Monday, July 24, 2017

Art Brut Exhibit in Chicago New Logan Square Gallery

Outsider art ( or its English synonym as art brut) is usually use for artists that have little or no contact with the mainstream art world or art institutions. The term art brut was first used by French artist Jean Dubuffet to indicate artwork done outside the main stream culture.

In Chicago, it is a total enjoyment for me to visit Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art ( or Chicago Urban Retreat Art Center (, galleries where you can find exciting, refreshing, highly creative work by outsider artists.

This past Friday I attended the opening of Patrick Humphreys who is showing at Oliva Gallery ( in Logan Square. The gallery's walls are covered with painting of different sizes and a coffee table holds a pile of prints and smalls drawings. My eyes and spirit were dancing as I immersed myself in his world. For me the work outside the main stream art culture maintains a raw and direct connection with creative energy; it is honest, direct, and it does not try to impress anyone but simply express itself from deep down its unconscious source.

The exhibit will be up till September, 2017. If having the time and interest, stop by.

Sunday, July 16, 2017


"In Thinking about Decisions". Oil on Wood.
B.Ledesma (c). $650
I found myself responding to people's images of trips or happy moments because I believe they are moments of the present. This past week one of my FB friends posted a nice selfie in a cruise. I was very happy for her.
I responded: "Enjoy!". 
She immediately led me know this was a photo from "some years ago we went on a cruise of the Inland Passage to Alaska"... (it was five years ago)
"Just out of curiosity", I asked, " what motivated you to post a photo of something that happened years ago?...
She responded: "Facebook automatically posts memory photos for you. Sometimes these make me so happy I want to share them again..."

I literally do not understand that behavior- not only seems to bring a nostalgia or longing for something past but also creates confusion. Yeah yeah, at  the top of the image there is an indication of how many years ago the photos is from but... but ... my question reminds: why?....

It may be me but I am noticing more and more people talking of times long gone- on the news, on magazines, and in social media. Is that a sign that life in the present is so uncomfortable/unhappy/boring/uneventful that we need to constantly be reminded of how things were in the past?... what did we enjoy doing?...

I like to think of memory as a feather

from Pezibear's on Pixabay
 a fleeing moment of joy, sorrow, pain, whatever. A moment that makes us what we are in the present. Constant looking at the past can places us at the doors of depression or cyclic melancholia or "having the blues".

Don't get me wrong- memory is a terrific tool of the mind for retaining facts, events, impressions, feelings. How to use it is a choice from my perspective. 
To give in to what FB thinks we have to remember or when we have to remember, seems to be a weakening of our capacity to choose, if you ask me. 
But some people may need that ... uhh... .............................................really?...

Monday, July 10, 2017


Shoes fascinate me. I am known for purchasing a pair of shoes just because there is a sensual feeling when looking at them although I may never wear them ... a pure sensual pleasure you may say.

Shoes as a symbol seem to carry a contradictory meaning: it could represent authority and power or humility and servitude; they are about movement with ease.
Shoes keep our feet warm and protected.

In some religions you are required to put off your shoes to enter the temple so showing humbleness and respect for the divine. In older times, and in our current times, not everybody can buy shoes so shoes become associated with freedom, comfort, and also wealth when they also can be associated with vanity and arrogance.

There are so many connotations related to shoes! High heels have erotic and/or sexual connotations; for some stiletto heels appears as a phallic symbol; worn, old shoes may be symbol of hardships and struggles; some sandals may symbolize the moon, and the list can go on and on. But ... old, worn shoes could represent warships and struggles.

Oil Pastels on Paper. BL (c) 2017
I think about shoes very often these days when listening or watching the news and learn about masses of people being displaced from their land to the unknown. I look at their feet. Many of them with a simple flat sandal, or worn ones, others without any shoes at all... Their facial expressions, their body language- the tiring walk of displacement- seem all to be represented in their shoes or no shoes. No safety... no comfort ... no protection of any kind... Their emotional life marked by unwanted dislocation... I wonder...would these masses of people be able to emotionally and psychologically repair themselves?... being able to trust the earth they are walking on?... trust each other?... continue having a sense of inner safety in the face of displacement?...

These and many more questions about the inner life of those that are forced to live their homeland fuels my current series of studies and paintings on shoes...

Monday, July 3, 2017

And talking about "daring greatly"....

Back in 2006 I did a series of oil pastel drawings on paper around the topic of vulnerability

Vulnerability, BL. 2006 (c)
and lately the images of those drawings began to fill my mind...
What means to be vulnerable in times of external and internal stress?... I look up the meaning of the word "vulnerability is the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally""open to moral attack, criticism" "capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt" "a frame within which defensive measures are diminished, compromised or lacking" and quoting Dr. Brene Brown vulnerability "is basically uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure" (

Vulnerability is a space that all of us have experience with -some more than others.

Dr. Brene Brown has researched the topic of vulnerability and actually wrote a book about it
"Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transform the Way We Live,Love, Parent, and Lead", and has giving TED talks about it(
which is worth to listen to, in my opinion.

The question for me is how do I maintain myself vulnerable in times of chaos like the times we are currently living in the US and the world at large?... can we have the courage to show up and being seen?... do we have the courage to say "I need help" "I need you"...?

Capitalism imprint in us the importance of individualism "me for me and me against you" type of attitude toward the other. The problem with this stand is that leaves us half empty, isolated, fostering grandiosity and experiencing "narcissistic wounds" when finding out that others do not think we are so great. In my opinion, this is what has been happening in USA since 2001...

So, in a way out of chaos healing can take place as it provides us with the soil to have the courage of ask for help... or ...not?...

Monday, June 26, 2017

Park Sculptures 2017

On Wednesday 21st 2017 I participated in a tour organized by the Chicago Sculpture International. It took us as far as Garfield Park in the Southside of Chicago and up to Edgewater neighborhood in the Northside. It was a $20 tour that lasted two hours. We met at the Chicago Cultural Center and a trolley bus droves us. It was a sold out tour and among the riders there were the artists whom sculptures were going to see. One of them was Vivian Visser (

Her work intrigued me- the three sculptures in view at Portage Park is a series of elongated vases created with woven branches and standing on an already existing cemented platform. As soon as I saw them, I felt moved by them. There are pleasing to the physical eye as well as to the spiritual realm and they have an air of Remedios Varo's work. They stand as an invitation to contemplate and meditate on nature and the meaning of safety in our lives.

In her art statement she states "... I see the shelter form as embodying the souls desire to retreat into a comforting and protective environment. The human experience is explored through natural materials..."

Flame Dancers

Monday, June 19, 2017

Summer is Here!! Time for planting ...

Nothing more enjoyable for me that to spend time adorning my back porch with plants. The process of going to the nursery, viewing and choosing the colorful plants to dress my porch with brings a level of spiritual satisfaction and joy of life.

This is probably a trait I got from my parents who loved plants and flowers of any kind.
As a child, I accompanied my mother during her daily early Spring and Summer afternoon walks through the garden to prune her greenery.

There was always a vase with flowers in the house - cuts from my mother's garden or flowers my father brought her. And like my father I also wanted to bring flowers to my mom so I used to go to the lot crossed the street from my house and picked small white daisies that I arranged in a bundle and happily gave it to her in spite of getting a skin rush from those flowers.

This weekend Jon and I did just that- went to the nursery, got a bunch of flowered plants & grass, and I spent the afternoon arranging them in planters and ceramic pots. After the work is done, sitting among them zipping a glass of wine makes the world a perfect place!.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Great Hanoi Rat Massacre of 1902

Yes! Rats!

Back in 1982, just arriving to Chicago, a Mexican mystic man told me that Chicago was going to be dominated by rats "you will see... rats are developing an underground city underneath of the streets..."
The thought of it was disgusting to me. I think of his words often when here in the Lakeview neighborhood where I live, the rats are immune to any poison offer to them and they keep multiplying.

Back in the late 90s, in a long article written in The Chicago Reader by Ted Kleine (1998) I read
"... in 1991 a rat burst out of a bank president's private toilet in Lincoln Park..."

That was all I needed to increase my disgust toward those creatures and to develop a fear that one of them would appear on my toilet when I'm using it.

In spite of my fear I also have a fascination toward those rodents that seem to be casted under an evil spell. So any article(s) on rats gets my attention.

I found one of those articles few weeks ago on the Atlas Obscura newsletter titled: The Great Hanoi Rat Massacre of 1902. Fascinating story of battles against the rats, money, and the final success of rats. Click on the link to take you to the story: the great Hanoi rat massacre of1902

And to finish on a more positive note about these disgusting rodents, I searched for the spiritual-symbolic meaning of rats and I found very positive qualities attributed to them such as:
success, sharing, helpful, opportunistic, resourcefulness, astute, intelligent, kindness, ambition, expansion and creativity. No bad, wouldn't you say?...