Sunday, November 28, 2021


Xolo, (pronounced in English sho-low) is a dog breed developed by Mexico’s early indigenous peoples more than 3,000 years ago. It is famous as a hairless type dog historically revered by Aztec people and others. Once popular, it almost went extinct after the Spanish invasion. Apparently they did not like it and it lost favor. But indigenous people insured its survival and today it is having a burst of popularity as a symbol of authentic Mexican culture. Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera owned several, as well as, famous Mexican artist, Francisco Toledo. Xolos are depicted in sculptures and paintings.

For most of my life dogs have been companions. But for the last twenty years I have been without. Owning a dog and traveling do not mix. At one point I was gone a year. Other times for months. 

Now, Amy and I live in Mexico. Amy wants a dog. A neighbors pet shows up every day at our backdoor, but he always goes away. Amy has come to adore Xolos  for their unique appearance and demeanor. Also for their spiritual symbolism, (in ancient times, Xolos were often sacrificed and then buried with their owners to act as guides to the soul on its journey to the afterlife. They have been found in burial sites of both the Maya and the Toltec). 

I have to agree that they are different.
I have never been fond of hairless dogs, but could grow to like and love one I suppose.

We found a four year old Xolo here in Oaxaca called Pepe who is available. He has been well cared for by a man who is a dog lover and trainer. Jorge has a pack of animals he dotes on. 

We have had an initial meet and greet. Amy has been researching possible names from the ancient Mexican language called Nahuatl. We like two especially: Tochitli (rabbit) and Potchli (smoke). 

Looks like the next step is to bring Pepe home with us for a couple weeks and see how we like each other.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Break Rules

Advice to artists: create a style and stick with it, become famous and own a highly marketable brand. The same for any business.

Usually an artist chooses to concentrate on one discipline; like classical piano, poetry, fiction writing, or specific type of painting. He masters a style and gives it his own personality, perhaps becoming famous as a brand. If that brand goes big he is world famous. For instance Van Gogh. He made paintings in his own style, not popular at the time, but highly identifiable. Exactly 100 years after he died, Vincent’s  painting, Portrait of Dr. Gachet sold at auction for 163 million dollars.

My own trajectory as an artist is varied. I have a huge interest in the world and find that if I am in a niche I get uncomfortable. So I break rules and surprise people with explorations into the unknown. Then I also surprise myself.

My greatest success as an artist has been as a landscape painter. I am grateful for being able to make a living with my painting (see Steven Boone website). I often pinched myself to be sure I was not dreaming. “And I have not had to be a waiter on the side,” I told folks.

Along the way I have written a memoir, poetry, and magazine articles. I have been a publisher, made photographs, learned graphic design, been a printmaker and owned art galleries. 

I go in different directions simultaneously.
Recently I looked through old files of photographs and came upon some made between 15 and 20 years ago I share today. 

Sunday, November 14, 2021


 “Vecino” is Spanish, meaning neighbor in English. I have lived in many places over the years and neighbors always influenced my life. Some are loud and brash, others secretive and hidden. There are those who are warm and engaging and others who want to be left alone. What matters most is if a neighbor can be trusted. Will they help in an emergency? Look out for your well being? Honor your property and basic rights? 

When Amy and I moved to Mexico, we knew no one except the realtor who sold us our home. Our house is set back off a dirt road in our village. We have scattered homes above us and below us. 

Our home is distinctly better than any others nearby. So undoubtedly people wonder who we are, but stay at a distance. We are friendly, offering car rides to those without a vehicle who depend on local tuk-tuk´s, and give work to people and almost always pay more than they ask.

The process of assimilation will take a long time here.

From our start in the village of San Pedro Ixtlahuaca, there have been “gifts.” We have met people who adopted us immediately. Foremost has been Salomon. He is short, coffee-brown colored and sturdy like most Zapotec people of Mexico. The former owner of our property liked him so much she gave away part of her land to him where he is building his home near ours. His family lives hours away at an agricultural cooperative, but he will eventually move them here. Salomon previously lived as caretaker in our house and has always been willing to help us when we did not understand an issue. He does not speak English but Amy and him get along  in simple conversation.

Lately Amy and I have been helping him with artwork for a powerpoint presentation he is scheduled to give soon. I redesigned a logo for his coffee farm cooperative. Amy made images for the opening page of his presentation.

Sunday, November 07, 2021

Change of Season

Last weekend’s Dia de Muertos celebrations burst with color, sight and sounds. In downtown Oaxaca, marching bands, street performers, face painting and people dressed in "muertos" costumes injected excitement everywhere. The festivities were for about four days. 

Some fields around our home in the little village of San Pedro Ixtlahuaca came alive with color as crops of marigolds and cockscomb, timed for Dia de Muertos arrived in full bloom on schedule. Then with a rush, people swept in and bought all the flowers, taking them home for ofrenda altars, to decorate entries, setting them at the graves of loved ones or decorating businesses.