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Ajijic, flora and fauna

Ajijic Plaza Umbrellas

AjijicPlaza copy-web.jpgThis is a small scene in the downtown Centro Plaza in Ajijic, Mexico. It’s a relaxed and sometimes very busy place.  Weekends find artisans selling their wares, musicians playing their instruments in festive songs. Generally it’s a busy but festive place. You can get and ice cream and sit on a bench and people watch or meet friends for lunch at nearby restaurants.  Food carts await and taxis sit at their stations ready to bring you anywhere you want to go.

The atmosphere is always friendly and there’s always the sound of laughter of happy children running in and out of the gazebo.  It’s a wonderful place to share with friends.  Flower are always blooming Ajijic Plaza umbrellas  against a clear blue sky.

flora and fauna, Pen and Ink Drawing

Birdhouses

Birdhouses-WEB

These birdhouses are made of recycled materials found in anybody’s garden shed.  Whether wood or discarded metal fixtures or old roofing materials, the birds enjoy the shelter.

They are feeding on a gigantic sunflower center.  I took a little artistic license with the scale of the seed pod…because I can.  Moths and butterflies join in on the party.

The pen and ink is done in India Ink and an old fashioned crowquill pen nib.  The original is drawn on Bristol board paper, and has been sold but read on to purchase the image on various mediums.

This artwork is available on my Red Bubble POD site.  Click the picture to go there and purchase prints or accessories.

Birdhouses-WEB

flora and fauna

Finding White Lilies

white-lilies-cameoWalking in downtown Ajijic, along a small crowded street, a shock of white caught my eye.  It was coming from a dark doorway.  I couldn’t make out what it was exactly so I stepped closer to get a better look.  There were art objects in the doorway as well; a big earthenware bare brown jug with a minimum of decoration, as well as tables with sculptures and displayed paintings.

Then I saw the white of the lilies.  I snapped some shots and felt privileged.  I just loved them. They were dropping red pollen from their stamens onto the lower gigantic petals.  They were on their last leg as cut flowers.  I knew them as stargazer lilies.  I had grown them in Washington.  Mine were many colors of pinks, but I had never seen white ones like these.  I looked up and saw a woman staring at me and smiling.  Apparently I thought I was walking into an art gallery when in reality, I walked right into someone’s studio.  I was embarrassed and apologized and stepped back quickly.  She did not seem to mind.

I felt both silly and lucky at the same time.

Even though I have been in Mexico almost a year, I have not seen one calla lily yet.  I have seen only a few backyard versions while walking in my neighborhood.  They were shades of red and I noticed that they seemed happy in shady gardens.

Diego Rivera painted many works using the calla lily.  Even though we see these images over and over just about everywhere, I don’t get tired of them.  He also painted them so well that he transformed from the well known flower into abstract shapes molded around his figures as perfect adornments. He found a perfect prop for his figures and faces.

Read about this iconic Mexican artist here:

diego-rivera-calas

So lilies of all kinds have been on my painting list for a while.  Here is what I painted today from my photo.  The red grains are pollen.   Click the picture to purchase a print.

white-lilies-full.web

If you would like to grow some of your own calla lilies, this is a good site for information.

To learn more about stargazer lillies…

Here’s a lovely little video of a bee collecting pollen.  It’s relaxing and I’ve watched it a few times. Nature is amazing.

ice cream, people, Places

Selling ice cream (helado) by the Lake

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This wonderful happy man can be seen in the villlage of Chapala Mexico in the state of Jalisco.  On weekends you can pretty much always find him pushing his tomato red cart.  He sells ice cream, called helado in Spanish.   He has lots of flavors to make you happy.  The atmosphere is pleasant and the malecon (tiled walkway along the water’s edge) and the plaza are just lovely.  The lake is beautiful and cools the air. Right now there has been so much rain that the lake is the highest its been in 50 years.

You can stroll and eat and take in all the sights and sounds.  Very often you can find people dancing in the plaza to the music of local musicians.  Some of the bands will be a collection of guitars, drums, and various brasses including tubas.  Chapala is a great town.  Some may call it a city.  If it sounds like I am selling the place, I’m not really.  I just enjoy it.

In Mexico they churn the ice cream by hand, in huge metal canisters called garrafas. The canisters are filled with the ice cream base and placed inside of wooden barrels full of ice and salt, and then it’s someone’s job to stir the ice cream with a large wooden paddle as it slowly freezes.

This technique gives the ice cream a unique texture. “Mexican ice cream is closer to gelato, as it has less fat and air than American style,”

When I saw this guy, I was immediately attracted to the cart and his infectious smile.  I just had to paint him.  happy   happy   happy.

P1080813 copy-web

If you are interested, click the picture to purchase a print or a textile of this watercolor.

Read more about making Ice Cream in Mexico here:
http://www.tastecooking.com/mexicanicecream

flora and fauna, scratchboard drawing, step by step, how to

Little Demo on Scratchboard Drawing

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Since I am now using my home base for teaching, I decided to respond to some requests to teach scratchboard and the engraving idea behind it.  Although it is not engraved in metal, it offers the very same challenges.

One remarkable quality is that doing large scratchboard is very time consuming and difficult, the opposite is true when in comes to graphic digital reproductions.

This is one of my scratchboard drawings enlarged, which I feel loses zero impact, considering how affordable it is and how it can be applied to metal as well as textile.  Click the picture to purchase.

2beachguys-web
Venice, CA 1997
interior design, Sweden Design

Mexico and Sweden– Design

There are 3 concepts here that connect two countries:

  •  How to fill a space
  •  How to wisely leave space unfilled
  •  Form follows function

these modern designs are from REFORMA in Sweden

blue chair-reforma
 

the chair

 

 

reforma bench
the bench
green sofa-reforma
the loveseat

 

family sculpture
the intimate space
carpet
the carpet

 

baby cushion
the baby cushion
ceiling-lite reforma
the light

 

 

 

 

 

these traditional designs are from Modern Mexico

mexican carpet
the carpet
equipal-mex
the equipal leather chair
mex-wall-art
Intimate space as a wall

 

mex-ropa
la ropa, or colorful clothing

In the world of art, design and

interior design, the winds blow across continents and rain illusive mists–like magic to make their connection.

They inspire people to create and fulfill age old traditions of culture, color, and function in designs that adapt generation after generation.

Visit www.reformasthlm.se To see their whole line.

Holidays, people

Day of the Dead watercolor

This is my newest watercolor of the most exciting days to come here in Mexico. It will be happening soon and I can’t wait.
click the picture to purchase prints on paper and textilesDay-of-Dead-family-th

For a painter, I can’t think of a more colorful subject matter than dia de los muertos. Creativity abounds when everyday people take pleasure in the celebration of this most wonderful holiday.  I think their body language shows the love and care they have for each other and the joy of these special days.

Day of the Dead (known as Día de Muertos in Spanish) is celebrated in Mexico between October 31st and November 2nd. On this holiday, Mexicans remember and honor their deceased loved ones. It’s not a gloomy or morbid occasion, rather it is a festive and colorful holiday celebrating the lives of those who have passed on. Mexicans visit cemeteries, decorate the graves and spend time there, in the presence of their deceased friends and family members. They also make elaborately decorated altars  (called ofrendas) in their homes to welcome the spirits.
The belief behind Day of the Dead practices is that spirits return to the world of the living for one day of the year to be with their families. It is said that the spirits of babies and children who have died (called angelitos, “little angels”) arrive on October 31st at midnight, spend an entire day with their families and then leave. Adults come the following day.

Thanks Vikki Rennick for your photo that was the inspiration for this artwork.

Day-of-Dead-family-th
flora and fauna, step by step, how to

A red amaryllis

amarillus-full-webI saw this stunning flower growing out of a very small border garden.  I snapped a quick pic with my phone and I found it interesting–mostly because I was amazed that such a beauty came from a meager space.  It had just rained and there were some raindrops still on the petals.

When I got half way through the work, I realized my values were so much alike, I was headed for trouble.

I was using a few different reds…from Sennellier Red (the main red) to Alizarin Crimson and a little glazing with Opera.  I needed to change something, but I could not figure out what to do.

There was a point where I was very ready to gesso over the whole thing.  Instead, I slept on it.  Two days later, it came to me what I should do.

I glazed the background petals with scarlet red by winsor and newton.  It was so intense and gave me the depth I needed.  Problem solved.

The problems we face are only as difficult as those we are up to solving.  If we can’t figure them out, it’s perfectly ok to continue and keep moving forward.  don’t quit. Take a break.   That’s a good reason to blog.  I may be talking to myself, but I don’t mind. It’s better than watching t.v.

If you  would like a print on paper, metal, canvas or textile, click the image.