Open Studio’2016: People+Palms – Açai

In the Open Studio of this year I will be presenting some of my work in progress (wip), series of work that I have started but it is still in development. One of the big projects for the future is my series of People and Palms: it is a series of paintings and watercolour illustrations in homage of this wonderful and symbolic plant. It is a collaborative work with my friend Lucia Prado, anthropologist and ethno-botanist, who have worked for almost 25 years with indigenous communities in Colombia. She wrote her master research about how indigenous communities in the Amazon (the Tikunas) are related with different varieties of palms. For the Tikunas, palms are not only nutritious food (fruits and seeds), but also, a source of materials and a symbolic being in their cosmogony, legends and rituals.

This has been a slow process for me, thus I have used both watercolours, for small sketches and oils for the big paintings.  It suits me… because it gives me time to evolve and learn throughout the process. The first thing I did was to get familiar with the “movement” of the palm leaves by painting my own palms. I used colour on black paper. This gave a sense of how the leaves move and how they are articulated with each other:


Then I did some small paintings to start getting to grips to the palms.  Indeed, I started with the Acai, a very popular palm, now being considered one of the super-foods. So, I wanted to see how it is, I did some in watercolours and the small oil paintings.


Watercolours and oil paint by Beatriz Acevedo Art’2016

It has been a very playful process, because I also have been interested in the inner life of the palms, i.e. the inner composition of the stalks and the inner rings.

Original Drawings, Beatriz Acevedo Art.


After this I decided to go to the bigger painting (80*80 cm) which has been transformed from the first version to what is now happening. The first version was taken as if I was looking the palm in front of me at the same height… but after going to Colombia I realised that one looks at the palms from below, so they curve up in the air. That was an epiphany as it provides the element of depth and a 3D approach to the painting… I was so happy!

Beatriz acevedo Art. Copyright. 2016

This palm is very special, because for my friend, this was the first encounter of her with the palms. She saw people using the berries for a juice, and she was so thirsty and desperate to taste this succulent berry. The palm is also a source of material, for construction, the leaves are also used, and also it has some nice stories, related to the origin of the tikunas. Finally, it is said that for love, you can take a shower of acai flowers in the new moon… how lovely is that!

Some other palms are also being developed. But I will leave it here, so you can come and enjoy the amazing world of palms in my Open Studio.


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