Tzimmes and the Maize God

Chanukah begins this evening and tomorrow is Thanksgiving .

As I prepare for tomorrow’s feast, our  first “official” dinner party since  moving back to LA I am feeling particularly grateful for the diverse influences that have shaped the person I am today. My first partner Douglas and his lovely family were German Jews, from them I was exposed to the joys of Jewish culture , including Chanukah.  Tzimmes ( a tasty treat loosely translated from the Yiddish  as a “big mess/deal/fuss”of stewed sweet potatoes, carrots and prunes) was always on the  Chanukah table this time of year and my own pot of  this aromatic stew bubbles away.

I am also  in the thick of preparing the centerpiece. Given that it is Thanksgiving , I am honoring our indigenous ancestors with prayer candles to the Maize God, Hun Hunuhpu. Thus far 10, and counting…

Without my relatively recent exposure to this rich culture through a marvelous professor ( who I now consider a friend), my infatuation with all things Meso may never have been. For that I am also grateful.


Like little soldiers, my Maize God prayer candles stand at attention waiting for their place on tomorrow’s banquet table. St Stephen, first Christian martyr leads the troops.

The diablo  vase was from a ceramic class I had taken a few semester’s back. I may very well be the WORST ceramicist ever, but surprise, surprise, I like decorating vessels.  This, I decorated post firing with oil colors, won’t last forever, but at least until I croak!

IMG_3889I’m thinking of marketing these candles, not just Maize God but a variety of Meso deities , plus other saints, Christian and otherwise, sacred and secular. What seems a fair price? Not looking for extravagant profit but  a reasonable price-thus far the candles themselves are a little under two bucks. Feedback very  welcome.

Well happy Chanukah, happy Thanksgiving,

be well, be safe,

until next time,


Progress in Paradise

It has been awhile since I have posted progress on my painting  And the Old Gods Were Pleased.   Frankly it is difficult for me to expose a painting that is less then complete.  But in the spirit of loosening my chains of restraint, here goes:

IMG_4514Detail   And the Old Gods Were Pleased

(essentially just the naughty bits)

And in the beginning, there was Sepia:


So I’m coming along.

I have two other paintings, about the same size that I am working on simultaneously . They are definitely experimental for me and I haven’t worked the nerve to show them yet.

I’m not at all sure if they are any good or just loopy.

Will have to wait and see I suppose.


Pardon the terrible glare, it is 7 pm here, sun long set and my studio lighting is quite harsh. I need to work on that but  I really haven’t a clue as to what is best.

Suggestions for lighting welcome.

Well  I  must walk the monsters, they have been patient for much of the day; it is a lovely drizzly evening here, quite the treat in LA.

Be well,


Searching for Tlaloc

When visiting Mexico City we were determined to find a massive fountain Diego Rivera  had designed for Chapultepec Park. The mosaic fountain depicted, appropriately for the city’s water-works, the rain god Tlaloc. Finding this fountain proved to be difficult, we encountered blank stares when we discussed what we thought would be a well-loved emblem of civic pride.

Sadly this great work seems to have been largely forgotten. Time has moved on and much of the elaborate fountain schemes are dry and neglected. Rivera’s work has been restored (click here for info concerning its renovation ) but there is a sense of desolation to the place. That and it was fast approaching dusk, we were lost as hell, in a strange city, in a VAST park without a clue as to how to get back to the b&b-thank the old gods for Google map apps.

But we did return and now safe and sound I have crafted a relief print of the great god, he should be our deity in sun parched Southern California. Happily I have found a small press available for use at the local Art & Craft Museum on Wilshire Blvd.

IMG_4510Blessed Tlaloc

artist’s proof, relief print

I hadn’t realized it at the time but I was influenced by Rivera’s playful interpretation of this most fierce god; a god so relentless for tribute he demanded the blood of tearful toddlers.


Rivera’s take on the god, magnificent image NOT my own but that of National Geographic from the article above.

My own, far lamer images follow:



Intricate aquatic themed mosaic work covers almost every surface.


Difficult to capture from the angle, but a detail of his face.


The back of his head features a different face.

This trip established for me a profound respect for Diego Rivera and his work, I hadn’t much of an opinion before, but the breadth of his work astounds me.

Must get cracking’, I have three canvases in various states of completion.

Until next time, take care,


A Pilgrimage to the Templo Mayor


Built upon the bones of the Templo Mayor the Metropolitan Cathedral sprawls out in baroque splendor. It is a wondrous complex of buildings, unmistakably the Church of Rome, yet a distinct synthesis of western aesthetic values and the indigenous spirit. This magnificent structure is adjacent to what remains of the great Aztec temple.

The Templo Mayor complex is a strange sight, a raw brutal testament to what was, it remains defiant against these new usurping gods.

I was thrilled by it all, the old and the new gods.


Art by Roberto Cueva Del Rio

I’m not going to be able to identify all that I post, I simply could not keep up with the wealth that was offered- you must go and experience the richness for yourself.



The museum sits in the shadow of the cathedral, please note this is the least magnificent aspect of the facade, just its side profile. Stunning and exhilerating architecture, clearly formally orchestrated yet organic.

P1000270 Exterior remains popping up amidst Colonial order.


Skull rack- too pooped to look up the proper name-sorry for that.

The interior collection follows:

IMG_4244Eagle Offering Vessel-Cuauhxicalli


the fearsome Xipe Totec


a delightf ul Bat God, over life size, as is the Xipe above.

The following are Temple figures found in the ruins, a little under life size. I find them particularly intriguing, on par with Archaic Greek sculpture.





If the above figures were monumental, this crumbling fellow was small and portable yet still conveying power. The following few are all roughly fist sized.


I love this guy.


He was a little over a foot if I remember correctly.

If one sought rain, the Templo Mayor offered a plethora of Tlaloc  and Chac idols.





As I began with a black Old God, I will conclude with a New God, also black, also beautiful.

This Christ greets you as you enter the Metropolitan Cathedral. His painful wounds gush with crimson brocade ribbons. It is a wonderful spectacle. I love the fan at his waist.


That is it for now, have a lovely weekend.

Be well,


Snooping on Frida (& Diego)

Our recent trip to Mexico City was meant to be a pilgrimage to the Old Gods and the New Goddesses, namely Remedios Varo and Leonora Carrington. Sadly we were unable to see any of their  work, most on loan (Posado’s work was equally elusive , partly due to our lame Spanish I fear).  

But as my friend Rosa loves to tell me when a door slams shut a window opens. This trip if anything was a Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo extravaganza.

I am new to loving Frida, having been overexposed to her ominous brow  plastered on everything from coffee mugs to mouse pads. But since exploring the woman surrealists of Mexico I have fallen passionately in love with her. A trip to the Casa Azul was a necessity , tourists be damned. Fortunately Mexico City is not an early bird town and we had the place to ourselves in the early morn, a great luxury in such a metropolis.

 Italian Vogue has some exhibition going on concerning her clothing, again my Spanish is so lousy that I missed most of the point; but her clothing is fantastic .

Some of her costumes will be familiar to those who love her sell portraits.






As frothy and candy colored was her wardrobe, the corsets and crutches added a dark element. 


As fashion isn’t really a burning passion for me, I was more interested in the domestic life the two shared.

Although much of the Casa Azul is now devoted to gallery space one gets a sense of how well they lived, with taste not ostentation.  A Bloomsbury south of the border.

I was thrilled by the kitchen with its bright yellow furnishings, so inspirational.


Every artist has to peak into her studio, I was impressed that it wasn’t huge (Diego had a large studio of course) , but it was so well lit. Their favorite architect Juan O’Gorman, a great artist in his own right, added sensitive additions to her family home. 




Fun note, she stored excess paint in empty nail polish bottles, a glamorous touch.


Another interesting note is that her enviable easel was a gift from uber capitalist John D. Rockefeller; amusing that such ardent Marxists could be friendly enough to accept such a wonderful gift. For those interested it was made by Windsor and Newton, and it is fantastic; my own pitiful easel pales in comparison.

The gardens of Casa Azul are equally inspiring, generally I avoid the soil, but I’m tempted.


exterior view of the O’Gorman addition with charming dove-cots built from embedded clay jugs.



Rivera’s idea of a garden folly, a miniature pyramid; a perfect altar for Dia de los Mortos.


If I am going to work in the yard I must paint the walls blue as well because my husband looks so handsome against them.


That’s it for now, back to work, but until next time be well,


Missing Tenochtitlan

We arrived home yesterday and my head is still spinning from our trip to Mexico City. I have been at the easel most of the day scrambling to put inspiration to canvas.

So much so my fingers hurt so I am taking a wee break and posting just a few of the many photos we have taken . I will post more, in a more thematic sequence but for now…

P1000321With Chalchiuhtlicue @National Museum of Anthropology- a wonder of a place.


@ Templo Mayor


In Condesa where our B&B was, just  the loveliest neighborhood; chock-a-block with ArtDeco architecture, rivaling Miami Beach.


Try to guess who’s house I was at.


The spouse-man with one of the Voladores de Papantla performers; quite a spectacle.


The Voladores de Papantla performance is  supposed to be descended from a ritual to the  fearsome god Xipe Totec.


The primary reason for the trip, a pilgrimage To Where The Gods Were Born, Teotihuacan.


Atop the Temple of the Moon, we had just finished the Temple of the Sun so our disheveled appearance can perhaps be forgiven.

It was glorious, at the summit of the Sun pyramid butterflies had amassed as if to welcome pilgrims; a good day indeed.


Frankly just a vanity shot, usually I look  goofy as hell but this isn’t too bad.

At Coyoacán, possibly one of the most gracious tourist spots around.

I’m going to head back to my painting, but I will test patience by more updates once I have settled in.

Take care and be well,