Esmeralda 1

Esmeralda Pacheco’s work centers around nature.

Since her first art show was canceled this spring because of the coronavirus, Ocean Park, Washington artist Esmeralda Pacheco has taken matters into her own hands.

Pacheco was planning on showing photography and acrylic paintings in the Peninsula Art Association’s spring show.

Many of her paintings are nature scenes, depicted with great detail and texture. The painting she entered in the art show was of Mount St. Helens. It depicts the slopes and valleys of the mountain in blue tones. The mountain is outlined by lines of trees and shapes the painting into an upside-down triangle, a play on the natural shape of mountains.

“Everything about nature pulls me in with its bright colors. It’s thrilling trying to recreate that and put it onto a board with some paint,” she said.

Pacheco likes to try different mediums, ranging from watercolor to wood carving. Bold textures are important in her work.

Pacheco is trying to push herself to make art a full-time career. She has painted for 13 years.

After the cancellation, Pacheco at first felt set back and like she had lost exposure the show would have provided.

“It felt like I wasn’t really working toward something at that point. It made it hard for me to find inspiration,” Pacheco said. “And of course, with COVID going on, it was hard to get outside.”

Pacheco hopes the association will have another art show in the fall.

Giving back

Since the cancellation, Pacheco has started reaching out to local galleries. She hopes to start selling work and make enough money for substantial donations to a Black Lives Matter movement fund and to mental health resources.

She is considering auctioning off some of her work to raise money for the two causes.

“I want my artwork to speak for itself and I want it to create a feeling,” Pacheco said. “I want people to recognize that there are things going on that not everybody understands but they’re real.”

Pacheco wants the conversation around mental health to be more prominent than it is now. She’s working on an Instagram page that will be a platform for her to talk about mental health in a real way, and share the connection between mental health and her art.

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Pacheco’s painting of Mount St. Helens was going to be shown in a spring art show with the Peninsula Art Association.

“I would love to use my experience for people to know that mental illness isn’t a taboo thing that we can’t talk about anymore,” she said. “I want to make it something that can be a daily conversation.”

On Instagram, she will also discuss the Black Lives Matter movement and how a lack of awareness for mental health goes hand-in-hand with some of the concerns the movement addresses.

{span}{span}“Those things aren’t seen right away. It’s seen that someone is a threat opposed to being someone that needs help,” she said. {/span}{/span}

{span}{span}Pacheco hopes that an open conversation around mental health will lead to more accessible local resources. She hopes to help people reach a point where they can be happy with where they are. {/span}{/span}

{span}{span}{span}{span}“We’re working on the things within ourselves that are stopping us from getting to that point,” she said. {/span}{/span}{/span}{/span}

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