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Painting from La Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla

Earlier this summer, I received a nice compliment on a bullfight painting that I did about 6 years ago:

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Spanish Bullfight. Acrylic on Canvas.

This painting was done from a photo that my wife took at a bullfight in Seville, Spain, in 2004, at the famous Plaza de la Maestranza de Caballería. The person who commented was very interested in the painting, as she is from Peru but has ancestry from Seville, and she asked if I had sold it. So I let her know that someone did buy it, but I could make another one for her. So I made a similar one, on a much larger canvas:

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Spanish Bullfight in Plaza de la Maestranza de Caballería

And here it is hanging in her and her husband’s home in North Carolina. Looks great!

Spanish Bullfight Painting Hung in Home
Spanish Bullfight Painting Hung in Home

If you are interested in an art commission, just visit my art commissions page to learn more, or email me at

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Spanish Flamenco Dress Art – Charcoal Drawing

Spanish Flamenco Dress Art

When my wife and I were on vacation in Sevilla, Spain, a few weeks ago, we saw several boutique shops full of colorful flamenco dresses. I imagine they all do a great business during the time leading up to La Feria de Abril (April Fair)! La Feria de Abril is a huge annual event held in Sevilla, known for its music, dancing, food, men dressed in suits and women dressed in flamenco dresses.

Here is a charcoal and red ink drawing of a Spanish Flamenco dress that I recently created. Art Prints are available here.

Click here to view more Spanish influenced art!

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Spanish Flamenco Dress – Charcoal Drawing
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A History of Nicaragua (and photos from my trip)

After having heard a lot about the tumultuous political history of Nicaragua, what with my in-laws being from Nicaragua and having been a Peace Corps Volunteer in nearby Costa Rica, I was still never quite able to put all the pieces together. I knew of the Somoza dictatorship, the Sandinistas, the Iran-Contras scandal, the lunacy of current president Daniel Ortega, etc. But I didn’t quite know how it all fit together, as I’d heard bits and pieces of everything and hadn’t done much investigating myself. So today I came across this cool blog ( written by an ex-pat family in Managua, and followed a link in one of their posts to this Al Jazeera investigative report that does a great job putting everything together into a comprehensive history, from the Somoza regime to the current day state of affairs. I recommend checking it out if you have a chance!

Here are a few photos from a trip I took with my wife in 2007 to visit her family there! We stayed with her relatives in Managua, who were very kind and took us around Managua and to Masaya, Granada, and León.

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Puerto Viejo, Limon, Costa Rica – beach, soccer, fish, relax

I’ve been going through my photos from the Peace Corps a lot lately and finding inspirations for paintings.  In 2008 I took a little weekend vacation “with the boys” to Puerto Viejo, Limon, on the southern Caribbean side of Costa Rica.  This is may favorite place in Costa Rica.  The Caribbean coast of Costa Rica seems to be less visited by tourists, yet I find it much more appealing.  I think it’s prettier and enjoy the Caribbean culture more.  Reggae music, jerk chicken, coconut rice and beans, slow pace, patua language (a mixture of English, Spanish and French)…

Anyways, we were hanging out and walking along the water one evening and I got this picture of a boy kicking his soccer ball along with a big fish in his hand.  I think this shows a slower-paced lifestyle; go fishing, walk along the beach, play a little soccer…

I just finished it today –

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Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica – Acrylic Painting

It’s an acrylic on a 6″ by 6″ Ampersand artist panel.

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Musical and Cultural Inspiration for Painting – Vallenato from Colombia

Inspiration from Smithsonian Folklife Festival

This past weekend my wife, a friend and I went to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, DC, an annual festival whose goal is to strengthen and preserve diverse, authentic, living traditions – both old and new.  This year has 3 focuses – Rythm and Blues, the Peace Corps (it’s their 50th anniversary) and the culture of Colombia.

I was interested in all three – I like r&b, I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica, and I wanted to learn more about the rich culture of Colombia.

Los Viajes del Viento

A few months ago I saw a Colombian movie called “Los Viajes del Viento” (The Wind Journeys), about a vallenato singer who spent his life travelling the villages of northern Colombia playing vallenato songs on his accordion, which is said to have been cursed by the devil.  After his wife’s sudden death, he swears to never play his accordion again, and begins a journey across the vast Colombian terrain with his young pupil Ferman, to return the accordion to its rightful owner.  Along the way, they are enveloped in the musical diversity of Caribbean culture in Colombia.

It’s a really good movie and seems to me to be very authentic, although I have to admit that I’ve never been to Colombia.  I really liked seeing the beauty of vallenato music and dance.

What is vallenato?

I found this description here –

“The vallenato music, as it is known today, is said to have been influenced by a combination of African, European, and Colombian rhythm and folkloric sounds. At first, native people from Valle de Upar played their music with flutes called gaitas made of bamboo and African drums made of hollow wood with goat skins secured by wooden rings and strings.

It is estimated that a century after the invention of the accordion in 1829, Europeans introduced the German Hohner accordion to the northern coast of Colombia where it was primarily used to play European music. Fortunately, the famous German instrument, now most commonly known as the acordeón vallenato, found its way to Valle de Upar where it was adopted as part of the vallenato folklore. According to vallenato historian Tomás D. Gutiérrez Hinojosa (1992: Cultura vallenata: origen, teoría y pruebas ), the European accordion migrated to Valle de Upar not to create music but to be physically and culturally transformed by the vallenato musician so that it can be used to interpret the different vallenato styles.

I Walked Right into my Inspiration for a Painting

Lucky for us, we were walking around the Colombia section and happened onto a spontaneous vallenato performance!  This vallenato was without the accordion – only a gaita (flute made of bamboo), African drums and dancers.  I snapped some photos, knowing that it would make a really cool painting.  Check these out:

I have a few paintings in line to be completed before I start the vallenato ones, but I’m going to do 2 or 3 vallenato-themed oil paintings this summer.