Aug 292016
Artist and poet Clarence Major visited Lake Chapala in 1968

The multi-talented African American poet, novelist and artist Clarence Major spent some time at Lake Chapala in 1968. Major was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1936 and grew up in Chicago. In the early 1950s, Major studied drawing and painting under painter Gus Nall (1919–1995) and attended the Art Institute of Chicago, where his teachers […]

Aug 252016
Artist Eleanor Smart (1909-1993) was a long-time resident at Lake Chapala

Eleanor Smart (1909-1993) was an American artist who lived with her husband Douglas in Chula Vista, Lake Chapala, from the late 1960s until shortly before her death. The couple had visited the Lake Chapala area several times before purchasing the “Radke house” (Calle del Redondo #122, in Chula Vista) in 1968. She worked in a variety […]

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Aug 222016
Blair Niles first visited Mexico in 1903-1904

Blair Niles (1880-1959), as she is best known, was formerly Mary Blair Rice, the first wife of naturalist and oceanographer Charles Beebe. The Beebes visited Mexico (and Lake Chapala) over the winter of 1903-1904. As Mary Blair Rice, she contributed the cover design to Beebe’s book Two Bird Lovers in Mexico (which is dedicated to […]

Aug 112016
Ajijic artist Florentino Padilla gave art classes in the 1960s at the Lake Chapala Society

Florentino Padilla, who lived from about 1943 to 2010, regularly featured in the pages of the Guadalajara Reporter in the mid-1960s because he was “largely responsible for the bright, charming paintings” that were being produced by youngsters in weekly art classes at the Lake Chapala Society’s “Biblioteca”. Padilla, described as a personable young man, was […]

Aug 082016
Charles Beebe described Lake Chapala in 1904

Charles Beebe (1877-1962) and his wife, Mary Blair Rice (the subject of a future post) visited Lake Chapala in the latter half of March 1904. Charles William Beebe (Will Beebe, as he preferred) was an American ornithologist, naturalist, explorer and author, born in Brooklyn, New York. He never completed a college degree, but undertook pioneering […]

Aug 012016
Canadian Poet Earle Birney visited Ajijic in the 1950s

The distinguished Canadian poet Earle Alfred Birney (1904–1995) traveled in Mexico in the 1950s and wrote several poems based on his experiences, including one entitled “Ajijíċ”. Birney was born in Calgary, Alberta, on Friday 13 May 1904 and raised on a farm near Creston in British Columbia. After short stints working on a farm, in […]

Jul 282016
Mario Aluta lived and painted in Ajijic in the late 1960s

We know disappointingly little about the life and work of artist Emanuel(e) Mario Aluta. Aluta moved to Ajijic with his second wife Daphne Greer Aluta (born 1919) in the late 1960s. It is unclear whether or not Mario remained in Ajijic after 1974 when Daphne married Colin MacDougall in a small ceremony at the home […]

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Jul 252016
Novelist Barbara Moore visited Ajijic regularly in the 1960s

Barbara Moore (1934-2002), the second wife of prolific author John Lee (1931-2013), worked as a reporter for most of her career and published several novels. The couple married in 1957 and then lived for a year in Spain, before spending time in various places in the U.S. prior to visiting Mexico in 1962. They lived […]

Jul 212016
Early painting of Lake Chapala by Donald Cecil Totten (1903-1967)

This early impressionist painting of Lake Chapala by Donald Cecil Totten was offered for sale on eBay in 2015, though it remains frustratingly unclear when the American artist actually visited Chapala. Totten was born in Vermillion, South Dakota, on 13 August 1903, but lived most of his adult life in Los Angeles, California. He died […]

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Jul 182016
Novelist John Lee (1931-2013) was a regular visitor to Ajijic in the 1960s

John Lee (1931-2013) and his second wife, novelist Barbara Moore, spent a freelance year in Ajijic in 1962-63 and then returned for three months almost every summer for the next decade. Lee was a prolific writer, photographer and educator who penned thousands of newspaper articles, several non-fiction books and a dozen novels, including two NY […]

Jul 142016
Award-winning artist Walden Swank painted Lake Chapala in 1975

During a month-long trip to Chapala with his wife in June 1975 to celebrate their tenth wedding anniversary, Walden Swank painted a prize-winning picture of the lake. The painting, which won best-of-show and a purchase award in a show entitled Two Flags Festival of the Arts in Douglas, Arizona, now hangs in a museum south […]

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Jul 112016
The war memoirs of William R. (“Bill”) Evans

William R. (“Bill”) Evans was born on 10 April 1923 in Oak Park, Illinois and had a distinguished military career and life in public service. He and his wife Irene lived for several years in Chapala in the 1960s. According to their long-time friend Bill Atkinson, Evans had already written his first book Kora! before […]

Jul 072016
Photographer Michael Heinichen lived at Lake Chapala in the early 1970s

Photographer Michael Heinichen (born ca 1944) is best known for his portrait of Dave Sheridan, used on the cover of the first issue (June/July 1972)] of The Rip Off Review of Western Culture, published in the summer of 1972. The Rip Off Review of Western Culture was a short-lived underground comics magazine from San Francisco […]

Jul 042016
Author and illustrator Regina Shekerjian (1923-2000)

Regina Shekerjian and her husband, photographer Haig Shekerjian, spent several months living in Ajijic over the winter of 1950-51, and returned frequently thereafter, including numerous times in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Regina DeCormier Shekerjian (1923-2000) was a well-known author, translator and illustrator of children’s books. The couple, who had two sons, lived for […]

Jun 302016
Tully Judson Petty painted in Ajijic in 1967-68

Texan artist Tully Judson Petty Jr. lived in Ajijic for almost a year from mid-1967 into 1968. While living in Ajijic, he was working feverishly on completing 50 oils, watercolors, drawings and woodcuts for a one-man show at the exclusive DuBose Gallery in Houston scheduled for April 1968. Petty was born on 13 Aug 1928 […]

Jun 232016
Painter and sculptor Daphne Aluta lived in Ajijic in the 1970s and 1980s

Artist Daphne Aluta moved to Ajijic with her then husband Mario Aluta in the late 1960s, and lived there for about twenty years. In September 1985, she was the first female artist to ever have her work featured in the Chapala area monthly El Ojo del Lago; all previous art profiles had highlighted male artists. […]