“Ultimately I find that nature itself is the best gift we have in this life,” said Adorable Monique, the Fort Myers Beach Public Library’s December Artist of the Month! “I love and value nature because of my upbringing. I am originally from Honduras, where we embrace nature, as it is full of rainforests and nature trails, and water is a blessing. Everything is so beautiful there, that nature became very important to me. I want my artwork to represent the beauty of nature, to create a consciousness for the viewer. I hope those who see my exhibit will learn that my love of nature speaks to them through my artwork, to enjoy and comprehend the responsibility we have to take care of our environment.”
In addition to nature, women play a strong role in her artwork. “Women, through the act of giving birth, bring life to our earth every bit as much as nature, so the two in that way are very similar, as nature to me is Mother Earth! I portray women through their dreams and goals, in a way that pays homage to them. Again, this comes from my Honduras childhood, where you see women in the villages where they weave their own fabrics, like cotton and wool, in such colorful patterns to produce their unique dress, so in many of my portraits you see women in their most colorful garments. In my artwork, my surroundings are a great influence, based on my experience with nature and the environment; in my ceramic work, many of my pieces are the feminine figure that represents the strength of women.”
She described her art “as a form of abstractionism. I try not to make my work completely realistic, because you might as well just take a photograph, and I like to work in bright and vibrant colors, and capture the light just so, even when I paint people, particularly women, to capture the emotion. This is very important, to illustrate the depth of the painting. I used to work in oils, but now I do much more in acrylic and I enjoy that much more. In my ceramics, that is a completely different medium all-together.”
Art became important to Adorable Monique at a young age. “As a little girl, my Mother observed that I was very quiet and an introvert, so she always provided me with art supplies and activities, and it was through art I really discovered myself! Art became a kind of therapy, to find myself and be creative and express myself. As I got older, I was invited to attend Honduras’s national art school, and there is only one, so it is very competitive to enroll. This was crucial, because there was a certain stigma to being an artist, over whether you can make a living doing art, so there is a challenging process to that. Fortunately, my immediate family was so supportive, and that was really helpful all through the process.”
While in art school, her family began making the move from Honduras to the Naples area. “I was still completing my degree, so for the next three years, I traveled back-&-forth a lot, but now we are here in Florida fulltime. I do, however, miss the traditions and the local food from home, as well as my friends and doing things like walking to the market, as I have such treasured memories.”
This gives her the perspective to compare her two countries. “Things are not as easy in Honduras as here, as we walk a lot there and the electricity goes on and off, even in the Capital as much as in any other urban or rural area, and clean water is precious. America is a land of plenty; in Honduras, when you would receive a gift of art supplies, it was such a joy, so you appreciated things more there, and how to stretch everything out and reuse items and fix things. Here, if a chair breaks, you buy a new one; there, you learn how to repair it or sew a new covering once the original wears out. In Florida, by contrast, everyone drives and there is an abundance of food and everything is so nice, even down to things like taking a shower whenever you want.”
As for her FMB Library show, Dr. Leroy Hommerding and the Library staff usually contact the artists and arrange for the displays, but with Adorable Monique, it worked exactly the opposite! “I searched the Internet, looking for exhibit opportunities and came across the Fort Myers Beach Public Library. I contacted the staff about a year ago, and we worked together to make this happen. It is really helpful to working artists like myself, to be able to showcase your talents and abilities, without having the burden of paying for or renting the display space. Also, in places like public libraries, these are areas where children are more likely to see and experience your artwork, as it is very important that we influence the next generation about all aspects of art, to inspire them to one day pursue it for themselves as well, to help them grow, not only as artists but people. It was a real pleasure to meet Dr. Leroy, as I not only admire his professionalism but his enthusiasm and commitment to the arts.”
Monique will have 24 pieces in her FMB Library show, “from as small as 8 by 10 inches to as large as 36 by 24, with some inspired by nature and others by women, and expect to see bright and vivid colors. All are available to buy once the exhibit is over.”
As for her unique moniker, it is not a nickname or nom de plume, “but my real name, though sometimes people don’t believe it! It was a little hard, particularly when growing up, as kids sometimes made fun of me, but I have come to not only accept it but love it, and it is of course a terrific name for an artist and now people find it so interesting! The idea is actually from my grandmother, who said to my Mom that she had to name me ‘Adorable’ or she would never speak to her again so that was the condition! Perhaps she knew even back then that one day I would be an artist!”
To view Adorable Monique’s artwork, visit the Fort Myers Beach Public Library’s 3rd Floor Exhibit Gallery through December 31 at 2755 Estero Boulevard. Hours are Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and closed Sundays and holidays including Tuesdays, Christmas and New Year’s Day. For more information on the FMB Library, see www.fmb.lib.fl.us or call 239-765-8162.
For information on Adorable Monique or to purchase her artwork, see adorablemonique.jimdo.com, Facebook at Adorable Monique Fine Art or Instagram: @adorablemonique_artist.
“I am so appreciative of Dr. Leroy and the FMB Public Library,” Adorable said. “God gave me the gift and my family the support and encouragement to allow it to grow. Without those things, I could never achieve my dream.”
By Gary Mooney