I’ve spent countless nights lying awake trying to compose this post. Phenomenal artist and my mentor, Lou Maestas started walking the streets of gold on April 20th. It was by far the most difficult goodbye I’ve ever had to say. So many questions keep running through my head with things I wish I would have asked, learned, and verified.
Lou Maestas Demo
A Tribute to a Modern Master
At the Tubac School of Fine Art LLC, we endeavor to pay tribute and honor a man who was overwhelmed by inspiration and generosity of spirit to share with the world the beauty we can only express through art. In the short time Lou Maestas’ lived in Tubac, he touched hundreds of students and peers with his passion and love for creativity.
Known for his oil rub-out paintings primarily of the southwest and the Native Americans which influenced his life, Lou graciously shared his knowledge and guidance to everyone he met. Lou had a way of endearing his students and empowering them with his encouragement. He brought together a community of artists who know everyone’s need for beauty, and who have a yearning to share their passion for art with others. He shared his experience, tricks of the trade, and his personal techniques in a way that made you feel special- like he was filling you in on some magical formula that no one else knew and he was going to share it with YOU. It was like he gave me the super-rich experience of a lifetime career in art in a brief, condensed version and I will be forever grateful.
Modern Master Lou Maestas demoing during Tubac Art Festival
How Lou Maestas Touched my Life
The first time I met with him and shared my desire to start a journey into fine art, he proclaimed I would become an artist, no matter what. He ascertained this knowledge after a quick glance of my sketchbooks
, and it was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. That first year I attended classes every Monday morning, they would often extend into the afternoon. Rarely was it a week before I would be consulting with him, receiving progress critiques and gleaning as much knowledge as possible. That Spring, I committed to an intensive program of private lessons and learned a great deal. He shared his art knowledge with me unabashedly from the very beginning and right through to the very end.
For me, it was Lou’s belief in me that gave me the confidence to explore my desire to create. I have three Moleskine notebooks I filled with notes from my time learning with Lou. Whenever I am stuck, I pull these notes out, and as I flip the pages and picture the project we were working on or the demonstration he was sharing or even the wisdom lessons he loved to tell,
I can still hear him saying, “feel the fear and do it anyway,” “values, values, values…then any color will do,” “what color is this?” always making me think it through.
Something really unique about Lou is that when he got excited about something, He was all in; there was no waiting for the following week’s class to share something he’d been inspired by. It was a quick phone call saying, “Come on over, I want to show you something.” It wasn’t just me that he did this with; it was his core group of artists that felt so secure beneath his wings. One time, in particular, he had seven of us pile into his little trailer to watch the ending scene of the movie The Benny Goodman Story because he had found it so inspiring. Of course, there were times when you’d want to pinch his head off too. He knew how to play the temperamental artist role. Lou also had a flair for storytelling and exaggeration. He was very charismatic in that way. Some of his stories were so preposterous they either had to be true or you knew he was blowin’ smoke the get your attention.
A Modern Master
He was a modern master, eager to share the beauty he saw in everyday life. He taught others to share it too. That is Lou Maestas’ legacy.