This says a lot about the passion Martha Flores has for making art: Not even Catholic nuns at her elementary school could squelch her desire to create. And they tried.
Flores, 63, remembers the nuns at her El Salvadoran school giving her grief for drawing in class when she should have been doing what the nuns considered to be more productive work, like embroidering or sewing.
Drawing was considered bad, Flores said. “That’s not what a child was supposed to do,” she said.
A tour of the East Wenatchee home Flores shares with her husband Rod Daut, shows how futile the nuns’ efforts were to curb the young girl’s creative streak. The walls of her home are covered with Flores’ colorful paintings. You’ll find her bronze sculptures on tables and shelves, along with pottery pieces she’s created over the years.
You can find some of her paintings and prints for sale at Wenatchee’s Two Rivers Gallery, 102 N. Columbia St.
But don’t buy into the idea that Flores simply is creating art to cash in on her talents.
“If it sells, good; if it doesn’t, the joy of making it was priceless,” she said.
Flores’ creations go beyond the visual arts. She’s published two books of poetry in Spanish, including one she wrote as she recovered from the breakup of her first marriage. The book’s recurring themes are survival, healing and female strength.
Flores was born in Guatemala and grew up in El Salvador. She moved to the United States at age 15, spending more than two decades in the Los Angeles area.
There, she earned master’s degrees in fine arts and counseling psychology.
She moved to Wenatchee in 1992. She’s worked as an art teacher and family counselor.
She incorporates art therapy into her family counseling work, with the goal of bringing healing to the budding artists.
She said poetry, theater, painting and sculpture are tools she uses to increase self-esteem, practice relaxation and “let the unconscious mind get in touch with the past.”
She is semi-retired from counseling and mostly focuses now on her artwork. She still counsels families at the Bruce Transitional Housing facility run by the Women’s Resource Center.
“I do a lot of volunteering,” Flores said. “I get paid for some hours, but I give them a lot of free hours.”
Flores said she sees herself continuing to make art until she’s no longer inspired to make something out of nothing, whether it’s a white canvas, a lump of clay or a blank page.
Just don’t count on that happening anytime soon.
“I’m not a young woman anymore, but I feel young,” she said. “I’m hopeful, optimistic.”
Marco Martinez: 664-7149