purepecha_woman_28_07_10_smallHere’s a sketch I did either in the airport or on the plane back from Morelia last June. Well, it was certainly finished on the plane, I think. You will recall that I was in Mexico to give some lectures on string theory at a quantum gravity school (see here and here and the related posts links below). As part of the practice and experimentation I was doing at the time (for The Project), I was drawing interesting faces, sometimes from photographs, like for this one. You just hold the photo in one hand (this one on the screen of my camera) and sketch it. I was working on a 8.5inx11in sketchpad with a charcoal pencil, I think. (I was trying to be quick, and I think it was about 15 or 20 minutes work.) The photo was taken a day or two before in the village of Pátzcuaro. I think I’d mentioned my visit there to you in an earlier post, but had showed you no images except some clocks.

Well, a funny/nice thing happened. The guy sitting next to me two seats over spoke up at some point when I was finishing it off. He asked me whether it was a Purépecha (or P’urhépecha) woman. I was unsure what he meant at first until he began to explain and then I recalled that the Purépecha are the people indigenous to that region of Mexico (Pátzcuaro is in the larger state of Michoacán). So I said I imagine she is, since I saw her in the village of Pátzcuaro. He was pleased by this because that was in fact the town where his father was from, and he knows the woman in the drawing well. He was just visiting there, returning to LA. I was pleased that he recognized her from the drawing (the model photo was not present when he’d looked over), which means that I successfully captured something, and we chatted for a while about the people and the music of the region.


This sketch is copyright Clifford V. Johnson, all rights reserved.

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4 Responses to Purépecha

  1. Ele Munjeli says:

    Very good. I like the looseness of the line in this one, and it still looks solid anatomically, mechanically.

  2. Carol&Co says:

    Awesome detail. cmj+

  3. Clifford says:

    sketchA comment from reader Amy:

    “I couldn’t figure out how to attach a jpeg to a commment on your blog, but LOOK! This is an old sketch my mom did of Lupe, who’s from the area of Jaliso, just north of Michoacan. Isn’t it eerie how similar they are? Same nose. I bet Lupe has some Purépecha in her line somewhere!”

    (Click to enlarge…)

  4. Clifford says:

    Amy – this is a lovely sketch!