Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Artist- Isabel Castañeda

English Version

Between the Dreams and Memories of Her Culture

Three times Isabel has painted the ruins of Machu

Picchu using acrylics, in different styles and each

with different colors.  And the llamas she met in

their natural habitat at 3,332 meters above the sea

level, are now shown on canvas with white skins,

which are in fact, multicolored.

The artist used to travel from Lima, the city where

she lived before coming to the United States, to the

land of her grandfather in the Peruvian highlands.

In that little town called Muqui, where currently only 1,171 inhabitants live, Isabel drank in

memories every year during her travelings withe her family. When she was a child, she loved to ride a

donkey and reap potatoes that grew there in hundreds of types and colors from that clean soil. She

used to contemplate the immensity of the mountains, the blue sky, and the crystal clear river. There

she learned to dance huayno (a genre of popular Andean Music and dance originally from the

Serranía mountains of Perú) with her grandfather. All of these things are part of Isabel’s


She discovered her artistic talent in elementary school in Peru, using her crayons and markers. When

she came to America to join her parents in 1992, she was 19 and had many dreams. "I’ve always

dreamed in vibrant and strong colors. I feel that those dreams during my childhood, adolescence and

even as an adult, are my sources of inspiration. Also, people I know in my daily life are my sources

of inspiration, my family, friends, and people I see walking on the streets. I see, I feel, I smell, I play,

I hear around me, therefore I am inspired, and my artistic spirit moves through such experiences in

my life."

Learn more about Isabel Castañeda in this video interview:

In 1999, Isabel received her first scholastic and artistic achievements in the United States. She

received her Associate Degree of Fine Arts, Magna Cum Laude, from the Northern Virginia

Community College in Virginia, (See more at her bio) Before graduating, "I was intrigued with the

photo of a Honduran girl and decided to make a portrait in acrylic. I never had painted a face in my

life. That portrait was awarded first place in painting in that year of graduation. I received a check of

motivation and a certificate of honor. I felt I was flying in the clouds and had also won me the

official title of artist”.
Regarding her work, the artist explains, "My style is realistic but I also like to compliment my

paintings with abstraction of my imagination. My palette is always full of warm colors like red,

purple, orange, magenta, and so forth." Hence she has painted animals such as passion red parrots,

horses with blue manes, and an eagle with feathers that look like they are on fire.

Amid the cultural diversity in Virginia where she lives now, where she has lived longer that in her

home homeland of Peru, emerged a story that marked her life. Mother and Baby, is the portrait of a

young Guatemalan mother carrying her child on her back. That woman reminded Isabel women from

her childhood years. "I gave a copy of that painting to an American couple. They were thinking of

traveling to Guatemala. The gift moved them to tears, since they were contemplating the idea of

adopting a little girl from Guatemala." The couple told her the gift made it very clear to proceed with

the adoption," says an excited Isabel.

"I'm learning that being an artist is not just a profession,

more than that, it is a tool to touch the hearts and lives of

people. What a great honor!” she concludes. Isabel

continues painting on a solid and heavy easel bought to

be used her lifetime. She lives in the state of Virginia.

She is a member of our Latino League of Greater 

Washington DC.

The Journalist/Artist
Member and blogger of  TLAL

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