Sunday, June 17, 2018

Should Artists Give Work to Charity Auctions?




Here is the painting I am donating. cold wax and oil, 17"  x 24", framed in a simple black wood frame, ready to hang

close up detail


 My answer for the last few years has been a resounding NO! Why?

1. It is not good exposure for you, no matter what the charity promoter says. I would love to hear the story of the artist whose career rocketed to success because he or she donated a work to a charity auction and this act alone tipped the first domino toward an avalanche of success coming his or her way. n. 

2.  You announce that your art is worth low bids

3. Your work could become devaluated because the collector got such a bargain on your art. If you are a regular contributor to charity sales, your collectors may forgo paying your retail price and just wait for the next auction.

4.  You empower strangers to devalue your artwork

That said, I want you to donate some work so medical care will be available to a community that for years felt forgotten by local society. Open up your hearts and let go ( for just a moment) from those wonderful ego enhancing art sales that you have  or hope to have. I am all for art sales! It is my income, but there comes a time when you see others needs and want to be part of a better future for them.

11 years ago when Elsmarie Norby, the founder of Ojala Niños, build her home in the indigenous village of San Miguel Viejo, there were no services like internet, cable, landline phones, bus transport or community center, but the main thing the villagers told her was, "We need a clinic."

Now the plans are in motion and you can help by contributing a piece of your art or buying art from this auction. All the profits go to the building fund. It will be part of the community center. Children and families will finally have access to medical care, health information and all the support that comes with a nearby functioning clinic. Ojala Niños will build the clinic as part of the new community center.

Art and crafts will be donated by well known artists and others who just want to help build the clinic.


Daniel Brennan, "Leo and Friends" oil on canvas 40" x 50"
article from Southwest Magazine, 1980



Ojalá Niños is a non-profit year round program that gives 100 + indigenous children in this rural community, in the state of Guanajuato, México. the opportunity to explore their strengths through art, music and literacy. All classes are free of charge. Ojala Niños is a daily year round free education program for all the children the rural community of San Miguel Viejo, near the historic city of San Miguel de Allende. They emphasize the importance of social service to develop critical  thinking skills, self-confidence and sustainable work ethics. 

Ojala Niños helps local women learn the cooperative business model and develop hand-made products for sale.
This is changing lives. And they need our help.

Send me your images of work that you want to contribute, sizes, retail price (You won’t get it) and a short bio) ezshwan4art@gmail.com

I will begin posting the work on a Face book event page. The online auction will start inconjunction with a very popular concert in the village. Date is July 29th at 2pm. The bidding will continue until July 30th at 5pm.

If you are not an artist, bid on the art and special crafts. Local residents will have their purchases delivered and international shipping is available for those living outside of San Miguel de Allende. see what Ojalå Niños are doing and contribute@





Monday, June 11, 2018

Visiting Artists' Studios

Our home gallery and studios have been a part of the art tours for over a year now. Below is an article about these fascinating visits that I wrote for the local paper.

Here are some of my paintings that were sold In the last tour:



Art Tours SMA
Ezshwan Winding

"As an artist, San Miguel de Allende called to me 14 years ago. Even then this magical town was a center of cultural activities and artists. The first night I arrived in my new home, I went to an art opening and someone told me, after discovering I was a painter, “You are in the right place!”  I have never doubted that.

San Miguel has become one of the most popular and celebrated art towns in all of Mexico with hundreds of working artists. Art is the spirit of the town.

This colonial jewel has been a destination for artists since the 1940’s and now it continues to be a magical magnet for artists, galleries and art lovers. Constantly evolving and increasingly sophisticated, it is a center of creativity and inspiration in all forms.

Inspiration is everywhere.

A strong and constantly evolving community of creative types is welcomed. You will find a haven for artists and aficionados from around the world.

San Miguel has developed into probably the most popular and the most famous of all art towns in Mexico with a growing list of art galleries and artists’ studios.

One of the best ways to understand the art community is to meet the artists personally. It isn’t always easy to gain access into a working artist’s studio. We work in solitude and aren’t always open to inviting visitors into our workspaces. Arturo

Aranda Esparza has the perfect solution. He created Art Tours SMA. Arturo has chosen some of the best-known artists in San Miguel that are using diverse mediums and brings you to their studios. For my part, I enjoy the tours because I get to meet people that I otherwise would not. I can discover a bit about my guests, offer refreshments, give a demonstration and explanation of my painting technique and offer a visit of the viewing room in my home gallery. Each artist on the tour will welcome you with a similar, but different experience. If you are interested in art, this tour is a must."




Friday, June 1, 2018

My Encaustic Palettes

For encaustic figurative and portrait painting, my hot palette is laid out the same as my oil painting palette; naples yellow, yellow ochre, cadmiun red light, cadmiun red medium, saguine earth deep, (from R&F paints), white, and sap green. Sometimes, I add purple. I use oil paint straight out of the tube and some powered pigments.

extra encaustic medium for mixing colors on the palette

I plug the hole in the electric griddle with Bondo so the melted medium floats on the surface rather than drains out.


For abstract painting and the encaustic workshops, I have basic color palettes that include, cadmium yellow, cadmium red, yellow ochre, turquoise (this is usually a favorite color for my students) ultramarine blue, black, yellow, alizarin crimson, alizarin orange, (one of my favorite colors) and white. Often I include orange and a red brown. I get some the colors from R&F paints. I love the gorgeous colors and saturation. I also make many of my colors by adding powdered pigments to the clear medium. Using those, you must be careful to wear gloves and a mask. I also do that before the class.
Two people share a palette

Close up of a palette with more than the basic colors. It depends on what the student wants

The can in the lower left is paraffin to clean encaustic tools






Thursday, May 24, 2018

I Had A Good Start. Painting My First Abstract

When I was in art school, where I majored in painting and minored in advertising art, I was such a young, full of myself art student that I was sure that I could continue to ace all my classes without spending the 3 hours in class that was required. I often spent the first hour at a coffee shop with my boy friend talking about "deep philological questions and solutions"

When I did show up for class, the first semester was a breeze for me. We only could work in black and white; pencil , charcoal and ink. I appreciate my classical training. We drew every bone in the hanging skeletons, I carefully rendered each kernel on a corn cob, and worked from plaster molds.

Pencil drawing of a pot done in 1952


This was fun for me. I didn't understand why everyone couldn't draw. People asked me,  "how can you draw like that?" My casual answer was, "just look at something and draw what you see". Not so easy for everyone. It took me many years to understand that most people just look at things, but do not see them. Drawing can teach people to really see.

I now offer an online course drawing and painting faces: https://tinyurl.com/ycz6drad

 I finally did get my comeuppance in the second semester when a professor taught me more than all the rest of my time in art schools. Our assignment was to paint our first abstract painting...

 It was so long ago that strict rules applied to all freshman girls living in a sorority. I got caught talking on the phone after 11 pm and was punished by the sorority leaders by grounding me for the weekend.( I Can't imagine that happening in this era.) I used that quiet lonely time to work on the assignment.  As I worked on the painting on the floor of my room, suddenly I understood negative space, painting around objects and creating shapes that were more interesting than the still life.  (I painted in Casein, the water-based paint before acrylics became popular.) I was thrilled!

Upon entering the art lab on Monday, I proudly approached Mr. Lunch, my favorite teacher to show him my finished painting. He said, "You have a good start" I couldn't believe my ears. I was dumbfounded. What else was there to do? Sensing my defiant mood, Mr. Lynch poured paint on my "finished painting"

After another 6 hours of working and taking crying breaks in the hall, I approached him again and meekly asked, "Is it finished yet?" He said, "You have a good start" I was too exhausted and humbled to cry when he continued, "Do you realize how few people in this school ever have a good start? You won't get an A on this one. And, don't get married!"

The painting. It ended up in the year end show as an example of the best freshman work in the school. i got a B- on it.




Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Tomorrow is the day



It will be interesting to see who comes to our open studio/ pillow show room tomorrow. It is off season in San Miguel, but I am hoping that San Miguel regulars will stop in. 

Many of the pillows have been moved from the upstairs show/work room to be placed "on site" downstairs. 

I plan on doing an encaustic demo. I actually got my studio clean after last week's workshops.

We have also been busy with pets going to the vet. Our rescue dog was neutered yesterday. We have been caring for her for almost 3 weeks and the problem is that we have fallen in love with her. She is the dearest dog I have ever met and I pray that she will be in a loving home soon. Our old Boxer has skin cancer and an infected ear, and I fear my old cat is ill and wanting to leave this planet.



Thursday, May 10, 2018

Open Studios

I am looking forward to opening my studio and Cynthia Hamilton's show room on May 16th. You and your friends are welcome.

Joaquin Piñiero, a well know local painter woking in mixed media and encaustic will also have examples of his work here. Joaquin was my first encaustic student almost 14 years ago. He has taken the medium and made it his own in his strong, personal art.

There will be 20% off of any of my available paintings and 20% off of the Once Upon My Pillow, one of a kind, eco-friendly, hand embroidered, decorated pillows. The sale is good for that day.
I offer time payments, without interest.

directions to studio/gallery: http://www.ezshwan.com/directions-to-studio.html

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Advanced Encaustic Techniques

If you have been following my bog for a while, you probably have noticed that I have several online classes. Here is one for those who can't make it to San Miguel de Allende to take classes with me :https://vimeo.com/ondemand/4167

Encaustic lends itself to many different techniques, and is beautiful on its own. Below are just some of the many techniques I have used in encaustic.

Just have fun, experiment, and make sure you do not use any acrylic.
encaustic and oil glazes

encasutic over water color on paper

ink wash, charcoal, encaustic,

collage, pan pastel, encasutic

detail of water spray into encaustic for lava-like texture

countless layers of colored encaustic, drawing with charcoal and hours of scraping

encaustic over tissue paper collage and texture built up with a hot pen

stained support, layers of encaustic, small collage and carved figures into the encaustic.

detail of melting encaustic over encaustic and oil

charcoal dust in between layers of encasutic

detail of encaustic stenciling 

carved encaustic over contrasting painted layers. 

encaustic on paper


encaustic with cold wax stenciling

encaustic, oil paint and shellac burn