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


Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Creature Cometh

My next ink illustration is still in the sketch stage but I'm getting closer to a final drawing. I think it's needs a bit more text here and there to make it look more like a movie poster as I'd like it to appear. The figures behind the creature still need some tweeking as well. I can't wait to work on the final!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Roundup

This week was spent mostly planning ahead for future work. There's a Texas history comic I've got outlined and will begin work on this month. Pammy is planning on doing some baking for the holidays for profit this time around.

Mostly though we fretted about bills since we always seem to be playing catch up. With the holiday season right around the corner we don't want to have to worry about how we're going to buy presents for the kids and still have enough for our usual expenses. I think we'll be okay so long as we don't have any expensive surprises waiting to pounce upon our vulnerable bank account to feast on it's frail carcass.

Tonight, thanks to payday, we'll finish the work week sans financial concerns. And since it is Friday and it's the Halloween season I bought a vhs copy of Disney's the Haunted Mansion that we'll watch as we dine on hotdogs and popcorn just like at the movies. We'll stay up late watching movies, drawing and reading good books and sleep in tomorrow. I hope you have a fun Friday too!

Coming Soon...

Good news everyone, well at least for the Ramirez household, Ghostbusters will be re-released to theaters, digitally remastered and restored and in time for Halloween! Far out, man!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Summer of 1988

The summer of 1988 saw the official beginning of my professional art career when I was hired as a muralist for the Community Cultural Arts Organization. It was a non-profit organization that painted murals throughout the housing projects of San Antonio. The murals were subjects and designs reflected the neighborhood's culture and part of the mission was to recruit young people of the community to assist in the painting of the murals.

I had been only with the organization a couple of months when Alex Rubio and I were selected by our boss to create a painting commissioned by Father Elizondo of the San Fernando Cathedral depicting the acsension of the Virgen Mary to heaven. This was the first of many large paintings and murals Alex and I teamed up to create.

I don't remember how long that one took but I recall some of my fellow art classmates from the University of Texas in San Antonio helping out. My roommates Greg Pickens and Lisa Duck were there a few times lending a hand. The biggest challenge for me came when I started getting requests from the volunteers and workers at the church to paint there child or nephew or grandchild as one of the angels in the painting. Suddenly it became a portrait fest as I painted over a dozen child portraits. It was a a great experience for a recently graduated art student who a few months before had no idea how he would be making a living as an artist.

These are newspaper clippings showing the painting at an early stage. You can see a few of the portraits I've already completed. (Click on the images for a magnified view.)

From the Sketchbook- More Cantina Aliens

Happy Birthday Lou Jacobs

Yesterday, September 13th, would have been Lou Jacobs' birthday. As a producing clown and prop builder, he performed for the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus for over sixty years. He is best remembered for his mini car routine and was the first ever living person to be honored on a postage stamp. More good info on Lou Jacobs can be found on the links below.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


It's been a very good day today. There were a few things on our "to do" list that needed attention. But before we got down to business Pammy and I had a walk after we took the kids to school and a very nice lunch at our favorite restaurant we call "The Pink House". Later in the day we stopped by the dance studio where our kids take classes and were told that an anonymous donor had paid for the entire fall and spring sessions for our daughter's ballet classes. We were speechless.

I've gotten a bit cynical about a lot of things in the last few years. Life has a tendency to do that to me but the generosity shown by that individual made me reconsider the logic of seeing life through eyes clouded by cynicism. Wasted energy. Wasted time.

And how do you thank someone for such an unselfish act? We would only embarrass them I suppose, which is why it's best that person remain unknown to us. All we can do is "pass it down" as they say. Be generous. Be kind. Life is good. People are good.

Monday, September 12, 2011

More Circus Memories- Barry Lubin

Grandma. Color Pencil on paper. 9"x12" , 1995.

Barry Lubin a.k.a. "Grandma" the clown and star of the Big Apple Circus was a guest director for the RBBBC Clown College in 1993. He was to direct some gags for the Final Exam show but would also stroll around chatting with us wannabees. He seemed like a very quiet person but soon realized he had a dry wit. Since then we've seen him whenever the show played New York and each time he was as nice as always. Below are some informative links about New York's favorite clown.

Circus Memories- 1989-90

Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Red Unit Clown Alley 1989-90. Pammy, in polka dot shirt and orange wig, is peeking around a clown in a tux and pink wig.

These photos are from the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus Gunther Gebel Williams Farewell Tour that was Pammy's first time on the show. It had great costumes and floats plus Clown Alley was pretty big too. This was also a couple of years before Ringling started hiring featured clowns which effectively cut down the performance time for Clown Alley.

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