San Miguel – Origins of the Artist Colony

San Miguel is well known as an artist colony. This started after World War II when many American and Canadian soldiers came to San Miguel to study art under the American GI Bill and a similar Canadian program. Among the arriving artists were Canadians, Leonard and Reva Brooks. Leonard developed a love of painting and music at an early age. He served in the army as a war artist painting the movements of an aircraft carrier in the waters of Scotland and the activities of mine sweepers and motor torpedo boats in the English Channel off Normandy. After the war, he and his wife were impoverished and decided to move to San Miguel under the Canadian version of the GI Bill. When they arrived in 1947, San Miguel was a small, backward town. They describe the taxi that picked them up as having three tires filled with air and one filled with straw. The hotel room where they first stayed cost $4 per month. Reva went on to become a noted photographer and Leonard a well known painter and violinist. He wrote many books on painting technique and taught violin. Later in the week, we are going to a concert featuring two of his students.

An exhibit of the works of the Brooks is featured in one of the galleries this month.
Reva’s niece is giving several history lectures about her family this week. He was a very prolific artist, and a collection of his works is still held in the family home in San Miguel.
Our son David and his wife Harumi visited us for the last week. On their last night we had dinner at sunset at the rooftop restaurant Antonia’s Bistro. We hope they enjoyed their visit as much as we did.
The church at the top of Canal. I think these are the bells we hear each morning.
Antonia’s is located several buildings up the hill from our house so we had a nice view of our rooftop (the one with the umbrella).
Most people were probably there for the view of the Parroquia.

3 thoughts on “San Miguel – Origins of the Artist Colony”

  1. I’m so glad Leonard and Reva Brooks and other artists decided to make San Miguel their home! What fascinating people! I’ll bet the lectures are interesting! Glad your son and daughter in law got to visit!

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