SPANISH HEARTS March 15 2019, 0 Comments

I've just returned from Mexico to Canada. In Mexico City I moved through history every day, on the streets and in the museums and the galleries. There are extraordinary works of art in Mexico, ancient and modern. Strangers smiled and warmly greeted me. Food invited me. There were earthquakes somewhere, but they were far away.

In Mexico, colour expresses itself everywhere. And it made me feel happy.

Colour is in the streets, in mercados, the food and in love potions, the clothing (ask Frida), fine art, and folk art,  ceramics in dance, and in Day of the Dead celebrations. The  Museo de Arte Polular is an especially joyous colour riot.

I brought some of Mexico's colour back with me. I've arranged many colourful hand-painted mirrored tin hearts on my wall. I see them first thing in the morning, then I look out my window, and look back to the colourful wall.


 I leave you with this song about the Spanish Heart by Chick Corea.

Hasta luego amigos.



TIN HEARTS FROM A WARM CLIMATE February 21 2019, 0 Comments

I’m going down to Mexico City soon, with side trips to Zacatecas and Puebla. I’m looking forward to seeing again the fabulous art and architecture, ancient and modern, the food of course, and the music.

One of Mexico’s most appealing expressions of its culture is its folk art.


Although I love all Mexican folk art, my favourite is the hojalata (in English tin), the colourful charming tin art. Mexico celebrates Day of the Dead  and  Christmas with tin folk art.

In Mexico, the hojalata goes back to the 16th century to Spanish colonial times. Today, in Mexico, many people have tin folk art displayed in their homes, while other places such as cathedrals have symbolic religious tin art displayed.

Sheets of tin are cut, shaped and embossed with a pattern, then bright lacquer and enamel paint is applied. All tin folk art is handmade by Mexican artisans and craftsmen and craftswomen, who create with a sense of humour and imagination.


The mirrored tin heart is my favourite. Here are some hearts I brought back when I last visited Mexico.

I'll be wandering through mercados looking for more tin hearts. They'll soon be available on my website for your enjoyment and purchase. They are joyful things.


Hasta luego,











Art of the Paper Cut - Papel Picado August 01 2018, 0 Comments


Papel picados are elaborate decorative cut paper designs found all over Mexico. Although commonly on display during secular and religious occasions, papel picados are seen in abundance during the Day of the Dead ceremonies. The history of this art form, as with all of Mexico's artistic past, is very interesting. Mesoamerican cultures such as the Otomi and the Aztec created images in their designs for use in rituals to combat disease, misfortune, dangerous spirits, and for protection.


                          Joanna Koerten, Amsterdam                                     Vtynanky, Ukraine

Cut paper artistry is found in countries world-wide:  China's long tradition with this artistic form began in the sixth century. Since the 16th century in Germany it's been called scherenschnitte.  In Amsterdam during the 1650s the artist Joanna Koerten created landscapes using this artistic style. And in the Ukraine the art of vytynanky began in the fifteenth century and became an integral part of the country's decorative arts during the 19th century.



During the  final decade of his life, Henri Mattise created many wonderful works of art using cut-out paper designs. 

                            Peter Calleson                                                         Lisa Rodden

The art of paper cutting is not confined to the past. Today, contemporary artists continue to create exquisite elaborate works of art using cut paper. The article by SA Rogers "15 of the World’s Most Creative Papercraft Artists" tells us that the art of cutting paper is still a vibrant form of artistic expression. In Hannah Shaffer's article "A Cut Above: 10 Incredible Papercut Artists, we see a remarkable range of imaginative creative works when artists are most experimental with simple tools: paper and blade.



Some of the colourful Mexican papel picado designs can be seen on my Society 6 webpage. They're exuberant and fun to have around. Hope you enjoy them.

If you liked sugar skull designs, there's more to come...

Hasta luego





Amo México - Death Inspires Art July 05 2018, 0 Comments

Calaveras - Skulls in Art in Mexico


Mexican art and religion celebrates death and uses images of skulls and skeletons as their motifs. That's because death in Mexico is treated differently than in other parts of the world. Death is a daily part of life. It is not mourned or shunned. In November, on the Day of the Dead - Día de Muertos, deceased loved ones are celebrated. Altars (ofrendas) are built and favourite foods and confectionaries in the shapes of skulls populate those altars.


Artistic representation of the skull began in ancient times, but was suppressed during the Spanish-Aztec War (1519-21), then emerged as a symbol of Mexicanidad after Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821. 

Famous Mexican illustrator José Guadalupe Posada (1851–1913) was known for his satirical and politically acute Calaveras. His skeleton images became iconic when they took on a whole different meaning socially and politically, and came to represent the feelings of the Mexican people leading up to the Mexican Revolution.

Famous internationally known artists Frida Kalho, Diego Rivera and Rufino Tamayo added their creativity in support of Mexicanidad.


From sculptures and monuments in ancient times in Mexico to present day artists like  Damien Hirst,  people have been inspired to look death in the face, and create.


                    Aztec Calendar Stone                     Damien Hirst


In my next post I'll reveal new skull motif designs which are inspired by the skulls in Mexican folk art.

Hasta luego amigos, Val