An Artist’s Date with Adela Breton

Celebrating Easter Sunday with a walk around Bristol in the sunshine. I usually travel everywhere by bike so today I decided to slow down and just walk. I stopped and looked at things a little more closely than usual. The bees in the flowers. The ripples on the water from boats passing. Signs on buildings I’ve never seen before. Dogs walking their people! It was a quiet Sunday but I still managed to bump into a familiar face and we walked together. We walked and talked along the docks and parted as we reached the centre of town. I made my way to Bristol Museum to see their latest exhibition.

Adela Breton: Ancient Mexico in Colour

In the late 1800’s, archeological artist and adventurer, Adela Breton, travelled around Mexico with her guide Pablo Solorio making copies of the wall paintings in temples in Chichén Itzá, Teotihuacan and Acancéh. She painted the copies with watercolours which still hold their vibrancy today as the original wall paintings begin to fade over time. 

"Adela Breton always carried a sketchbook with her, giving a 'diary' of her travels. This one has sketches of landscapes, flowers and ruins of Mexico and Canada. It includes sketches made on her climb up the volcano of Iztaccihuatl, in snow and across glaciers, up to 15,000 feet above sea level - Adela Breton also carried a notebook at all times, and made notes of lectures, objects she saw in museums, and books she read." Bristol Museum

I was especially drawn to Adela’s sketchbooks of the places she visited on her travels. I have kept sketchbooks for many years and am mostly inspired to draw when I’m travelling and sitting in cafes. In the last couple of years I've been sketching antique netsuke from museums to make a collection of mini woodblock prints. Today after walking in the sunshine and looking through the sketchbooks of Adela Breton, I was eager to sit down, open my own sketchbook and take in my surroundings. The cafe where I was having lunch was the perfect spot. 

When I finished my lunch and my sketch, I walked home remembering the paragraph from Julia Cameron’s book Walking in this World.

“Walking and talking humanize my life, draw it to an ancient and comforting scale. We live as we move, a step at a time, and there is something in gentle walking that reminds me of how I must live if I am to savour this life that I have been given.” Julia Cameron
 Clockwise from top left: Landscape from Adela Breton's sketchbook. Landscape from Adela Breton's sketchbook. Adela Breton's notebook of the Maya calendar. All three from Bristol Museum. A sketch I made today at Pinkman's Bakery, Bristol. 

Clockwise from top left: Landscape from Adela Breton's sketchbook. Landscape from Adela Breton's sketchbook. Adela Breton's notebook of the Maya calendar. All three from Bristol Museum. A sketch I made today at Pinkman's Bakery, Bristol.