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Winters in San Miguel Mexico allow one to follow the sun, eat and live well and enjoy people and ideas from around the world. This is our fourth winter here and again it is the people and activities that draw us. Where else could one attend a violin concert by a young talented American, a top notch 1950’s French film, a reading of a Neil Simon Play, all in three days. Yes, San Miguel has it all. There are great restaurants, gift shops, street dancing by visiting Aztecs, architecture that will take your breath away (see Parroquia above) and art studios with some of the most stunning work by artists from many countries. My walls are over-burdened with art I can’t resist. After four years, I thought I had seen it all. But the city that always amazes me did it again. This winter, I was blessed (yes, blessed) with meeting two amazing people who not only paint beautifully but bring the great artists of France to visitor’s attention. For someone who spent twenty five years lecturing on the great artists of Paris in the twenties, I finally met my match. Two people, young enough to have been my students have opened my eyes and actually put me in my place. Had they taught where I taught, I would have taken the rear of their stage.
Let me tell you a few things about Béa Aaronson and Stephan Eaker. He was brought up in North Carolina. She was born in Paris and while they are both accomplished artists they are extremely talented when it comes to lecturing or should I say performing. Her post graduate education (Sorbonne) certainly helps. These two artists know their subjects and those who do attend go away having learned a great deal. Their aim is to bring the great artists of France to the attention of their audience and it all takes place at Casa Verde, their home and studio. Some of the great names they bring to light are Matisse, Picasso, Modigliani, Chaim Soutine, Jean Cocteau, Chagall, Cézanne, Van Gogh and Monet.
Béa Aaronson Stephan Eaker
The two artists have a way of presenting their material so that the audience is captured and filled with stories that make their subjects come to life. I particularly enjoyed their explanation of the contribution to art made by the Stein Family (Gertrude, Michael and Sarah) and the contribution to poetry, film and theatre made by Cocteau. They explained that even though these particular greats came from moneyed families, they lived the lives they had to live whether for art, personal pleasure or bringing new ideas and ways of seeing to a wide public.
Not only did I enjoy what they said and how they said it but I kept thinking of how much better a teacher I might have been had I met them many years ago. French culture still lives in this interesting studio. There are even lectures and recreations of grand French cuisine with recreations of the gastronomy of the table of Louis XIV.
But aside from their knowledge and performance-like methods, they are themselves great innovators. A tour of their studio-home shows their many efforts to create new and exciting modes of art presentation. Their upstairs floors display various styles of abstract, surrealistic and dazzling experiments.
Bea is ‘anti-style’ and ‘anti-authoritarian’. Her life is a collage and the French tinged voice is nothing more than charming.
Stephen is truly creative as can be seen in his hard pressing of a sheet on a fresh oil to ’print’ a reverse image, a one of a kind original.
Yes, I felt very much in France because of these dynamic people. They helped make my holiday memorable and I know I shall see them again.
For those who plan a trip to San Miguel, buy a copy of ATTENCION, a Friday newspaper, in English that lists all the events of the week, day by day.