On being yourself

It seems like today the world is scrambling frantically to survive. Countries, monies, systems in general are upsidedown. That goes for people too. Just look around anywhere and there are more lies that exist today about what is going on than probably any other times in history. As one small person, what can you do? I think your choices are small but that doesn’t mean you should forget about who you are in the big picture.
I was born an artist, from a creative and survivalist family of movers and shakers. Well, kind of. They survived a hell of a lot and tomorrow will be l23 years ago my mom was born. One good thing I realize is that even though her life was extremely difficult she accomplished a lot and left an amazing legacy. Too bad my children never knew any of it but I take a lot of responsibility on that one. I was young and stupid and asleep at the wheel in that territory. I was only trying to survive myself. For her time, she lucked out and died at 65, not having seen any of her kids expire before her.
What this has to do with being yourself is that I’ve learned you really can’t change who you are. You can modify it, you can adapt it to the rules of society so that often means what shape you are in. Physical, mental and emotional states are all reflections of how you are doing. I learned something yesterday and even though I’ve learned it over and over and over again, I still manage to plod on and it often still escapes me. I was born with a mind and body that followed my heritage, my lineage, my general attitude.

I always drew since childhood, pencil in hand and I’ve tried to change who I am through every stage of life. It doesn’t work and it never worked to try to change. The bottom line for me is that I remember mom saying of all her 12 children, I always woke up happy and smiling. The world always looked rosy to me. Every day was a new world with fun things to look forward to. I think of her and respect what she said. I am finally respecting who I am. I have always struggled to be like everybody else and it has never worked. So hopefully as I get older, I will realize that there is a lot of worth of what mom said about me….in one simple sentence.
I am learning the difference between trying to be like everybody and fit in, or trying to follow my own unique path. Looking around the insanity of behaviors I see around me, my sensible side says I don’t give a damn what they are doing, I’m staying on my path. So I’m playing with simple art, fun and cheerful stuff. I like it and believe enough in myself to just offer it up. Here you go world, it is what it is.

people, Plein Aire Painting, street scenes

Calla Lilly seller


We are finally having some sun here in Mexico.  It’s been really cold and I can’t get used to it.  So on my patio today I’ve been working on this large watercolor and intermittently putting the painting in the sun to dry.  While it’s drying, I catch as many warm rays as I can.  Boy, the sun feels great.  I have not picked this painting  up in a few months as I’ve been super busy with many things other than painting. So in a day or so, it should get finished if nothing else crazy happens.

Ajijic, people, step by step, how to, street scenes

Marketplace seller, WIP

This woman is a weaver and she was sitting in a dark corner of the marketplace.  The sun shone through the archways of the Mexico town plaza.  The cobblestone streets are a maze of patterns and colors.  Piece by piece, she is coming together.  I will add some cast shadows and some detailed drawing elements to help define her more.

This is large, a full sheet watercolor.  When you get away from working big, it is scarey to  pick it up again.  This painting will help me re-discover my old self, when I painted big all the time.

The pallette is my full plastic stephen quiller pallette, now a good 15 or 20 years old.  When I grow up, I will get the porcelain studio pallette.


First Snow in Pueblo


This watercolor is of a Navajo girl wrapped in a colorful blanket.  I am including it here so it does not get lost and I can keep some record of it.  It is in a private collection in Long beach, Washington.

I am including a link to my online store where I have put her on a few products.

fantasy illustration, fonts, people, simple photoshop, step by step, how to, thoughts behind the work

Farmers: An American Experience


This started out as a pencil doodle.  When I brought it into photoshop, I adjusted the levels to make the greys of the pencil as dark as I could, and the lights as white as I could. This gave me a little template to build the digital painting on.

There is a lot of painting involved here and a lot of colors and brushwork too.  It took a long time.  I am learning to navigate through my Wacom tablet which saves a lot of time. Learning shortcuts is amazing. I wanted the wife to have pears on her dress but they are not joyous colors.  Because of the situation farmers find themselves in, nothing here is joyous.  I hope their expressions reveal what is going on in their lives.

I usually don’t do political drawings but I thought I would have a little fun with this.  It was pretty easy choosing an appropriate font for a title.  I called it An American Experience because there was a PBS series with this name for a long time.  It was a documentary series about cultural phenomena. This font is Goudy Stout.  I love the name and think it’s sounds exactly what it looks like.

My favorite part of this piece are the two types of bodies.  She is a plump pear and he is a skinny dude.  They make a perfect couple that we see in real life just about every day.  Regarding the coloring; my favorite part is his blue jeans.  When jeans get old and worn, they look kind of yellowish/grey sometimes.  There are many layers and tones of the colors on everything here, and I sing the praise of “multiply” brush effects.  It adds so much depth and dimension, as it picks up the colors underneath with every stroke.

An additional treat is that it was saved for web as a png file and therefore it can be printed transparently on to different fabrics.  This piece ended up looking great on lots of textile products and it really surprised me.

Here is what it looks like on a grey sweatshirt product