Life is full of surprises…… as we all know, not all of them are chocolate!
I am now trying to get used to a “new normal”; it is called Drop Foot, I never heard of these two words before; but it changes your way of life for sure. It is loosing the ability to flex the foot from the ankle down, the nerves will not communicate with the muscles.     I will need wear a brace on both legs.It has been a bit of a journey, so I decided to take a tally of the good things going for me and ones not so much. I have so many things to be grateful for, like my family and friends. I thank you all for all the help and your words of encouragement.
As I deal with this on all fronts, I find more and more people with worse problems. Sometimes our impulse is to say “why me” then I think… “why not”? All of us are here each with different problems and different ways to be tested. I still sometimes wake up in denial, and wonder if it was all a bad dream. On the other hand I need to “celebrate the miracle of everyday life… and the medicine advances that allow us to move on our own” — these words from Diana my cousin, who is very supportive and writes me letters that read like poetry.
I am grateful because I know that the desire to paint will keep me going… and moving no matter what.
Here is a quote from Brainard Carey, that I find so pertinent.

“We must strive to accept that reality is fluid. What may be safe and comfortable may also be altered at a moment’s notice. To live with this, allow it in and accept it as a part of our daily lives, is to be more at peace with the true nature of reality”.


I thought that this set of small paintings about each season that I did during 2016 would be appropriate as we arrived to the end of the year. Which made me think that life gets so busy that we often don’t even see the people living so close to us:our neighbors.

In this newsletter I documented a little experiment that I did as I got up one morning with an idea.
I would ask some of my neighbors if they would allow me to photograph their trees, this was a very significant experience because we were able to spend some time together that other wise it wouldn’t ever have happened. I wish I could have included more detail but then the newsletter would have gotten a bit too long. I have never done anything like this, they were all very gracious, we had the chance for nice conversation, a little tea, some wine, and some rain checks for a later wine…

To see the different  style of Christmas trees and the stories see Newsletter # 11:




HOW TO BUY A PAINTING.... my point of view

MY ADVICE ON HOW TO BUY A PAINTING ( From Newsletter: Fall of 2016)

Since the pre-historic times the enjoyment of art is human nature.

Besides the issue of style you want a painting that “calls you” that makes you feel invited to get closer and share its space, just like the company of a dear one. That would be my first rule.

The next thing to consider is what kind of feelings does it stir in you once it has grabbed your attention. What feature catches your eye? Why? Does it remind you of something? Someone? Do you find that the colors cheer you up? Does it make you feel relaxed?

If the room is completely monochromatic, meaning decorated in beiges or whites and you want to “spice it up”, try a painting that has some of those colors in it. You don’t want a painting that feels like it is “invading” the space as opposed to mixing in.

There are many other considerations that you want in a painting. An art work is not simply a decoration piece, it has to grab your attention and most of all your loyalty. You don’t want to be tired of it after some time.

Why buy original?
– Art is a powerful form of expression, not only for the artists who create it, but also for those who own it.
– Art improves our quality of life. Think about your feelings in a room with bare walls.
– Children are fascinated by art. Art prompts children to ask questions and encourages them to fantasize, imagine, explore and expand their perceptions of reality,
– An original work of art reflects, enhances and sometimes even magnifies the personality of the individual who owns it.
– An original painting makes a wonderful gift for any occasion, especially if you have the person who is receiving it be part of the process.

I can think of many other reasons but that would make this article too long.




I have written (and painted) How Ideas are Born … “out of this dreamy cloudy collection of feelings”.
Besides enjoying my abstracts and more playful paintings, I feel the need to express my feelings about everyday events. I have done several paintings related to this topic, a lot of it inspired not only from wars all over the world but having lived out of my country Colombia for so many years,  never experienced  closely the more than 40 years of conflict between different forces that took our country through very dark times. A painful chapter that I have mostly learned and experienced through books or movies or stories from friends. This has has affected  me deeply . I have had some of these works accepted to some of my favorite art institutions in the area, The Birmingham Bloomfield Art Association (BBAC)  the Detroit Artist Market (DAM) and the Ann Arbor Art Center.

Images shown in Newsletter #8:

How Ideas are Born





I am working on a series of paintings inspired on my feelings about my journey dealing with health issues over the years. I had mixed feelings about doing this and specially about even mentioning it in a news letter. It is not that I want anyone to feel sorry, because  my journey so far has not been overwhelming, intolerable, or even amazing. There are millions of people going through really bad situations. I have been very lucky to be able to count with very dear family and friends for support. Nevertheless It has affected my life and the way I function.  So that is how ideas are born…. Out of this dreamy, cloudy collection of feelings either physical or psychological.

You will find the rest of the paintings that go with this narrative on my newsletter #5:  




By Patricia Riascos

I think about this all the time.

Understanding art is not easy; it is a language on its own just like music. Usually you hear a popular song and sometimes you have to listen to it several times until it starts to “grow” on you. Then, if you are more serious into music, you are able to understand complicated pieces of classical, or jazz works, or more contemporary and challenging music, like electronic or rap.

Art is no different. I have tried to keep an open mind towards art that can be complicated or difficult for me to like it; but first I have to be able to understand it. Before that consideration, there are two main issues that I have to resolve in my own mind. Does art have to be pretty? This is a big question for me because I have come across art in the past that is depressing or not the typical “every day” kind of art; sometimes from people that are suffering from a terminal illness, or have gone through terrible situations and stress. Art is a way of communicating, a channel, that some people choose to show their feelings.

I have fought internally about the concepts of pleasant and uplifting art versus the art that just shows my state of mind at the moment. If one wants to be an artist real and honest, then not all the art will be pretty. Or I should say, at least not constantly brilliant and colorful, but it will be beautiful and honest in its own terms.

I came across the artist Marina Abramovic who is a performing artist. Hers is a category of artistic composition that I have never really bothered learning about, but lately I decided to look into it and I can say now that I understand the intensity and passion behind the performances. Still not an art form that I am totally comfortable with, but I have developed more of an objective opinion about it. The following is a written excerpt that I found on line as I researched Marina’s performances:

In one of her groundbreaking works, Marina Abramović positions herself right in front of the camera, addressing the viewers directly. The image reveals only her face and hands, concentrating her corporeality in these two elements. She continually repeats an action regarded as typically feminine, reinterpreting it in the context of art history through her performance: The artist combs her hair forcefully, without a pause, for more than 50 minutes. During this time, she repeats the sentence “art must be beautiful, artist must be beautiful” like a mantra. The constant repetition
of the words and the action give the work a sustained intensity that puts the artist and the audience into a trance-like state, in which overcoming the physical pain frees the body and mind from the conventions of Western society and culture.

This is just an example of a different form of art. I hope you are able to discover new artists that open your eyes to new ways to look at and appreciate art!



Some of us have fond memories of our mom saying those words when we didn’t want to do something that was necessary, and not particularly pleasing.

Well, I am finding myself repeating those exact words. I am preparing myself mentally for yet another hip surgery because I know what it takes; this will be my 4th.
It is not very painful; at least in my opinion. Yet the recuperation is slow and long, and it demands a lot of discipline, effort and patience. One of the things I will be forbidden to do is stairs, at least not on a regular base. My studio is downstairs, so I will not be painting, probably for at least a couple of months.

So, because I have some experience on this, I am gathering my mental notes about all the stuff that I could be doing while recuperating. It seems pretty much everything in life is about how you look at things and what you decide to make of them…… I usually try really hard to keep positive and this is my routine.

First, I collect all the books and any other materials, like interesting articles, that I have meant to read but have not had the time. I also make sure I have an exceptionally good, and long, TV series. After my first surgery I watched “I Claudius”. After the second, I watched “The West Wing” and on the third one I watched the series “Rome” a British-American-Italian historical drama for television. (I really enjoy history…lots of drama!)

I will try  to find a way to paint with watercolors, (because they are simpler to handle than acrylic paints). This will allow me to work on small sketches that I might transfer into bigger paintings afterwards.

I am also telling myself that there are many people that go through worse things, more difficult circumstances, and some of them very often are children. They manage to give us adults an example of great courage and optimism. I will have the irreplaceable help of my dear husband who has already gone through this with me once, and the support of friends and family.

Two important facts:

First, I am so grateful because the desire to create art gives me the urge to get this all over with.

Second, I can hear my mother telling me, “It’s for your own good.” I just wish she could be here, with me, to hold my hand.

Patricia Riascos



Why I Paint?


Looking BackIn a recent art workshop in Colorado one of the topics discussed was to identify the reason WHY, what moved us to paint. And even if we have been doing it for a long time it called for deep reflection.

Are some people more creative than others? Maybe everyone has the capacity and it just manifests in every individual in different ways. But in every artist there is a profound yearning to express oneself visually, a need for feelings to be externalized.

Why do I paint?

My spirit has a desire that needs to be manifested. Color is inviting to me, just like a kid in a candy store…  I want it….  I paint because the thought of creating is very exciting, and inviting; it calls to me.

In general I choose to paint with very strong and cheerful colors, no one is constantly cheerful so in those instances I prefer to “move” the viewer, to invite reflection.

You can express your own creativity whether if you paint, or write or sing…. or if you surround your personal environment with any kind of art or paintings that reflect your inner most feelings and your style.  All of those reflect your creativity!

by Patricia Riascos