You are currently browsing the daily archive for January 2, 2023.

I started this several years ago and put it away, not to rediscover it until Saturday, when my daughter planned an alebrije-painting session for the family as a Christmas present. I did the patterns on the tongue, top fangs, and right cheek then. I want to complete it and hang it on the wall, instead of consigning it to a drawer of half-painted and unpainted critters, so this evening I started painting the sides of the face. Even using acrylic markers, I can’t get the precision and intricate detail of Oaxacan artists, but they are my beacon.

To paint alebrijes is to be back in Oaxaca: sitting around tables with a dozen other norteamericanos in the upper terrace of the Oaxaca Lending Library. Painting my very first one (a sea turtle) in the town square of San Martín Tilcajete during a festival dedicated to this, the town’s signature art form. Sitting at home (home for our six-month sabbatical), at the table we had bought in the huge market, Abastos, strewn with the evidence of our various projects, such as the long huizache pod I had picked up from under a tree in the neighborhood, captivated by the geometry patterning its surface also.

In progress: Ocean 2, Ink pen on paper

So what did I learn last year?

That I can stick to a daily art practice for six months or more.

That expecting myself to share what I’ve worked on that day is crucial to keeping the practice going.

So it’s a fresh new year, and my plan is to make art every day, and to share it here (allowing myself an exception when privacy seems to demand one).

I went to Tucson last week, and took some photos of the “ocean” in Biosphere 2, fascinated by the interplay between the strict grid of the ceiling and the water that reflected it. This is two days’ worth of drawing, and I figure it will take another day or two to complete it.

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