Arts in the Family: A Family of Artists Just Trying to Make a Living in the Wilds of Texas


Friday, June 18, 2010

Mexican History Art

"La Familia". Acrylic on canvas board. 12"x16".

For a while I was obsessed with the historical period leading up to the Mexican American war. I did a lot of research and sketched out a number of ideas for paintings. One of the ones I completed and am most proud of is "General Castrillon Takes Prisoners" which shows the last survivors of the Alamo being saved from wrath of Mexican soldiers by General Castrillon who, despite Santa Anna's orders to take no prisoners, did so anyway in order to ask that Santa Anna spare their lives. It's not a well known tale but it got me to thinking,in contrast to those individuals within the Alamo walls, how little is known of the lives of the Mexican soldiers of that time.

For all the soldados and soldaderas that were a part of that conflict there are as many forgotten stories of comaraderie, hardship, valor, faith and humanity in the face of the brutal realities of war. The painting above shows a family, as I imagined them, that traveled on foot from deep within Mexico to fight in a land that was unknown to them. A very young conscript is flanked by his mother and sister facing an uncertain future but standing firm nonetheless. Change the time period and the uniform and it could be a contemporary portrait of an American soldier experiencing a similar life.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Flamenco Show

Click on the above images for a magnified view.

Pammy is stage manger for a Flamenco show featuring a variety of flamenco artists including flamenco masters Teo Morca and Timo Lozano whose careers have taken them to the Kennedy Center, the Bolshoi Theater and the New York Metropolitan Opera, to name a few.

The performances are one weekend only starting Saturday the 26th of and Sunday the 27th of May.The performances will take place at the Carver Community Cultural Center at 226 N. Hackberry. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster and at the Carver box office. For more info on the show go to their website at

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mirasol Courts Monuments of Man Mural

This was a really fun one to paint because of the active participation of the kids. It was painted in 1990 on the westside of San Antonio at the Mirasol Courts. Some of the kids that helped paint it lived at the residence where the mural was being painted. It was theirs to enjoy everyday. Sad to to say, though, that this mural is no longer there. A few years ago the city decided to make all the homes new and improved without trying to preserve all the murals found there including the mine. Thoughtless acts by soulless people.

This mural was one of three painted side by side. I'll post some of the other ones as soon as I can find the photos. I used to bring markers and paper so that the really young kids could keep making art if they got tired of working on the mural.

Wesley Community Center Mural 2003

This is a mural where I acted as mural facilitator but designed and painted primarily by the kids who frequented the Wesley Community Center in south San Antonio.

There are two sides to the mural, each depicting what the kids liked best of the center. It had been a few years since I worked with a mural crew of kids but it was a lot of fun and I was really impressed with all the ideas the kids had for the mural.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bonzo Crunch: Fool at Large

Pam and Bonzo Crunch, in Dallas, Texas posing for a lovely portrait in front of some of the picturesque architecture that the big D is known for throughout the civilized world. We were heading for an audition for a Barney video back when it was shot in Dallas.

Me and Rik, that is Bonzo, making with the funny- type humorous faces with the mugging and the red noses. Behind us is our old Ford Areostar van that took us to California and back to Texas when Pammy and I worked for the Circo Osorio a year later in 1999.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Train Runs and Route Cards 1994

Looking out from our roomette in the "Clown Car".

Reading the comics in our roomette. Paradise baby!

Inside the "Clown Car" which had a refrigerator, sink and stove that was shared by all the clowns who resided there. That's Edzui (Edge) making his steak breakfast. Behind him is the someone enjoying the view on the vestibule.

In the Pie Car with one of the cooks. Man! I can't remember his name. I hate it when that happens!

We're on the west coast dude. Check out those tasty waves! Duuuuuuuuuuude!!!!


Pammy out on the vestibule in going through the Carolinas in winter...with real snow!!...WOW!

A route card from the summer of '94. We'd get these at the beginning of the season to send to our families or to keep for ourselves in order to know our schedule ahead of time. I don't think they distribute these anymore. Alas.

Train run somewhere in the midwest on our way to who knows where... 'cause I can't remember.

On Sundays on the Ringling show we usually had two shows and then we'd load out so we could go on to the next town. Load out days could be hectic but we usually looked forward to them because we'd be on a train run for at least a couple of days which meant rest. You could also walk from train car to train car visiting and partying or you could simply stand outside on the vestibule drinking a cup of coffee as you watched the countryside go by. We slept long the first part of the train run until we couldn't sleep anymore. The train rocks you to sleep so you tend to wake up well rested then you go to the Pie Car ( the place most everyone goes to on a run) to get something to eat and sit and talk. We loved performing in the circus and we miss it but we miss the train runs almost as much. Crazy , huh?
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