But this isn't about that Fernando Botero. This is about the other Fernando Botero who lives here in Villa de Leyva.
The other Fernando Botero is also an artist, however he is known around here for his warm smile and for his beautiful oil paintings of landscapes, particularly of scenes in and around this picturesque town. He is often found in the plaza with his art portfolios in hand, not to sell or show off his work, but to take advantage of moments that arise and spark inspiration. The second night I was here I witnessed him in the center of the plaza, surrounded by a group of wide-eyed children listening to him intently as he gave a free lesson on transferring their creativity to paper. He then handed each of them paper and pencils and they went to work.
A couple days later I met him and his friend Lina, and instantly became friends with both. These are two of the most kind-hearted people I have ever met.
Last week Fernando showed me the town through his eyes. This was a spontaneous date that started after we spotted each other in the plaza and decided to take a walk together. We started with "Los 17 Metros de Color" (The 17 Meters of Color). What could this be? He wouldn't explain more, but instead led me to a street corner and requested that I look up. We then began taking big steps (pricicely 1 meter each), counting as we went until we reached 17. Sure enough, my entire peripheral was filled with bright violet-magenta colors for the entire 17 meters. We were looking up into up into a beautiful display of lilacs cascading over the wall.
How often have you walked like this with your neck craned back and your eyes looking up instead of forward or down? What a brilliant perspective! I suppose this is what it's like to see a street corner through the eyes of an artist.
After this he led me to a couple places in town where his work is on display. All along the way we were greeted by people of all ages, happy to see Fernando. After 25 years living here, he is known and adored by many. His gentle spirit is easy to love.
Here are some other pieces by Mr. Botero:
I love the depth he creates with shadows and these corner pieces:
I was honored to be invited to the place where these works are created. Behind a big locked door just off the plaza lies a little sanctuary where Fernando and two other artists share a courtyard and each have their own studio:
The artist at work:
Simply amazing. Thank you for showing me your world Mr. Fernando Botero.