Mexico 2009

    Africa 2008 / 1999 LPAPA Show  

In October, I flew down to San Miguel de Allende to meet a bunch of buddies and paint together for a week and a half. What a blast it was to hang out with everyone and occasionally even do a painting! Thanks to Frank Gardner especially for arranging everything for us down there. 

I'd had a stressful five months before this trip and done very little painting, so it was fantastic to soak up all the art energy of this group of incredibly talented people and paint every day from life. I learned so much from all of them that I returned with a renewed sense of excitement. Despite the reputation of artists, there were no jerks in our group, no oversized egos, personality conflicts, or subtle put-downs (all our put-downs were far from subtle and always for laughs). In most reality-shows these days, the favorite phrase seems to be, "I'm not here to make friends!" Contestants declare this with such force and pride, that it makes me shake my head. What greater prize could there ever be in life? All of us were definitely there to make friends. By that standard, our trip may not have made for good reality television, driven as it is by conflict, but it sure made for good reality.

Here's our group, with links to each of their websites. This photo was taken near the end of the trip, on the morning when Jeremy was heading to the airport to fly home. But because I usually head out to do an early morning painting, I actually wasn't there so they left a place open for me and had me pose for the photo by myself later. Paul's wife kindly Photoshoped me into the photo afterward!

Ignat Ignatov     http://www.ignatovart.com/

Kevin McNamara       http://www.kevinmcnamara.us/

Marc Hanson      http://www.marchansonart.com/

Frank Gardner     http://www.frankgardner.com/

 Jeremy Lipking     http://www.lipking.com/

Paul Schulenburg     http://www.schulenburgstudio.com/

Logan Hagege     http://www.loganhagege.com/

Peter Kalill     http://www.blogger.com/profile/17967059572072718026

Alexey Steele     http://www.alexeysteele.com/

Ernesto Nemesio     http://www.ernestonemesio.com/

Daniel Corey     http://danielcorey.blogspot.com/

Colin Page     http://www.colinpagepaintings.com/

Jeff Bonsia     http://www.addisonart.com/bonasia_j.html

Jerome Greene      http://www.jeromegreeneart.com/home.htm

"San Miguel Arches" oil, 12" by 12"
This is the painting I was doing that made me miss out on the group photo. I actually set up when it was still dark and the lights were on. By the time I had it sketched out, the sun was up and I was painting away. There was a restaurant behind me and I noticed some of the waiters watching me paint in between setting things up for breakfast. About halfway through the painting a man, who was sloshing water over the stones to clean them, told me I had to leave so he could clean the area where I was standing. Before I could protest, the waiters and the owner of the restaurant stepped in and told him forcefully in Spanish to leave me alone and work around me. They even put my backpack up on a ledge to keep it from getting wet.

       

Here's some photos of the incredible villa we stayed at. Here's a link to their website. http://www.casaheyne.com/

This is a corner of the central courtyard garden, which also had a fountain and hot tub up on a stone overlook. The place is for sale in the multi-millions and was simply vast - four stories tall in all, I think. It would take an entire journal of photos to show you all the rooms, so I'll just give you a taste.

Not exactly the luxury I'm used to on a painting trip!

Probably I could have spent the entire time just doing paintings of the interior of the villa! Not only that, but we had a full staff of cooks and all the rest that kept us incredibly well fed. The most amazing thing to me was the magic basket in my bathroom. I put my dirty clothes in there and, by the time I returned from painting, they were miraculously clean and neatly folded on my bed! I seriously debated whether or not to steal this basket and take it home with me, but it was a little too large to carry on the plane.

Here's Colin, Frank, Ernesto, and Jeremy playing pool. None of us were very good, so I think we set some world-records for the longest eight-ball games every played. The best thing about this table was how warped it was from age, so we could, and did, blame it for every shot that missed. Of course, there were times when the ball would curve bizarrely off course and land in a pocket that we hadn't even been aiming for. That pool table caused more laughter than any stand up comic would have!

Here's what that scene looked like after a few hours of tequila drinking -- at least according to Ernesto, that is...

Here we all are painting an old cowboy in front of a church. We had to ask several people before we got one to agree to pose for us and it was a little funny, since he continually moved his head from side to side, watching us all as if there was a tennis match going on. But the character of his face more than made up for it. 

Here's Kevin in the foreground, Logan, and Jeremy in the background. Kevin is from Ireland and used to work at Don Bleuth Animation Studio in Dublin with a very talented artist we went to school with named Amy Berenz. Susan and I actually visited Amy in Ireland for our honeymoon around 17 or 18 years ago and Kevin said he was there at the time. What a small world!

             

Here's Logan and Jeremy painting on the left. You can see Logan demonstrating his mastery of painting by using a brush both in his hand and nose at the same time! To the right is Jerome painting with another beautiful church in the background. In San Miguel you could set up just about anywhere and do a dozen paintings looking in every direction.

Here's Ernesto with our model. Ernesto is a fantastic painter who works at Pixar. I want everyone to make sure to see every animated movie that comes out, since there are too many great painters working at these studios and, if they ever lost their jobs, we gallery artists would be in trouble from the landslide of competition that would result! I'm always telling Ernesto how good he has it at Pixar and how he'd absolutely hate being unemployed like me and forced to try and scrape out a living by selling his work in galleries.

"San Miguel Cowboy" oil, 20" by 16"
Here's the painting I did in the two hour session our model "posed" for us. What a story that face tells!

After the old man, we walked over to another church and hired one of the Indian woman who sells dolls in the main square. Frank hired her for two hundred pesos for two hours and told her that if she sat very still, he'd give her another fifty pesos. Whatever the reason, this woman sat completely still the entire time and we had a much easier time painting her. Many of the Indian woman spend months making their dolls and other products in their villages and then come to San Miguel as a group and stay together for weeks until they've sold all their crafts and head home.

This woman was so polite and soft spoken that when we finished painting her I went over to buy a few of her dolls for Susan. But then a younger doll-seller came over and got into a heated discussion with Frank, apparently telling him that 250 pesos was too little an amount and she wanted all of us to pay 250 each. I could tell our model was very embarrassed by this and she kept trying to shush the younger woman up, but she just kept arguing with Frank. 

Eventually things settled down and I bought the dolls from our model. I kept working on my painting even after the rest of the group left and the young doll seller came up to me when I was alone and started demanding money from me for the painting I'd done. Having been to India and dealt with far more aggressive Gypsies, I was used to such tactics and simply laughed heartily at her earnest attempt to bully me. People stopped and stared to see what the commotion was when the girl threatened to call the Police, but I just laughed even harder at her boldness. Finally, she just stopped talking, relaxed and started laughing herself. She smiled and shrugged, as if to say, "can't blame me for trying," and then headed off. 

During the week, this girl stopped to watch me paint several more times, always smiling and giving me a nod. Truly, I can't really blame her for trying.

 

Here's Peter painting in a quiet spot.

And Ernesto, Ignat, and Kevin in a less quiet spot. Well, it was quiet when we started painting, but Ignat especially seems to gather a crowd wherever he paints. I think it's the fact that he always seems to be smiling and happy no matter where he is. In fact, one night around midnight when we were walking back from a taco run, Jerome jumped out from behind a building and roared to scare us. Both of us jumped, but Jerome started laughing because he said that, even in that moment of terror, Ignat never stopped smiling!

Here's one of my morning paintings and my messy palette just after finishing it. 

"San Miguel Main Square" oil, 12" by 16"
When I look at this painting, I tend to think of some of the people who I talked to while painting it. The people there are so friendly and the place incredibly safe. Despite what one might think from watching the nightly news, not all of Mexico is a dangerous wasteland of drug dealers and kidnappers. As long as you stay away from the boarder region and the large cities, you will certainly be safer than you would be in any American city.

I've been writing so many serious essays recently and getting tired of all the angry e-mails that I don't want to get myself into more controversy here, but it does sadden me that the criminalization of drugs in the United States has led to so many devastating problems for countries like Mexico, Columbia, Afghanistan, etc. Have we learned so little from Prohibition? Isn't it obvious that the only ones such failed strategies benefit are the criminals? It would be one thing if they even actually kept drugs from being available. Maybe then all the negatives would be balanced by the positives of keeping people from becoming addicts, but even this has failed. I wonder with all the illogic and devastation caused by this shortsighted policy, that the alternatives can hardly even be discussed by a politician or the media in a meaningful way.

Here's Dan and Paul painting in the courtyard of a church.

 

Another view of Dan with a curious churchgoer sneaking a glance.

The town was founded in 1542 by Fray Juan de San Miguel, a Franciscan Monk, and was the birth place of General Ignacio Allende, who helped Mexico gain its independence from Spain in the early 1800s. In 1926 San Miguel de Allende was declared a national monument to preserve its colonial architecture and the beauty of its secluded character.

After WWII many American GIs found that by going to the excellent Art School in San Miguel, they could make their GI Bill tuition go much farther than in the States. This is why there are so many artists and American's living there even now.

Jeremy Lipking painting in the church courtyard. Jeremy is a true genius, in my opinion, and I learn so much from watching him paint every time we get together. Those of you on Facebook should definitely check out some of the videos he's posted on his website, since they are hilarious. My favorite is one he did with Tony Pro on a day out plein air painting together in the Sierras. I don't think anyone has filmed a worst day trying to paint outside! One might think the gods are deliberately trying to stop the two of them from pursuing art, but, if this is the case, they have done damn well anyways!

Here's Kevin doing a painting of Ignat, while he paints.

Now that's a hat! Ignat is from Bulgaria and won an immigration lottery to come the United States in 1997 to continue his study of painting and sculpture in California. His work is truly stunning and hard for the rest of us to compete with so I think I'll have to take back all the supportive things I've said about immigrants in the past. Maybe I'll have to put a "Buy American" stamp on my paintings to combat such competition from these alien artists stealing our jobs! I just hope that no one brings up the fact that my Grandmother was born in Italy on my Father's side, and my Mother's Grandparents came over from Ireland during the potato famine. It is so very difficult deciding who's "American" enough these days, isn't it? Some of the full-blood Indians selling crafts in the main square might have a few things to say about this as well...

Long shot of Ignat painting inside the church. Even though I haven't been to church in several decades, it is amazing to me how thoroughly my Catholic Grade School and High School indoctrination got into my head. Hearing the mass inside the church while I painted, even in Spanish, I knew exactly what the responses were, when I should be standing, kneeling, crossing myself, etc. When I was in Ireland once, someone asked me what religion I was and I said I was an atheist. Without blinking an eye, he asked me, "yes, but are you a Catholic Atheist, or a Protestant Atheist?" As ridiculous as it sounds, I guess I am, truly, a Catholic Atheist after all.

Hanging out after painting and before drinking commences.

One of the days Frank organized a trip out to a cattle ranch not far from San Miguel. Several generations of the family work the ranch and it was a perfect day for some riding through the canyons.

It was a bit of a challenge for them to lengthen the stirrups for some of our taller painters, like Colin, here, who is 6'7" tall. Jeremy said he could only squash his foot into the stirrups on an angle. But the rest of us non-superheroes were a perfect fit for the working cow horses.

Ignat, Colin, and Ernesto -- twice!

Even though most of us didn't smoke, cigarettes were passed around to create the proper Marlboro Man look. Don't worry, like Bill, none of us inhaled!

Marc looking cool in his shades and hat.

Jeff with the canyon behind that we were heading for.

Peter, Jerome, Kevin, Jeff, and Jeremy. 

Jeremy.

What a beautiful place - especially down in the canyon!

Here's a photo Frank took of me as we raced through the river. The problem with leading, however, is that I actually drifted over to the right side of the river after a while and ended up in water up to my knees for a while! Damn those Yankee city-slickers who can't even keep their horses out of deep water!

Here's Ignat doing a great job since this is the first time he's ever galloped a horse in his life. He told me me later that he was really scared, but I notice that he seems to be having a great time and kept trying to get some of us to come back another day to run the horses some more! This was where his giant hat turned into a bit of a liability, since it flew off every time we had a race and someone would have to go back to find it.

There goes the hat again!

Here's Jeremy and Ernesto ridding. Maybe I'll do a painting of this one and see if I can get back into the Autry show? Since getting out of Art School I've been constantly pressured to paint Cowboys and Indians. This is just the kind of scene everyone with money seems to want to buy, even if the models are just dressing up.

Heck, I've been kicked out of that show twice already, so maybe the third time would be the charm. This would be a perfect subject in another way, since Jeremy was also kicked out of that show for having the gall to submit a nude after being invited. With this one painting I could try and get us both back in! Oops, guess I've put my foot in my mouth again and gotten a bunch more people mad at me!

        

Here's Paul with some of the scratches he got on his forehead and cheek when we were galloping down some of the trails. It seemed that just about every tree and cactus had thorns! This is where the leather hat I got in Africa really camp in handy, let me tell you!

Here's Tomas giving us a display of his lassoing expertise.

Even though they do trail rides for groups once or twice a week, most of their time is spent working the ranch and cattle, which is what is so fun about visiting here. Even while we were painting, there'd be occasional herds of cattle driven right past us by cowboys on horses. No need to dress anyone up here to make it look authentic!

Of course, there were some pretty dangerous characters hanging around as well. We tried to keep our distance from these obvious outlaws, but it wasn't long before they attacked.

Wait, that's no outlaw, but Jeremy, showing off his skill with a lasso. Isn't it annoying when you meet someone who is an expert at everything!

Here's most of our gang. Unfortunately we didn't have much success robbing anything. Whenever someone shouted "Draw," some of us (I'm not going to mention any names, but you know who you are) took this way too literally and exposed us all as a bunch of sissy artists. 

After our ride, we had a fantastic meal with some of the ranch family.

       

Here's Logan starting a painting after lunch. This is another painting he did on the trip which I thought I'd show here. I first met Logan when he was just out of High School and took several workshops of mine in Scottsdale and Los Angeles. In the years since, he has truly become one of the young stars of the art world. I am amazed to see how he took the basics I and his other teachers taught into a completely unique direction. He paints everything from beach scenes, portraits, east coast fishermen, and even western scenes with true heart (using real Indians as models in his western work, by the way), and every one of his paintings is a genuine personal statement. If you get a chance to take one of the workshops he teaches at his studio, I'd highly recommend it. http://loganhagege.com/

Ernesto setting up to paint as the storm clouds start rolling in.

The three-Js -- Jeff, Jeremy, and Jerome.

Marc and Frank.

I loved this little painting Jeremy did. The variety of subtle edges especially in the rocks and the wood beams as they went into the shadow were masterful.

Colin painting in front of the horse they tied up for me to paint.

When the storm finally hit, we all took shelter in the open shed, while the Felix's sister started a fire and roasted corn for all of us to eat while we watched the lightning. Occasionally a little bat in the rafters even flew down and circled us. 

Jerome, Logan, and Peter.

Nothing like being lazy after a long day of painting and riding. 

Of course, there's always someone like Colin to show us all up and do another painting even when it's raining. Don't those hard working people just make you sick!

    

If you're ever in San Miguel and want to see a working ranch and go on a ride through the canyons and rivers I'd highly recommend Tomas and Felix. Don't worry, you don't have to run your horses at all if you don't want to and they are extremely well trained and calm. Even though they do have e-mail, I'd suggest calling since they can only check e-mail every few days when they are in town.

Back in San Miguel the painting continued. Here's Dan painting in the overcast with an audience.

The sun comes out and the audience changes, but Dan is eternal.

Ernesto ready for any weather, protected by hat and umbrella! Those Pixar guys are just so pampered!

Kevin seeking some expert advice from a local. "Well, in my experience," the woman was telling him, "the best cure for a hangover is..."

Marc painting in front of the Cathedral.

    

Here's Colin painting in front of the statue of the founder of the town, I think. Everywhere we went, people were amazed at how tall Colin was. One teenaged girl asked if she could give him a hug and he said sure, rather embarrassed. She then pulled a chair over and gave him a hug standing on it, the top of her head still barely reaching his chin.

Here's Frank out painting with me - you can see my setup next to him. Frank has lived in Mexico for about twenty years and has truly reached paradise for any artist, not to mention his beautiful wife and daughter as well! You can see his and other artist's work in the gallery he owns in town - 
Galería Gardner
Zacateros 75,
San Miguel de Allende, Gto. C.P. 37700
frank@frankgardner.com
phone: 011-52-415-152 6290
www.frankgardner.com

Here's Ignat, Colin, Marc, Frank, and Frank's beautiful wife at his gallery.

"Oratorio" oil, 16" by 20"
Here's the painting I did that morning with Frank. I'm planning on doing a somewhat larger version of it in the studio with some of the people and pigeons I photographed while doing this study. The Cape Cod Museum of Art and Addison Art Gallery have asked all of us to have a show of paintings from the trip in early February of 2010, so I hope to have it done for that.

Peter.

Lest you think this trip was easy and that we never faced any hardships, well let me tell you about Sunday! Apparently, on Sundays, the villa's staff get the entire day off! It is very lucky that our group didn't starve to death without the cooks and we nearly ran out of dishes without anyone to wash them! Desperate times called for desperate measures, so we all pulled together and cooked breakfast -- or least we all pulled together and watched Peter and Dan cook breakfast for all of us. Whoever thought to invite those two was definitely thinking ahead!

    

Here's Peter and Dan slaving over the stoves. Even the kitchens are beautiful!

    

Just when I thought it impossible for things to get any more exciting, Alexey showed up! The photo on the left shows the pile of luggage he arrived with. I've never seen anyone travel with this much equipment - several easels and some canvases up to 40" by 60". I asked him how much he paid extra for checking all this, but, in typical Alexey fashion, he'd charmed the check-in girl at the airport into not charging him at all!

Though I knew of Alexey and his fantastic work, I'd never met him before and his enthusiasm, passion, and laughter didn't disappoint!

Probably Alexey is a godsend to anyone who is deaf and reads lips.

Within minutes, Alexey had me convinced to join him in the Aesthic Revolution to overthrow the current crazies that control most Museums and bar anything that represents true artistic beauty and skill. San Miguel seemed the perfect place for this with its history of hosting revolutionaries.

I'd heard lots of stories about Alexey and he is definitely a larger than life character. But I was surprised by the depth of his knowledge on a vast range of subjects and we talked long into the night about politics, art, and history. Alexey holds classical concerts at his huge Los Angeles studio that have become legendary. Being one of the several hundred people to attend has become a very sought after thing, with actors, artists, and writers attending. The LA Times even covers the event sometimes.

I especially agreed with Alexey's belief that we should stop trying to convince museums to let us be a part of their organizations and simply strike off on our own. After all, it is our work that is the more popular and relevant to all but the few brainwashed elite that control these institutions, so why collaborate at all with something so aesthetically bankrupt? Realistic artists need to create their own exciting and inspirational events that make us the cool place to be. 

Here's an excerpt from the book of my paintings and thoughts I'm currently working on and that I hope will be out in the middle of next year sometime. It goes right along with what Alexey and I were talking about.

        Recently I participated in a gathering called "Weekend with the Masters" at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and Museum, an incredible event organized by American Artist Magazine, whom I can't thank enough. The lineup of contemporary greats was amazing. Richard Schmid, David Lefell, Sheri McGraw, Susan Lyon, Dan Gerhartz, Jeremy Lipking, Jacob Collins, Quang Ho, Kevin Macpherson, Scott Christiansen, Mary White, Skip Witcomb, and several other contemporary masters. For four days all the artists did lectures, demonstrations and classes at this beautiful cultural institution. But when I asked why they hadn't used one of the empty rooms of the museum to display some examples of the "Masters" artwork while the event was going on, I found out that the Musem directors had no problem with renting out the entire place for the conference, but refused to have any of our paintings displayed there. They had no problem using our popularity to raise money for the institution, but the artwork itself that drew so many hundreds of admirers from all across the country was banned even for the few days of the weekend event. 
        At the Laguna Art Museum, I participated for many years in a Plein Air show and sale organized by the fantastic Laguna Plein Air Painters of America group.  The show turned out to be the most popular event the museum ever had and it raised the money necessary to do needed renovations to the aging museum. There were so many fantastic works done over the years during that show that I wondered why the museum didn't acquire one or two of the best each year and have something that the public could come to see year-round. Couldn't they see by the overwhelming response, that a decade of such a policy would create a collection that would draw people from across the country for years to come? 
        The last time I participated in the Laguna show, I went downstairs to look at the large masterpieces of William Wendt and Edgar Payne that were hung, not in a gallery, but at the bottom of the stairs, next to the bathrooms. After about a half hour of studying these incredible works, I decided to go into the actual gallery of the "contemporary" collection of the museum. Within half a minute, a breathless museum curator rushed into the room. "I'm sorry," I said, "the door was open so I assumed it was ok to look at the paintings?" She assured me it was fine, but explained that they have video cameras in the gallery and send someone down whenever a viewer entered. "For the protection of the collection," she added responsibly. The fact that I was left alone for a half hour in the hallway next to the bathrooms, where there were no video cameras, told me all I needed to know about their opinion of the Wendt and Payne paintings, the real masterpieces. 
        As I looked at the absolute nonsense they called Art in the room, I felt a profound depression descend upon me. When the curator recognized me as one of the artists who'd participated for so many years in the Plein Air show, she excitedly took me over to one horrible monstrosity of a work that looked as if it had been created by a gorilla scratching a pencil on paper in a random fit of rage. "You know, we so appreciate the money your plein air show has raised for the museum. This is one of the contemporary works the museum acquired with the funds from the sales of your paintings." I just haven't wanted to participate in that show again because of this encounter. I love the LAPAPA group and all that they do to raise the profile of great painting, and I'm sure they are doing more good than I by bringing their work to the public through the museum, but I have just become tired of such encounters with modern museum curators who so distain what I do.
         I did return to the Laguna Art Museum last year when they had a show of the work of William Wendt. The show was fantastic and far better attended than the exhibitions the museum has for its "contemporary" artists. All across the world, the shows for such masters of beauty like Monet, Sargent, Rodin, Whistler, Degas, etc. are standing-room only. The public recognizes beauty when it sees it and these displays are only tolerated by the museums because they occurred before the 20th century and the great "advance" in Art that banished beauty from inclusion in the temple. Some of it must be tossed to the public like decaying crumbs to keep them from pulling all tax funding or as a money-raiser to buy the "real" Art, but to allow current "pretty-picture-painters" to to hang on the hallowed walls of the temple for even a weekend would be sacrilegious pandering of the most degraded sort. 
        Much of what I just expressed was echoed far more eloquently by a panel discussion during the Colorado Springs Event and many other artists and writers for a long time now, so I can't take credit for it. Thomas Wolf's book, "The Painted Word," detailed the entire farce back in the seventies, to little effect. What made me laugh out loud, however, was when one of the American Artist employees told me that the people at the museum had been quite offended by the outspoken indictment artists like Richard Schmid, the filmmaker George Gallo, and the rest leveled against modern art and museums during the panel discussion. I laughed and told her to tell them that all of us were quite offended by what we didn't see on the walls of the museum!

I agree with Alexey completely and have determined to refuse to collaborate with the enemy any longer! No reason to rail against the nonsense in the museums and try and change their minds. Let them do their thing and we'll do ours, but I will not allow a dime of money raised by my paintings or teaching go to support something that has nothing but contempt for what I do.

When Frank's wife agreed to pose for three hours for us, I thought I'd try a 16" by 12"  canvas, which turned out to be too ambitious and I ended up washing it off. Jeremy was smarter and did a beautiful little 8" by 10" painting. Alexey had just flown all night and arrived from the airport and was a bit late in setting up after touring the incredible villa. Imagine my surprise, then, when he set up this giant canvas with only two and a half hours left to paint. And the worst thing is that his came out great while I ended up washing mine off because I couldn't finish it!

Ignat.

Jeff, Kevin, and Frank.

Jerome, Dan, and Marc.

    

Kevin, Marc, Dan, Jerome, and Paul.

After a week and a half of painting outdoors all day every day, thank god for park benches!

    

Ignat in the picturesque main square. With that hat, I-Pod, and surgical gloves, Iggy is practically painting in his own protective environment! Maybe we should build him a clear plastic bubble with arm holes and he could be the Bubble-boy painter.

"San Miguel Church" oil, 16" by 12"

For a heathen, I sure do paint enough churches! No doubt a psychiatrist or missionary could explain it to me, but I just can't help admiring the artistic beauty of these monuments to human irrationality. Beauty seems to transcend ideology, language, religion, and even politics. After we've forgotten what particular god a building, statue, or painting was dedicated to, the truly great works hold their power. I've admired Greek statues of their gods every bit as much as the Pieta, or Taj Mahal, or some of the sublime Buddhist temples I've seen in Tibet, though I don't have any belief in the literal truth of either's mythology. 

I did get a laugh while painting this painting when a group of obviously wealthy Texans walked up and read the mass and confession schedule next to the doorway. "Now this would be a great place to do confession," one burly Texas businessman drawled. "Heck, no one knows me here so there'd be absolutely no danger of my dark secrets getting out!" Surely there is a movie plot in here somewhere. Maybe a priest, torn by the plight of Mexican orphans, using some of the confessions he hears from wealthy American CEOs to leverage some needed funds for the Lord? Oh well, I probably do a bit too much thinking while I should be painting...

         

Frank and Ignat out painting another church with me. Sorry that there are more photos of some than others, but it was just the luck of the draw who I'd see while out painting.

Here's Colin feeding one of the orphaned puppies we found near the church. I just thought I'd make it even more difficult for his girlfriend than it must already be. Did I mention that Colin likes to take dance classes as well? I'm lucky that Susan doesn't read any of my writings on our website since I told her that real men would never take dance classes with their wives. I do find puppies and kittens irresistible, though, so I guess I'm still a wus.

I had to leave a few days before everyone, but saw a face-book posting from Jerome the next day that said, "I don't want to be a Penguin!" Someone will have to explain that one to me!

Ernesto and Logan painting the view of San Miguel from our rooftop. 

"San Miguel Rooftops" oil, 12" by 12"

Here's a painting I did of our villa's rooftop.

Colin squeezing in one last painting before the sun goes down.

Here's Jeremy, Ignat, and Logan in their holding cell before being transported to the main prison. It was sad to leave them there, but they really don't look all that upset do they? I wasn't clear exactly what they were charged with. Something about trying to raise money by doing tattoos on the street without a license and under the influence of Peyote. Unfortunately, I don't think they'd gotten permission from the customers to even do the tattoos in the first place. I also think that Ignat's hat was larger than Mexican law allowed for a foreigner, but  I think there will be a special edition of  the TV show "Artist's Locked Up Abroad" where the details will be revealed.

We'll have to do a painting trip there next year to visit them. Whatever the conditions, I have no doubt that Ignat will still be smiling!

Scott Burdick (-:

 

Here's some info below on the show that our group will be having in February 2010 at the Cape Cod Museum of Art and the Addison Gallery of some of the works from San Miguel.
For more info and to see the paintings online closer to the show, go to

http://www.addisonart.com/events.html

Friday, February 12
1:00 to 2:00
Creative Convergence
Plein Air Painters Artists Talk , Cape Cod Museum of Art
   

Friday, February 12
5:30 to 7:30


Creative Convergence Museum Reception
Cape Cod Museum of Art
60 Hope Lane, Off Route 6A
Dennis, MA

"Impressionist landscape painters are drawn to the beauty of light falling across the landscape. Their avowed intent is to capture that impression in the two-dimensional plane of the canvas. We live at a time when this art of seeing and recording the look of nature is widely practiced and has been brought to an extraordinarily high level of excellence. Since the 19th century, Cape Cod had been a center for plein air painting because of the special quality of its light and the sculptural aspects of its landscape. It is a rare treat to be able to see the work of an internationally trained group of impressionist painters focused on one of the other amazing regions of the world. We will see the reality of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, presented through the filter of the artist's eye—some things familiar and some things arrestingly novel—and thus be able to vicariously experience the place.

We are fortunate to be able to work with the Addison Art Gallery in presenting this exhibition which represents a local painting tradition in a much larger context."

Elizabeth Ives Hunter
Executive Director, Cape Cod Museum of Art

   
Saturday, February 13
5:30 to 7:30
Creative Convergence Gallery Reception
Once again, the Addison Art Gallery has the privilege of presenting the work of internationally renowned painters to art lovers on Cape Cod. These accomplished artists have created inspired interpretations of subjects ranging from sun-soaked portraits and town vignettes to sweeping landscapes. Together in exhibition, these diverse incarnations offer the viewer an integrated sense of a magical place, its people and their lives.

 

 

    Africa 2008 / 1999 LPAPA Show  

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