Efren González is a man on the move. For the past year, the artist has frequently been absent from his Ajijic studio-gallery, traveling to show his work and attend workshops both as an experienced teacher and a student keen to hone his skills.
This week, González departed for a month-long journey to Portugal planned around a stopover in Porto, where he will spend five days teaching a watercolor workshop.
His frenzied globetrotting started in September last year, with a trip to Tofino, British Columbia where he was invited to teach a series of painting classes. His winter itinerary included exhibits in Puerto Vallarta and La Manzanilla.
Last April, González toured Texas to show his paintings at galleries in Houston and Austin. In June he took an exploratory trip to Chicago where he was introduced to Javier Laguna Calderón, director of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Méxcio’s extension in that city. The encounter led to arrangements to showcase the artist’s work in a December exhibit at the UNAM Cultural Center.
On the way home from Illinois, González touched down in Dallas for yet another gallery show.
He hit the road again in August, heading to Petaluma, California to study the Cape School method of painting light under renowned plein-air colorist Camille Przewodek. He says the techniques he learned prompted revelations and a new approach to applying light in his work.
Once he returns from Europe, González will hunker down in Ajijic to start work on the second section of his skull wall, the ceramic memorial mural he installed last year on the exterior of the Marcos Castellanos primary school, across from the church. The extension will wrap around the corner onto Calle Parroquia, covering up the fading mural he painted above the school’s entrance 16 years ago. The skull plaques will be illuminated with candles for the Day of the Dead celebration on November 2. González will then take off again for a series of exhibits and teaching commitments in Jalisco and the United States.