Life is lately about trying to keep your sanity in a crazy world that’s going crazier by the minute. For me, painting watercolors is about keeping my skills together while the world tries to tear us apart in a negative atmosphere. Am I nuts? Nah. I’m pretty normal considering the curveballs I’ve dodged. So I’m taking pieces apart and put them back together hoping to stay on track. Sometimes this is sort of a thereapy. OMG I use a camera, scanner, paints and brushes, glues and tape and anything I fancy to piece together. It’s about ideas, expressions, words. Old school stuff. Well, I guess I’m old and that’s all there is to it. I still have fun with my art and there’s nothing old about that. This piece measures 9″x12″ without frame.
I am getting back to blogging after another health issue. I’m getting tired of this happening to me so I’m not going to write about it, I’m just going to change the subject. I signed on to Instagram and am looking to meet new people and other artists I have things in common with. I’m not crazy about posting a lot on social media but in the art world, it is expected. Because of Covid and lockdown here as in many places all over the world, the restaurant and food business and food workers have been severely hit.
Being able to go to a little local cafe for a spot of breakfast is no longer a thing to take for granted. A few days ago I visited one such local cafe to find the people easy and nice as usual and the food wonderful too. Somehow they bring a little joy back in our lives. So I’ve decided to do a series drawn completely on my tablet. I’d like to pay homage to our stoic restaurant workers. This is a little different for me as I almost start all my art with a watercolor of some sort of pen and ink. I am challenging myself. Let me know if you like this or not. Here’s the link to view the artwork on my products.
Rice paper drawing through a glass darkly.
I love drawing and painting thin semi opaque rice paper. It is fragile and delicate. It breathes. Comments and some conversations welcomed.
Ray was an early riser. He preferred 5 a.m. to anyone else’s normal hours. He loved making bacon and eggs any day. He had a special way about him. He had his all time favorites. He liked making sandwiches with slices of fat red onions on rye bread, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden. He was also known for his adoration of “stinky cheese”. He adored Roquefort cheese and we all ran when he opened the wrapper. It was his special treat and he thought we were babies with no guts to stomach it. There were big blue chunks in the white creamy cheese and he always insisted it tasted much milder than it smelled.
Everybody loves the smell of fresh brewed coffee in the morning and Raymond in the kitchen always started with a pot of fresh coffee. It was a ceremony. |He was a ceremony. Breakfast always came with his songs. He made sure everybody could hear him. His songs were always funny and he sang while he cooked. He made whole wheat toast, coffee and bacon to go with his basted eggs. Insist the bacon be turned only once. Insist the bacon be not overdone. Insist you leave some bacon grease in the cast iron pan. It should be hot but not so hot as to burn the delicate over easy eggs. They had to be handled with lots of care, cooked slowly and gently, very gently. Three eggs and when they landed in the pan, the flame was already turned down to medium. No excessive heat here, just a gentle fry.
He would tilt the pan and baste his babies by gently ladling a tablespoon of the bacon grease over the tops and watching the yolks change from dark yellow to a lighter and more milky shade. Towards the end, he would splash some water on with his open hand like he was sprinkling stardust a blessing on them. Then he would put a cover on the pan for 5 seconds to create steam to seal in the goodness. Therein was the secret to his famous breakfast. One more special touch was salt and pepper and a touch of ketchup.
Lots of people say ketchup is a crude form of condiment that he learned in the army. I guess the army had powdered eggs that needed all the help they could get. Actually, we loved Ray’s eggs and loved the ketchup on them too. What is better than this country style breakfast? What is better than a wonderful uncle. Raymond wherever you are in heaven, we miss you.
When I first came to Mexico, my only occasion to enjoy mariachis was when enjoying lunch with friends on the malecon– a wide boardwalk along lakeside. They come to your table and request if you want them to perform…a special song, a birthday wish, or any popular Mexican music. I learned how different happy birthday is in Spanish…even a different melody.
Little by little by going to a lot of music performances I learned that mariachi is a specific culture to different locations of city and states. They have a collection of dances, costumes, songs etc. You know what state they are from by their gorgeous and intricate costumes, specific songs and very specific dances. Everybody is aware of the wonderful big sombreros with their colors and embroidery. They are a real treat for the eyes and lots of fun for an artist.
I started doing caricatures of the dancers and singers last year. The drawings are becoming more complex as I develop more techniques on my tablet. I love this so much. Sometimes it’s hard but so much fun. I have been trying to do one drawing a day. It makes me happy. Below is the first one I ever did and is my most popular seller Spanish Christmas greeting card. After exploring women mariachi bands, they are now a sealed-in theme for me and I will continue to explore them. When you draw every day, you learn a lot, sometimes in spite of yourself.