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. […]

Jun 202016
Anthropologist Ralph Leon Beals (1901-1985) visited Chapala in December 1932

American anthropologist Ralph Beals was traveling with fellow anthropologist Elsie Clews Parsons (1875-1941), when they visited Chapala and Ajijic in December 1932. The two anthropologists had been working with the Cora and Huichol Indians at Tepic, Nayarit, and were on their way south towards Oaxaca. Years later, Beals would adopt Parsons’ fieldwork methods and follow […]

Jun 132016
Miles Swarthout and "Convictions of the Heart", a screenplay set at Lake Chapala

Miles Swarthout was the son of award-winning novelist Glendon Swarthout (1918-1992) and his wife Kathryn Vaughn (1919-2015). Miles was born on 1 May 1946 and died on 2 March 2016. As a five-year-old child, Miles spent six months in Ajijic in 1951 with his parents, while his father worked on a novel, Doyle Dorado, later […]

Jun 092016
Photographer and illustrator Haig Shekerjian (1922-2002)

Photographer and illustrator Haig Witwer Shekerjian was born 3 November 1922 in Chicago, Illinois, and finally laid his camera to rest on 21 August 2002 in Schenectady, New York. He and his wife Regina were regular visitors to Ajijic from 1950 on, and spent several months each year in the village during the 1970s and […]

Jun 062016
European traveler Vitold de Szyszlo partied at Chapala with President Diaz in 1909

Witold, later Vitold, de Szyszlo (1881-1965), was born in Warsaw but lived part of his early life in Paris, where he studied natural sciences and became a member of the Paris Society of Geography. His first visit to the U.S. is recorded as taking place in 1904. The passenger list says he was 23 years […]

Jun 012016
Felix Bernardelli (1862-1908) painted Lake Chapala on several occasions

Born in Brazil, painter and violinist Félix Bernadelli was an influential teacher of art in Guadalajara in the second half of the nineteenth century. Félix had two older brothers: Chilean-born painter Henrique Bernardelli  (1858-1936) and Mexican-born sculptor Rodolfo Bernardelli (1852 – 1931). Félix’s later art works tended towards impressionism. Many of his landscapes were based […]

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May 302016
Non-fiction writer Thomas Carmichael wrote in Ajijic in the late 1960s

Tom Carmichael was a U.S. Army veteran who lived and wrote in Ajijic for six years in the late 1960s. When he first arrived at Lake Chapala, Carmichael, accompanied by his wife Marcelle and their 10-year-old son, stayed in the Posada Ajijic. The family later made its home on Calle Guadalupe Victoria. During his time […]

May 262016
Tisner, a Catalan artist, painted Lake Chapala in the 1940s

Catalan artist and writer Avel-lí Artís-Gener, who often signed his art simply “Tisner”, left Spain for exile in Mexico following the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). He lived in Mexico for 25 years, and visited and painted Lake Chapala in the early 1940s. Tisner was born in Barcelona, Spain, on 28 May 1912 and died in […]

May 232016
Glendon Swarthout's short story "Ixion" is set at Lake Chapala in the 1950s

In between writing hugely successful novels, Glendon Swarthout (1918-1992) wrote a short story entitled “Ixion”, set at Lake Chapala. This story was later turned into a screenplay by his son Miles Swarthout as Convictions of the Heart. Swarthout spent six months in Ajijic in 1951, with his wife Kathryn and their young son, Miles, aged […]

May 192016
Emil Armin painted Lake Chapala in the 1950s

Emil Armin (1883-1971) was born in Rădăuţi (Radautz), Romania, in 1883 and died in Chicago in 1971. He is assumed to have visited Lake Chapala at some point in the mid-1950s since one of his paintings, entitled “Morning Lake Chapala”, was hung in a no-jury exhibition of Chicago Artists in Chicago in February 1957. That […]