Golden Leaf.jpg

“Art has always been part of my life,” St. Louisan Luisa Otero Prada relates, before continuing with an allusion to her native Colombia, South America, and the late literary titan Gabriel García Márquez: “I was born in the land of Magic Realism, and I love it – my intention is to show the magic in ordinary subjects or elements.”

In that regard, one can’t help congratulating her on the work currently showcased, albeit for at least one altogether subjective reason Prada may not have anticipated. That acrylic on canvas bears the title Golden Leaf, measures 48 inches square and dates from 2018.

Here in the (knock wood) dying days of winter, the painting’s lush palette of, predominantly, yellow and orange and green conspires with its curvilinear seductiveness to presage vernal relief from gray skies and gloom. “The beauty and exuberance of nature and people have always been my major inspiration to paint,” the artist says.

Golden Leaf, Prada notes, comes from a series of works titled Naturalized, which she helpfully defines as an “established plant that lives in regions where it is not indigenous.”

“When I researched these plants that I recognized from my childhood in a different climate, I understood this word,” she says. “We are all naturalized at some point. We are part of nature and creation. We move. We travel. We also create bonds through plants and trees. What is exotic here is ordinary somewhere else – this [recognition] blew me away!”

Prada confesses that painting brings her a sense of immersive peace wherein all other aspects of existence dwindle and disappear. As the mother of a grown special-needs child, she also likens creating art to parenting – with both activities demanding patience, observation, acceptance and, most important, perseverance.

Metro area artists who wish to be considered for future installments of this monthly department of Ladue News should email inquiries to with “Art and Soul” in the subject line.

Bryan A. Hollerbach serves as LN's copy editor and one of its staff writers. He loves to read, write, impersonate an amateur artist and research all things bibulous.