San Martin of Nicoya Opens Doors to Painting

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Since November of 2014, the Miguel Alan Gallery and Workshop has been offering painting classes to the people of Nicoya in order to encourage art in the canton.

Alan, who has been dedicated to painting and art for more than 30 years, teaches people the basic concepts of drawing, as well as the different techniques and styles that he has learned throughout his career.

“I teach the students the basic techniques of drawing from composition, harmony, blurring, knowing how to sketch pictures, vanishing points, horizons and foliage,” explained Alan.

Twenty-two Nicoyan students study in his gallery, located across from the ICE plant in the San Martin neighborhood. Six of these students are of limited means, and when Alan saw their talent and desire to learn, he decided to give them training at no cost.

The Nicoyan artist describes himself as self-taught because he says that he has assimilated 60% of what he knows by himself. His favorite styles are realism and surrealism. He paints murals and also teaches pastels, acrylics, oil, watercolor, pencil and other techniques.

In the workshop, students receive most of the supplies for making their creations. Alan uses materials ranging from canvas, stretchers, easels, color palettes and paint brushes.

Luis Aguilar is one of the Nicoyans who decided to venture into the world of painting and after two months of studying with Alan, he knows how to sketch and paint landscapes with oil paints.

“I come [to the gallery] once a week, and even though I work, I take the time for art and painting. Miguel has taught me a lot,” Aguilar said.

Another regular student at the gallery is Mariangel Rodriguez, just four years old, who has already been coming for six months and since then, paints everything she imagines in color.

The classes are a real therapy for this young one because, when she was 2 years old, she was diagnosed with leukemia (a type of cancer of the blood), so between trips to the National Children’s Hospital for chemotherapy, going to the gallery is a complete distraction for her.