He Was Told Not to Paint Mexico
In 1963 the Director of Grand Central Galleries refused to show Hulings' work unless he changed his subject matter: "Don’t paint mules or donkeys and don’t paint laundry…Don’t paint cathedrals. Only Catholics buy pictures of cathedrals so you’re automatically limiting your market. Don’t paint Mexico."
He Paid No Attention
During the Gallery Director’s lecture a woman bought the painting Hulings had brought with him: a Mexican scene of vendors and donkeys in front of a church.
“One Christmas we were driving around when we came upon this scene. It was quite cold—sweater weather, as you can see….”
"That little man cutting up the fruit wasn’t at all happy to have me there staring at him, taking roll after roll of photos to be sure to catch him in the best gesture. To keep placating him, I bought a good deal more pineapple and watermelon than I needed."
"In places where there are open markets in the middle of town, there is no room for the donkeys, so they are left in what I call ‘donkey parking lots’ somewhere on the outskirts."
"Taxco, Mexico cascades down the sides of a steep, amphitheater-shaped hill to the cathedral at its center. This lady has a long daily climb back home from the market. She has stopped to rest and chat with her granddaughter, who is doing her homework."
"It was two o’clock in the afternoon. The sun was high and the market was over. I found a place where all the people and animals would have to pass. I made myself inconspicuous and waited."
Pink Parasol Lady
"Strangely enough, the lady carrying the pink parasol never went down this road. I found her somewhere else."
Clark Hulings painted all over Mexico for forty years.
He drove through the tiniest of villages, and the largest of cities, absorbing the potent and sometimes surprising mixture of sophistication, humor, determination and fatalism of its people, and capturing their warmth and the depth of timeless existence.