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Vallarta Living 

Ada Colorina: Painting the Simple Life of Mexico

May 19, 2020

"My ideas are from my village from when I was a little girl. It was a palapa village with a lot of fruit trees, especially banana trees, and the gentle river where I loved to play." - Ada Colorina
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - Ada has been a friend since I first met her at an outdoor art show on the Rio Cuale here in Puerto Vallarta and was drawn to her colorful paintings. This is her story. She got her nickname Colorina from her father, Daniel Inchaurregui Bernal, an expressionist artist, who recognized how much Ada loved the bright vivid colors of their rural Mexican village.

When she was a little girl, they would walk together through the dirt streets along the river and into the beach town of Puerto Vallarta while looking for moments of inspiration and scenes of local people that could become the subject of his paintings. He taught her the importance of composition and perspective and the secrets of paints.

"My ideas are from my village from when I was a little girl. It was a palapa village with a lot of fruit trees, especially banana trees, and the gentle river where I loved to play."

Her first works were on little paper cards for her family. Then she began to paint on any surface available… rocks, family furniture, the refrigerator, and even on material later made into pillows. All in the bright vivid colors of her surrounding life. Finally, she graduated to canvas, preferring to use acrylic paints due to the humidity in this tropical climate as they dry faster than oils.

While in high school she started to study Henri Rousseau's jungle paintings and some of the primitive paintings of Mexico done on amate paper, made from tree bark. During this time, she realized she wanted to adopt a more narrative style to include the history of old Vallarta in the way she expressed her subjects. She wanted to tell a story with each painting, conveying the life of her people.

Ada's simple and sometimes whimsical paintings are in the style of the "naif art movement" originating in France in 1885. Naïve art is simple, childlike, colorful, and innocent and considered done by artists with no formal training.

Manual Lepe, also from Puerto Vallarta, was the first Mexican artist admitted into this school. During his life of 1936-1984 he eventually became famous for his works. Ada tells me she knew about him but never met him for by the time she was growing up he was often away from Vallarta. She did know Regino Carrillo who worked with Lepe and was influenced some by his style.

Paintings by Ada are for sale in the Corsica Gallery in Vallarta, and in her home studio, which can be visited by appointment. She does commissions and has shown in several art exhibitions over the years.

For more information, send her an email, or visit her Facebook page.


Sandra Cesca has lived in Puerto Vallarta for 12 years. She is a cultural tour guide with her own small business: Puerto Vallarta Walking Tours. She is also a cultural photographer and writer whose work can be found on Your Cultural Insider and Sandra Cesca Photography. Contact her: sandra.learn.vallarta(at)gmail.com.