May 132021
 
Modernist artist Hari Kidd and his connection to Lake Chapala

Hari (Harry) Matthew Kidd (1899-1964) was a painter, printmaker and writer associated with Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), El Paso (Texas) and Key West (Florida). Kidd was living in Chapala in the mid-1940s when he first met his future wife Edythe Wallach, then living in Ajijic. Kidd had his paintings in a group show at the Villa Montecarlo […]

May 062021
 
The poem "Ajijic" helped Jan Richman win the 1994 Walt Whitman Award

Californian poet and novelist Jan Richman’s poem “Ajijic” was first published in 1994, and included in her first poetry collection, Because the Brain Can Be Talked Into Anything, which won the 1994 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. Born in La Jolla, Richman graduated from Torrey Pines High School before studying English […]

Apr 292021
 
Gerald van de Wiele and his painting entitled "Chapala"

Gerald van de Wiele was 19 years old when he visited Ajijic briefly with his good friend and fellow artist George “Jorge” Fick in 1951. Sixty-six years later, and despite never having returned to the area, van de Wiele completed an abstract painting entitled “Chapala.” What were the circumstances of van de Wiele’s original visit, […]

Apr 222021
 
Thriller by Louis Charbonneau captures the essence of Ajijic in the 1970s

Journalist and author Louis Henry Charbonneau (1924-2017) includes numerous passages about Ajijic in his book The Lair, first published in 1980. Presumably Charbonneau visited Ajijic in the mid-1970s. (If you can supply any details about his time in Ajijic, please get in touch) Louis Henry Charbonneau, Jr. was born in Detroit, Michigan, on 20 January […]

Apr 152021
 
Edythe Wallach Kidd painted in Ajijic and Chapala in 1944

Edythe Wallach (1909-2001) lived and painted for most of 1944 in Chapala and Ajijic. Her Lake Chapala paintings were exhibited in both Chapala and in New York. Edythe (“Edie”) Gertrude Wallach (later Wallach Kidd) was born in New Rochelle, New York, on 10 August 1909 to Dr. William Wallach and his wife Anne Rosenthal. Edythe […]

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Apr 012021
 
Do you recognize the subject of this portrait by Tink Strother?

Tink Strother (1919-2007) was, an acclaimed portrait painter who lived in Ajijic from 1961 to 1963. As Peggy Kelly wrote in her obituary of Strother for the Santa Paula News, Strother’s portraits reflect “not only the physical likeness of the subject but also their personality and soul.” In Ajijic, Tink Strother met Colombian artist Carlos […]

Mar 252021
 
American novelist Sandra Scofield wrote two books set in Mexico

Sandra Scofield’s first novel, Gringa, was based on the author’s extensive travels in Mexico in the 1960s. The novel is set in the violent turbulence of 1968 when, a few weeks before the opening of the Olympic Games in Mexico City, hundreds of students protesting in Tlatelolco Plaza were massacred by soldiers. The “gringa” of […]

Feb 252021
 
The Illuminated Elephants visited Ajijic in 1982

Of all the extraordinary individuals and groups visiting Ajijic during “hippie times”, one of the most curious was the group called The Illuminated Elephants (Los elefantes iluminados). The Illuminated Elephants visited Ajijic in 1982. The group, a traveling theatre “family” that had once been known as The Hathi Babas, adopted elements of the hippie movement, […]

Feb 182021
 
George Seaton: the first guide book writer to mention Ixtlahuacán de los Membrillos?

Was George Seaton the first author to include mention of Ixtlahuacán de los Membrillos in an English-language guidebook to Mexico? When I was recently re-reading George Seaton’s What to See and Do in Mexico, first published in 1939, a one-line mention of Ixtlahuacán de los Membrillos jumped off the page. I can’t recall any earlier […]

Feb 112021
 
Esther Henderson and Chuck Abbott photographed Lake Chapala in the 1940s

Esther Henderson and her husband, Chuck Abbott, spent six weeks in Mexico taking photographs for Arizona Highways magazine in the early 1940s. They were major contributors to the magazine for decades. They published at least three photographs related to Lake Chapala in Arizona Highways. The first two were black and white images in the September […]

Jan 282021
 
Watercolorist Xavier Perez Aguilar was the first president of the Ajijic Society of the Arts

Xavier Pérez Aguilar became well known in Ajijic in the 1980s and 1990s for his fine watercolor landscapes and portraits. According to a “Profile of the Artist” in El Ojo del Lago, Pérez was born in Ocotlán (near the eastern end of Lake Chapala) but was raised and educated in Southern California. He worked in […]

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Jan 142021
 
Herb McLaughlin photographed Chapala in about 1950

Herb McLaughlin was a prolific commercial photographer who began his career in Illinois before moving to Arizona. These images of the church and waterfront in Chapala were published in Arizona Highways in November 1950. Herbert (“Herb”) McLaughlin was born in Chicago, Illinois, on 30 July 1918 and died in Phoenix on 19 February 1991. He […]

Jan 072021
 
Carol Shepherd McClain researched birth practices in Ajijic in the 1960s

It’s not often that obstetrics makes it into my random musings about the artists and authors associated with Lake Chapala. But there’s a first time for everything! Starting in the 1960s, Carol Shepherd McClain, a young California researcher, visited Ajijic several times in order to investigate “traditional” birthing practices in the village. McClain’s supervisor at […]

Dec 312020
 
Herbert Johnson's photos: Central Mexico (1940s)

Herbert Johnson (1877-1960) and his wife, Georgette (1893-1975), settled in Ajijic in December 1939. Shortly after Herbert died in Ajijic in 1960, Georgette returned to live in the UK. These photographs come from a photo album that once belonged to Georgette. For the story of its rediscovery by historian Dr Kimberly Lamay Licursi in an […]

Dec 222020
 
A Christmas Potpourri of Lake Chapala Links

A number of artists and authors associated with Lake Chapala have clear links to Christmas. Admittedly, some links are more tenuous than others. Here, in no particular order, are a few of those that come to mind: German-born photographer Hugo Brehme, who  photographed Lake Chapala, and many of whose superb black-and-white postcard images are hauntingly […]

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