Thank You To The Bill and Melida Gates Foundation and Latinos In Philanthropy for ArteFest

At the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today for ArteFest, the Gates Foundation’s Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration.

What an honor to be inside the foundation that is making such a huge difference all around the world, and what a thrill to meet so many philanthropists!

I’m also in awe of the sheer creative energies and talents of my fellow Latinex artists.

Thank you so much to Susi Collins, Pilar Pacheco, Izmir Santiago, Io Blair-Freese for being such brilliant hosts, and to Irene Gomez at the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture for bringing us all together.

14650174_10154607616627162_6079208263463550758_n 14642354_10154607616507162_1606971730229137135_n 14600931_10154607616267162_3558133849747532664_n 14601056_10154607616157162_2030135349804806690_n 14611046_10154607616762162_6965917557756104218_nThank you Blanca Santander and her dear husband James for the photos!!!


How Podcasting and Blog Talk Radio Are Changing The Art System

My most dependable income stream as a professional artist has been teaching. I’ve been tenured faculty for over 20 years. It should come as no surprise that I am a life-long learner. As a professional culture creator, and as an educator “sharpening my saw” is an imperative!

These days I’m exploring the world of podcasting. I haven’t embraced social media with great gusto, but am beginning to see the potential for expanding our learning, understanding, and networks through podcasts.  I mean, a slow commute can become a classroom with podcasts!

I did my first FB Live last weekend to enhance what I did in the classroom for my anatomy students. If the flu shots yesterday hadn’t floored both my husband and me, I’d be broadcasting again today, maybe in color, since I did another study of the skull.  Why is planar analysis so hard to grasp?

I mentioned the possibilities this feature has for artists an culture creators to one of my models this week, Shawna Holman, and already she’s trying it out too! I hope it’s a feature that can add reach for her art business and self-expression.

I want to thank Leslie Saeta and the other wonderful hosts at Artists Helping Artists on BlogTalkRadio for the inspiration to try it out and spread the word. https://www.facebook.com/Artists-Helping-Artists-130505990361963/



Thinking About Refugees Braving High Seas and Teaching Young Artists About Life Drawing

New in the studio, another painting for Migrations, because I’ve been a bit flooded lately, thinking about all the refugees braving the seas:   Crossing The Straits 24°20’38.5”N, 82°29’32.0”W, 12″ x 12″, oil on cradled wood


Today was the first day my drawing students worked with a life model, AND the first day they tried out sighting and tonal shapes. Here are my favorite student drawings from the last pose of the session.

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Also here is a video lesson on how to apply planar analysis to a skull that I filmed this past weekend. It demonstrates how to simplify the intricacies of the bones of the head into three planes: top, front, and side by using a few lines and some shadows.


When The Subconscious Decides To Help You Out

This new drawing in my studio is a perfect example of how the creative process can bring surprises along with it.

It is a new version of the same gesture that I had drawn in graphite powder just days before. (See below).


The newer drawing plays with contour lines in brown marker. The thing about markers is you can’t erase anything. Imagine my surprise when before I even knew how or why, a bird’s nest materialized!

Conceptual as my drawings are, sometimes symbols from the subconscious just bubble up. I have been thinking about my two homelands (Cuba and the USA) a lot lately…they seem to have become two fragile spotty eggs gnarled in my wild hair.

The first version is closer to what I had conceived, but the second, with a little help from my subconscious, is actually far more interesting.


Reflections on Liberty Denied Opening and A New FB Live Broadcast

It’s been a busy first week back on campus teaching full time!

I also had an opening to attend at CWU where I met so many wonderful scholars, artists, and community activists. What a treat!

My gratitude to The Museum of Culture & Environment at Central Washington University, to Provost Katherine Katherine Frank who came out to welcome the artists and guest speakers for Liberty Denied: Immigration, Detentions, and Deportation. Thank you especially to Dr. Susan Noyes Platt for writing such a powerful statement for the exhibit, and to Museum Director Mark Auslander, for hosting the show. Most of all, thank you to all the students and community members who lent their enormous support, passion, and energy to the evening.

Read Dr. Platt’s exhibition essay here: http://www.cwu.edu/museum/liberty-denied-immigration-detention-deportation

This week I also tried out my first FB Live broadcast. My drawing students had a tough time grasping planar analysis, so I did a demo in my studio for anyone to watch. Drop on in and get insight on why exercises like these feed my private art practice.


Beforehand/Afterwards II 2015-2016 Pigment Ink print on Archival paper, wood chair and embroidered military blanket dimensions varied

Liberty Denied Opens at the Museum of Culture & Environment!

I’m so excited to be showing with a great group of artists at the Museum of Culture & Environment, Central Washington University.

Liberty Denied: Immigration, Detention, Deportation collects work that explores the challenges experienced by immigrants, with a focus on the Pacific Northwest.

An opening reception is planned for September 29 at 5:30pm. The show runs through December 10th.

The Museum of Culture & Environment at CWU is located at Dean Hall, 1200 Wildcat Way, Ellensburg, WA.

The Museum is open Wednesday-friday from 11am-4pm, and Saturday from 10am-3pm.


After 9/11 and Chapter 2 of Migrations: Parinamavada

9/11 always takes the wind out of my sails. It boggles my mind a whole generation has only known this country at war. I’ve been painting but otherwise coiled into my inner corners like a closed box.

Here is the beginning of Chapter 2 of the Migrations Journal. Titled Parinamavada, it’s all about the numinous border between the outside and inside of the body– our senses. The ultimate infiltrations, the outer entering our inner self.


The poetry here is mine, and begins with musings over the immaterial senses.


This question about whether perception is passive or active is highly significant. The observer’s effect in Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle is not just an aberration of quantum physics.


It’s true we don’t inhabit the quantum field. We move about and occupy an Einsteinian universe, but tell me you’re behavior doesn’t respond to the gaze of a hostile party if you’re an undocumented immigrant, or person of color, or LGBTQIA? Yeah, the observer’s effect is quite palpable in this universe.

Where is my consciousness, in my mind, my heart, my digestive system? Is it in the fabric of my community, is it an aggregate response to my perceptions and yours?



That uncertainty again…if reality and memory shift, where is that border?


The Art Museum Is My New Cathedral: More Meditations From The Migrations Journal

Here’s hoping you had a fun Labor Day! Here are the last four double page spreads in chapter 1 of the Migrations Journal. Stay tuned, chapter two is next!


Years ago I rescued an art encyclopedia from certain recycling. Bits and pieces of its pages end up in prints and sketchbooks. Here, one of these pages serves a fun and (secret) bit of self-reflection. After all, encyclopedias and art archives are “astonishing Human arrangements” in their own right!


Of course, unlike Milosz, my cathedral is not a church. And the prayers I preserve have more to do with the art museum and art center than anything else.


I love to sketch hands from paintings and sculptures on display in museum collections. I feel they reach out to us in a kind of frozen urgency, pointing and pivoting so that we too can follow in that endless procession that began when our most ancient ancestors plastered their hands on a cave wall.

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Isn’t art or creative expression, whatever form it takes, a borderline between our minds and flesh? That’s our meeting place, where thought is transmitted through the senses.

And that’s where we’ll meet next, in chapter two.




Breath Is A Metaphor For Spirit In The Migrations Journal

Onwards, deeper inside The Migrations journal, chapter 1, entitled Vinyasa.


In yoga, a vinyasa is a coordinated set of movements, usually linked by the breath. In my journal breathing is a metaphor for spirit or life-force, for when we give up the breath that is when we die.

IMG_1731 IMG_1732 IMG_1734 IMG_1733 Milosz was Catholic, as was I once upon a time, and in these verses he explores the rituals and symbols of communal worship. I miss that feeling of union, but much rather be alone and true than fake it.