Sunday, April 28, 2024

Inspiration is Key

Oaxacan Woman

It's been about six months since I delved headfirst into the realm of creating images using artificial intelligence, and I must say, the journey has been nothing short of captivating. From the very beginning, I was spellbound by the incredible abilities and swiftness with which AI can bring imagery to life.

William-Adolphe Bouguereau Girl
What initially drew me in was the sheer potential AI holds for generating ideas and sparking creativity. As an artist, inspiration is key, and AI has proven to be a tool in this regard. It effortlessly churns out suggestions and concepts, acting as a muse that never sleeps. But what truly excites me is that the journey doesn't end there; it's only the beginning.

With each creation, I find myself immersed in a collaborative dance between human intuition and machine precision. The process is a delicate balance of guiding the AI while allowing its algorithms to surprise and delight me with unexpected twists and turns. What emerges from this partnership is not just a mere digital rendering but a piece of art imbued with a unique blend of human emotion and technological ingenuity.

But let's address the elephant in the room: Will AI ever replace the age-old tradition of painting by hand? As someone who cherishes the tactile experience of wielding a brush and feeling the texture of canvas beneath my fingertips, I can confidently say no. Painting by hand is a deeply personal journey, an intimate expression of one's innermost thoughts and emotions. It's a process that transcends mere pixels on a screen, drawing upon centuries of tradition and craftsmanship.

Sun and Moon


Klimt Girl

However, this doesn't diminish the significance of AI in the realm of art. Rather, it expands the possibilities, opening doors to new techniques and approaches that were once unimaginable. AI-generated art is not a threat to traditional methods; it's a complement, a catalyst for pushing the boundaries of creativity ever further.

As I reflect on the past six months, I'm filled with gratitude for the opportunity to explore this fascinating intersection of art and technology. With every brushstroke, whether by hand to canvas or digital, I'm reminded that the true essence of art lies not only in the tools we use but in the stories we tell and the emotions we evoke. And in that sense, AI is not just a tool; it's a partner in the endless pursuit of artistic expression.

Mujer en Oaxaca
Oaxaca Passages, oil on canvas, 40 x 70 cm,    April 2024

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Rekindled Friendship


Amy and I occasionally have the pleasure of meeting friends from the United States when they come to Oaxaca on vacation. This past week one of Amy’s dearest friends from her former life in Taos, New Mexico came with her daughter and daughters fiancé to visit. They booked a hotel in Centro. We arranged a tour guide for them, and spent precious moments going places together and visiting in our home.

A highlight of our time together was El Museo del Tallador de Sueños; A haven of whimsy and wonder, it is small museum of magical woodcarvings called Alebrije´s. Located in Arrazola, the village neighbors ours. 

The museum is a testament to the artistry and imagination of Oaxacan woodcarvers. What made this visit even more special is Amy's connection to the famous family of artists who own the museum. We are friends with the Jimenez family who own the museum. In fact, Amy made the illustrations for a book called Dream Carver published in the USA and made into a muppets play.

Now, a huge mural adorns the wall at the museum replicating her illustration from the book.

As our Taos friends marveled at the intricate carvings and vibrant hues of the Alebrijes, they couldn't help but be swept away by the enchantment of it all.

With carvings in hand, tangible mementos of their time together and the artistry of Oaxaca, they bid farewell to the museum, hearts brimming with newfound admiration for this corner of the world. The journey had not only rekindled old friendships but also deepened appreciation for the beauty that thrives in spaces between cultures and across borders.

For more about the magic . . .

Sunday, April 07, 2024

Intimacy and Camaraderie

Teotitlán del Valle
Teotitlán del Valle. Memorial procession.

Living in a small village nestled within the vibrant landscapes of Oaxaca, Mexico, often comes with a sense of isolation. However, there's an undeniable joy that fills our hearts when we have the privilege of welcoming visitors into our home. Recently, my brother Brent and his Mexican-born wife Marabella graced us with their presence for a week-long visit, and it was an experience that reminded us of the beauty of connection. They had never been to our home before or seen our our art collection. 

As they settled into our home and also spent time in a nearby hotel in the city, we relished every moment of togetherness. It had been many years since we last saw each other, and this reunion was long overdue.

One of the most cherished aspects of their visit was the opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations in our native tongue, English.

Despite the geographical distance and time apart, our familial bond and shared experiences transcended barriers. We found solace and comfort in being able to express ourselves freely, sharing stories, memories, and laughter⏤as well as some groans remembering inevitable family mishaps growing up. 
The Tulé Tree. Largest circumference of any tree on earth. Tulé, Mexico, near Oaxaca.
The Tulé Tree. Largest circumference of any tree on earth. Tulé, Mexico, near Oaxaca.

Exploring the multitude of Oaxacan cultural landmarks together was a joy. From the ancient ruins of Monte Albán to the vibrant markets of nearby artisan villages such as Teotitlan del Valle, brimming with colorful textiles and crafts, and Tulé, with the grand tree standing for millennia; every moment was an opportunity to immerse ourselves in the rich tapestry of Mexican heritage. As we navigated the bustling streets, we marveled at the fusion of history and modernity that defines this enchanting region.
However, it was not just the tourist attractions that made their visit special; it was the simple moments of intimacy and camaraderie that truly enriched our time together. Whether it was sharing meals prepared with love, taking leisurely strolls through streets, or showing our home full of art and that they had never seen, every interaction was a celebration of our connection.

As they bid farewell and embarked on their journey back home, our hearts felt full, knowing that the bonds we forged during their visit would endure.

In a world that often feels fragmented and divided, moments like these remind us of the importance of opening our hearts and homes to others. Whether they come from near or far, every visitor brings with them the opportunity to learn, grow, and create lasting memories. And here in our small village in Oaxaca, Mexico, we welcome each guest with open arms, knowing that their presence enriches our lives.