let your work be your voice.”
Yours in art,
Aun llueve en Macondo (It still rains in Macondo)
by Sharon Pomales Tousey
The title of this painting is based on the book “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. These were children I met and befriended 11 years ago in their hometown of Piñones (Loiza) in Puerto Rico. The one smiling was the closest to me. His brother, not in the painting, and who was only two years older, was a good but troubled kid and was always with his little brother until he got involved with drug dealers and was gunned down at the age of 15. In Garcia Marquez’s magical realist masterpiece, Macondo was a place of absurd situations that reminded me of actual real ones we live in today.
On Painting It Still Rains in Macondo
It Still Rains in Macondo is the largest pastel I have painted yet (44 x 40 in.). It is the first time I painted a pastel on wood, and I really loved it! I used Rembrandt soft pastels, PanPastel, and an assortment of pastel pencils for the smallest fine details. The composition is triangular. The triangle begins on the lower left with a boy smiling at the viewer. His smile invites you in; his face and eyes denote innocence, kindness, and a sweet disposition, in spite of the impending rain coming his way.
To reference Macondo’s story in my painting and create the mood I wanted to convey, I painted a stormy gray sky and a look of loss and longing on the face of the boy at the peak of the triangle. On the right, the triangle ends with the third boy anxiously licking/biting his lip; there’s tension on his face. To add to the absurdity and irony of the situation, I painted black bulletproof vests on the boys instead of puffy colorful lifejackets.
In A Hundred Years of Solitude it rained nonstop in Macondo for almost five years, which caused immense destruction and suffering. In my Macondo of Puerto Rico, it is still raining, metaphorically. Sadly, the rain seems to fall only over the poorest, those in the central mountainous towns, those in the western, southern, and eastern coastal “barrios,” those in Vieques and Culebra. It is absurd that right in the middle of the San Juan metropolitan area, near luxury hotels and million-dollar apartments, there are places like Piñones in Loiza and Cantera in Santurce where social inequality is so much more apparent, and there are people, like these children, who are living amongst drugs and violence, without a functioning sewage system, without clean drinkable water, and some without electricity, even before the recent hurricane devastation occurred. This is Macondo, and it still rains.
My advice to artists just starting out:
- Work hard, be disciplined and committed. Double, if you are self-taught like me.
- Do not give up when you face rejection; we all face rejection sometime. Instead, make more, bigger, better art and keep trying. Remember, those who rejected you are only people who happened to be chosen to give their opinion. They might be right sometimes, but they are not gods or supreme masters of the art universe.
- Join art societies and organizations that embrace and support artists like you.
- Never stop learning and improving.
- Let your work be your voice — be loud, no fear, don’t whisper; the world wants to hear you!
Additional oil and pastel paintings by Sharon Pomales Tousey:
Sharon Pomales Tousey is a realist contemporary artist, born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Since moving to Bay Village, Ohio, in 2012 she has exhibited at various galleries, institutions, and museums worldwide. Her work can be found in collections across the United States and Puerto Rico. Sharon is a member of the International Guild of Realism, Allied Artists of America, and American Women Artists, and she is a signature member of the Pastel Society of America and of the National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society. She teaches painting at BayArts in Bay Village and is represented by Lovetts Fine Art Gallery in Tulsa, OK.
Learn how to paint portraits from life with Creating Portraits From Life With Patricia Watwood: