Tuesday, May 5, 2015


After a very long rest I have decided to keep my blog more or less alive. A few months back I ran into a spate of posting glitches, and as I neared the point of tearing out hair, I figured it just wasn't worth the anguish. Well "a change is as good as a rest" and at about the same time a lot of change began to stir up my life:

First of all, last summer I started feeling a bit ill – aches and pains, bad sinus headaches with a bit of trouble walking thrown in. It got worse over a period of months and I started seeing doctors. We went out to the coast a couple of times, and I felt a lot better with the added heat and humidity. Still not 100%, but better. We decided to rent a very nice, well lit studio overlooking Jaltemba Bay, on the coast north of Puerto Vallarta. That was a good decision. We are now happily ensconced and painting high above the ocean, but that is getting ahead of the tale a bit...

Back in San Miguel de Allende about the beginning of February, I felt (wrongly as it turned out) that I was about as miserable as I could get. The doctors all were thinking allergies and putting me on elimination diets of one kind or other. I lost about 12 pounds and by the beginning of March the situation was getting pretty serious. By the first of April I was suffering pain from just about every joint in my body and I could hardly stand to put my weight on my feet. I was shuffling around like a sick man in his 90's!

And that was just about the time we were totally immersed in the process of moving to our new studio on the coast. The first part of April was a living hell for me. But at the same time, a fellow San Miguel artist (Karen Lee) told Donna about the clever doctor in Mexico city who had diagnosed her illness, when many others had totally misinterpreted her symptoms. It turned out she has an autoimmune disease, and this guy saved her when she was fading fast. She introduced me to him and, though retired, he offered to give me a consultation. And what a consult it was! 3 hours of examination and probing questions. He entered it all into his computer and came up with a preliminary diagnosis which has, in the last week been positively confirmed:
Wegener's disease.

Yes, the wegeners (another autoimmune sucker) have got me, but it's a bad news/good news thing. Where people used to contract this very rare illness (20 new cases each year in all of Mexico) and just keep going down hill, they now have an arsenal of meds to fight back with, and a disciplined diet to go along. As it turned out, we happen to be vegans already, and that was exactly the direction the specialist was pointing us in. I started popping the pills in our hotel room in Mexico city and was incredulous when about 8 hours later the pain began to slightly subside. I thought "placebo effect", but much to my surprise it just kept receding. At the point of this writing I'm about totally free from pain – just a little numbness left in my feet. There are only 4 specialists in the entire U.S.A. that focus on this disease. I've been referred to the only one in Mexico, and I'll be seeing him on the 12th. of this month. Both doctors have been surprised by my rapid turn around. They expect a full recovery...over time.

So now I'm feeling a bit "reborn" here on the "Riviera Nayarit". I can hardly believe what has gone down in the last 6 months! I'm painting again!! – I had thought that was history. Happy, hardly describes the state we are in. I'll post a photo or two today, but fully intend to get some new paintings onto the blog as they roll off the press. They might be San Miguel subjects over the summer (we have a show there in August), but thereafter they might start taking on a more tropical flavour. 





Sunday, February 1, 2015

Plaza Civica Painting: "After Comida"

"After Comida" 18x14 ins. oil on panel
(Plaza Civica, San Miguel de Allende)

This one was started last Tuesday afternoon in one of SMA's main downtown plaza's. There was a mix-up with the students and half of them didn't show up. We did have Al Skarr who is a very good painter in his own right, so we had a great time, anyway! Lots of appreciative Mexicans monitoring our progress through the late afternoon. Lots of kids leaning across our palettes to get a better look. I always just cringe when they do this, thinking about how their mothers are going to howl when they see all that fresh paint on there crisp, clean clothes. We try our best to let them know we're only concerned about the oil paint, and the effect it's going to have on mama –they back off for a few seconds, but then they're right back for another look! They are the sweetest, well mannered, respectful children imaginable. And they sometimes have surprisingly subtle questions about what we're doing, and why. I must add, it is sometimes a bit of a challenge to give them the attention they deserve when you're very, very deep in concentration. But we try our best, even though it's a supreme challenge a veces en Espanol. Our Spanish doesn't really encompass...subtle.
This painting started it's life being broadly painted, but ended up, after several days as a complex thing. Donna posted it to the "Plein Air Painters" FB site and I was afraid it was going to give all the pros a headache. Judging from their response though, lots of them seem to like it, so I guess the week was well spent after all.

Wyliss Heaton is flying into S.M today, and is going to join us for plein air Tuesday afternoon at 1:30, on Garita (above Barranca) near where the old fountain is. So, if you want to paint with a real master (or two), and you happen to be in town, you're welcome to join us. Students welcome –as always. (more info on Donna Dickson's blog)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Al Lado del Jardin

Al Lado del Jardin 12" x 16" oil on panel

   Started this sitting on the west wall of the Jardin Principal for a couple of hours. I'm pretty happy with it, although the camera has kind of enhanced the yellows beyond what they are in the painting, so I'm cringing a bit as I look now at the photo. Oh well, you get the idea...