Feb 092017
German artist Peter Huf found love, family and inspiration in Ajijic in the 1960s

Eunice and Peter Huf are artists who met in Mexico in the 1960s and lived in Ajijic on Lake Chapala for several years, before relocating to Europe with their two sons in the early 1970s. Peter Huf was born 2 May 1940 in Kaufbeuren in southern Germany. A self-taught artist, he began to paint in […]

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Feb 062017
The difficulties of driving from Chapala to Ajijic in 1946

In a previous post, we offered an outline biography of Canadian writer Ross Parmenter, who first visited Mexico in 1946 and subsequently wrote several books related to Mexico. One of these books, Stages in a Journey (1983), includes accounts of two trips from Chapala to Ajijic – the first by car, the second by boat […]

Feb 022017
Visual artist Cynthia Luria first lived in Ajijic in the late 1960s

Artist Cynthia Jones Luria, “Casey” to her friends, has several connections to Ajijic and Lake Chapala. She lived in the village from 1968 to 1969, and from about 2000 to 2003. Born in 1943, her birth name is Cynthia Siddons Jones (“Siddons” is in memory of her maternal grandfather, artist Harry Siddons Mowbray). Her family […]

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Jan 302017
Ross Parmenter, with his eye for detail, visited Lake Chapala in 1946

Given that Canadian Ross Parmenter (1912-1999) only ever spent a few days at Lake Chapala, his inclusion in this series of profiles of artists and authors associated with Lake Chapala may seem surprising. However, his detailed accounts of two trips from Chapala to Ajijic – first by car and then by boat – on two […]

Jan 262017
Eugene and Marjorie Nowlen: artistic couple with a long connection to Lake Chapala

Eugene and Marjorie Nowlen were an artistic couple who had a long connection to Mexico. The certainly visited Mexico prior to 1938, and first visited Ajijic on Lake Chapala in 1950. They became regular visitors to Lake Chapala from then until the 1970s. The work of both artists was included in A Cookbook with Color […]

Jan 232017
Children's book author Aileen Olsen Melby lived in Ajijic in the 1980s and 1990s

Poet and children’s novelist Aileen Olsen and her second husband Arthur Melby first lived at Lake Chapala from 1970 to 1973 and then retired there in 1986, remaining there for the rest of their lives. Aileen Bertha Olsen, also known as Aileen Olsen Molarsky and Aileen Olsen Melby, was the daughter of Norwegian immigrants to […]

Jan 192017
Allen Wadsworth took skills from 1970s Ajijic straight to Hollywood

Allen Wadsworth, born in about 1939, had at least two exhibitions in Ajijic in the 1970s and honed his carpentry and painting skills in the village prior to embarking on a long and distinguished career in Hollywood as a set painter and scenic artist for major movies and TV shows. Wadsworth and his wife Diane […]

Jan 162017
Gabino Ortiz Villaseñor, a 19th century poet and dramatist

Gabino Ortiz Villaseñor (1819-1885) was a 19th century poet, journalist, lawyer, politician and playwright born in the town of Jiquilpan, Michoacán, on the eastern shore of Lake Chapala prior to that area’s draining for farmland in 1906. Despite the fact that the commemorative plaque on his birthplace (image) gives his date of birth as 18 […]

Jan 092017
Poet, author and illustrator Regina Shekerjian (1923-2000)

Regina Alma (deCormier) 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 poet, author, translator and illustrator of children’s books. She was born in Poughkeepsie, […]

Jan 052017
Western artist John A. Bruce visited Ajijic in the 1960s

The renowned western artist John A. Bruce, best known for his portraiture, visited Ajijic on Lake Chapala, probably in the 1960s. His name was recalled by long-time Ajijic visitor Dr. Jim Vaughan when I interviewed him in 1990. Vaughan said that Bruce had drawn a sketch of him, but that it had required several sittings, […]

Jan 022017
Victoriano Roa described Chapala in the early 19th century

Victoriano Roa wrote a post-Independence statistical account of Jalisco which includes descriptions and data pertaining to Lake Chapala in 1821-1822. Relatively little is known about Roa, a politician and writer. It is likely that he was a native of Jalisco, given that the surname is common there. He held various state government posts in the […]

Dec 292016
Janet M Cummings photographed Lake Chapala in 1916 for National Geographic

Just who was Janet M. Cummings? I’ve managed to find out very little about this photographer despite the fact that she was one of the earliest female photographers to have several of her photographs published in National Geographic and she also had photos accepted by such august newspapers as the New York Times. One of […]

Dec 262016
Enrique Villaseñor y de La Parra (1865-1934), poet born in Jiquilpan, Michoacán

Enrique Carmen de Jesús Villaseñor y de La Parra was born on 14 July 1865 in Jiquilpan, Michoacán (at that time on the shores of Lake Chapala), in a house on a street named for another famous priest and poet born in the town: Diego José Abad. Villaseñor ‘s father, Toribio Villaseñor, was a rural property […]

Dec 242016
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: Regina Tor (deCormier) Shekerjian and her husband, photographer Haig Shekerjian, were frequent visitors to Ajijic from the early […]

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Dec 222016
Orville Goldner, of "King Kong" fame, visited Ajijic in the 1970s

Orville Charles Goldner (1906-1985) was an art director, puppeteer and special-effects artist who visited Ajijic with his wife Dorothy Goldner in the early 1970s. Goldner was born in Toledo, Ohio, on 18 May 1906 and died on 28 February 1985. He studied at the Toledo Museum School of Design in his native town before moving […]

Dec 192016
Poet and writer Jim Levy lived in Ajijic 1968-69

Poet and writer Jim Levy lived for about a year in Ajijic from mid-1968 until May 1969. Many years later, he has started publishing some of his poems,  essays and stories. Levy, whose father was a Freudian psychoanalyst, was born in Chicago in 1940 and raised in Los Angeles. As a child, he spent several […]

Dec 152016
Artist Dorothy Goldner visited Ajijic in the early 1970s

Dorothy Goldner (1906-2005) and her husband Orville Goldner (1906-1985) spent some time in Ajijic in the early 1970s, as evidenced by Dorothy’s participation in the large group show “Fiesta of Art” held on 15 May 1971 at the residence of Mr and Mrs E. D. Windham (Calle 16 de Septiembre #33, Ajijic). Other artists at […]

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Dec 122016
Salomón Zepeda's novel, "La Ondina de Chapala"

In my on-going quest to document the authors and artists associated with Lake Chapala, I occasionally come across individuals about whom very little is known. In most cases, diligent research eventually unearths a few savory tidbits, even if I sometimes still lack sufficient material to compile a formal biography. Salomón Zepeda is an exception. I […]

Dec 102016
Review  by Dale Palfrey of "Mexican Kaleidoscope: myths, mysteries and mystique" for Guadalajara Reporter

This review, by Dale Palfrey, of “Mexican Kaleidoscope: myths, mysteries and mystique” appeared in the 24 November 2016 edition of the Guadalajara Reporter: New tome uncovers obscure details about amazing Mexico “Mexican Kaleidoscope,” the latest book by Tony Burton, takes readers on a delightful romp through Mexican history and culture, spanning 10,000 years from the […]

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