Lupe and art were one and the same. Whether she was painting, researching, lecturing or sharing her inspirations, art encompassed her life. Her Spanish roots were reflected in the vibrant colours that radiated through her paintings.
In 1962, Lupe immigrated to Toronto with her parents, Victor and Dora, and her brothers, Victor and Javier. After attending Jarvis Collegiate, she graduated from York University in 1977 with a fine-arts degree. She also studied art in Paris at L'École des Beaux-Arts and the Sorbonne.
Over time Lupe's work would be seen across Canada and around the world, including at a major public installation in the Canadian embassy in Buenos Aires and at numerous art exhibitions in Santa Fe, N.M., Dallas, Acapulco and Algeciras, Spain. Lupe also became a well-known figure on the Toronto art scene and a familiar name to a wider audience who listened to her on the CBC Radio One show Here and Now, first as a restaurant critic and then as the show's artist-at-large.
In 1980, Lupe married Danny Cushing. Danny brought the balance and practical side to their relationship, Lupe the colour and adventure. A few years later they welcomed their sons Sebastian and Liam into the world.
Lupe tackled every project head on, absorbing the nuances of every experience, whether it was motherhood, family trips, hosting art openings or guiding art and cultural tours through Europe, Morocco, Mexico, Cuba and South America. She made every moment and event a celebration of life - from walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain to hosting a lively dinner party on her backyard patio.
Lupe enjoyed sharing her Spanish culture and traditions. For her 50th birthday, she rented a large villa in southern Spain and invited her family and friends to celebrate with her and experience the sights and flavours of Andalucia.
In September, 2006, Lupe was diagnosed with myelofibrosis, a rare disease of the bone marrow. It slowed her down, but she also saw this as part of her journey. In December, 2007, her condition worsened, developing into acute myelogenous leukemia. Determined to make a difference, Lupe became instrumental in supporting the bike team For the Love of Lupe organized by her niece Laura, Sebastian, Liam and friend Sarah. With the help of family, friends and the community, the team raised more than $30,000 in the 2008 Ride to Conquer Cancer.
In her last months, as Lupe weakened we could still see her determination to make the most of life. She enjoyed time with family and friends until her last days. She may be gone, but she will be with us forever.
Javier Rodriguez is Lupe's