Dec 022016
 
Where to buy "Mexican Kaleidoscope: myths, mysteries and mystique"

Mexican Kaleidoscope: myths, mysteries and mystique, by Tony Burton, with thirty original pen and ink illustrations by Enrique Velázquez, is available in both print and e-book editions from all major online retailers (prices in US$): Print edition from CreateSpace (our preference) – $19.99 Print edition on Amazon.com – $19.99 E-book edition for Kindle – $7.42 […]

May 252017
 
Adela Breton (1849-1923) visited Chapala in 1896

Stories about underdogs who rise to the top of their chosen field or profession are always fascinating. So how did Adela Breton, an amateur artist, come to produce some of the finest ever copies of ancient Mexican murals and friezes? In several cases, the originals no longer exist or have become badly corroded, and her […]

May 222017
 
Claudio Oronoz , the protagonist in Ruben Campos's novel, heads for Lake Chapala

Rubén M. Campos‘s novel Claudio Oronoz includes dozens of pages relating to Lake Chapala. The lake is not only described (in all its glory) but also provides the setting for some memorable discussions between the main characters. Campos utilizes Lake Chapala as a kind of antidote for, or counterbalance to, life in Mexico City. This […]

May 182017
 
Clara Schafer Thorward (1887-1969) painted landscape of Lake Chapala

Mrs. Clara Lena Thorward (née Schafer) was born in South Bend, Indiana, on 14 June 1887, and lived and worked mainly in New York and Arizona. She died on 16 March 1969 in Phoenix, Arizona. Both her parents were German immigrants and she was one of seven children. Her father died in 1900. Clara Thorward […]

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May 152017
 
Poet and novelist Ruben M. Campos (1871-1945) enjoyed vacations at Lake Chapala

Rubén Marcos Campos, though now largely forgotten, was one of the major figures in Mexican literature in the first half of the twentieth century. Campos, a poet, intellectual, novelist and folklorist, was born on 25 April 1871 in Ciudad Manuel Doblado, Guanajuato, and died in Mexico City on 7 June 1945. His first novel, entitled […]

May 112017
 
Bert Miller's outstanding photographs of Chapala and environs in the 1970s and 1980s.

Bertram (“Bert”) Miller was a supremely talented amateur photographer who retired to Chapala and spent several years documenting the town and its inhabitants in the 1970s and 1980s. After his passing, a significant number of his photographs were donated by his youngest daughter, Norma, to the Chapala archives. The archives, open to the public, are […]

May 082017
 
Lake Chapala and the work of Bob Somerlott (1928-2001)

Bob Somerlott was a well-respected writer of both fiction and non-fiction who lived in Ajijic for several years in the early 1960s before moving to San Miguel de Allende, where he resided for almost forty years. Robert (“Bob”) Somerlott was born 17 September 1928 in Huntington, Indiana, and died, following surgery, on 22 July 2001 […]

May 042017
 
Paul Hachten painted in Ajijic in the late 1960s

American artists Paul Charles Hachten (born 1934) and his then wife Cynthia “Casey” Siddons Jones lived in Ajijic from 1968 to 1969, following their marriage on Valentine’s Day 1968. However, Hachten was still listed in a  local newspaper in April 1971 as having a studio in Ajijic, at Independencia #28. Peter Huf, who was living […]

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May 012017
 
Octavio Paz's grandfather set one of his novels at Lake Chapala

Ireneo Paz, the paternal grandfather of Nobel Prize-winning author Octavio Paz, was a respected writer, journalist and intellectual. One of his novels, Guadalupe, first published in 1874, is an illustrated romance novel (in Spanish) with several descriptive passages relating to Lake Chapala. The story is set in an unnamed lakeshore village. The text includes several […]

Apr 272017
 
Mexican-American artist Eugenio Quesada lived in Ajijic in the 1960s

The renowned Mexican American artist Eugenio Quesada (1927-2011) lived in Ajijic in the early 1960s. Quesada had a distinguished artistic career and is considered an important figure in the history of Mexican American art. Eugenio Reynaldo Quesada, usually known simply as “Gene”, was born in Wickenburg, Arizona, on 24 May 1927. He was born into […]

Apr 242017
 
Journalist and author Jack McDonald lived and wrote at Lake Chapala from 1967 to 1978

Veteran sports journalist Jack McDonald was already in his late sixties when he and his wife retired to Chapala in 1967. His retirement did nothing to diminish his productivity. McDonald (born John McDonald, but always called Jack) spent the next decade traipsing across Mexico, always in search of the next story. From his home in […]

Apr 202017
 
The extraordinary talents of Anne McKeever: model, poet, painter, photographer and teacher

Anne McKeever (1928-2002) was an artist, model, photographer and Beat poet who spent some time in Ajijic during the 1950s and was a close friend of the painter Don Martin and folksinger Lori Fair. Another of McKeever’s closest friends was Jeonora Bartlet, who lived in Ajijic in 1956-7 and later became the partner of American […]

Apr 182017
 
George Ballou and a lost 500-page book about the artist-tourist colony at Lake Chapala

George Adin Ballou was born in Madrid, Spain, on 21 November 1927, and died in May 1986. By the age of 21, according to an article in the Amarillo Daily News, Ballou had already completed several books, including, “a 500-page work on the artist-tourist colony at Lake Chapala”, with the working title of Ajijic. Sadly, […]

Apr 112017
 
Pioneer photographer Dorothy Hosmer visited Ajijic in 1945

Dorothy Hosmer, born in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, in 1910, spent much of her life combining adventure and photography. She visited Ajijic with her mother for a short time in 1945, where she met, among others, artists Otto Butterlin and Sylvia Fein. Fein recalls that Hosmer was planning to write an article about the area, with the […]

Apr 102017
 
Ross Parmenter describes a boat trip 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 book, Stages in a Journey (1983), includes accounts of two trips from Chapala to Ajijic – the first by car, the second by boat […]

Apr 062017
 
Prolific painter and batik artist Gustel Foust lived in Ajijic in the 1980s

Painter and batik artist Auguste Killat Foust (1915-2010), better known as Gustel Foust, had lived for twenty years in Mexico before moving to Ajijic, where she lived from 1978 to 1984. Previously she had resided fifteen years in Guadalajara (1963-78) and five years in San Miguel de Allende (1958-1963). Auguste Killat Myckinn (her birthname) was […]

Apr 032017
 
Martin Goldsmith, Hollywood screen writer, was in Ajijic in the mid-1960s

Author Martin M. Goldsmith was born 6 November 1913 in New York City and died in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, at the age of 80, on 24 May 1994. He wrote several acclaimed screenplays, including Detour (1945), adapted from his 1939 novel of the same name; Blind Spot (1947); and The Narrow Margin (1952) which […]

Mar 302017
 
In the early 1950s, "Peter Arnold" ran one of Ajijic's earliest advertising campaigns - to attract tourists or artists?

One of my more maddening failures in trying to piece together the history of the artistic and literary community at Lake Chapala has been my inability to corroborate the existence of the “Peter Arnold Art Studios” in Ajijic in the early 1950s. The term appears in the obituary of author and serial adventurer Peter Elstob […]

Mar 272017
 
Entrepreneur and balloon pilot Arnold Eiloart lived in Ajijic in the early 1950s

English etrepreneur, balloon pilot and writer Arnold Eiloart (1907-1981) lived in Ajijic from either late 1948 or early 1949 until 1950, and again from 1951 to April 1952. Arnold Beaupré Eiloart, usually known as “Bushy”, was born on 23 August 1907, at Whiteway Colony, Gloucestershire, in a tent in the middle of a field. His […]

Mar 232017
 
American-born artist Barbara Zacheisz Elstob painted in Ajijic in the early 1950s

American-born artist Barbara Jean Zacheisz Elstob painted in Ajijic in the early 1950s. She lived in Ajijic (where she met her future husband, the writer Peter Elstob) for more than two years, from late 1949 or early 1950 to April 1952. Barbara Jean Zacheisz was born on 22 October 1924 in St. Louis, Missouri. Her […]

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Mar 202017
 
Author and adventurer Peter Elstob lived in Ajijic in the early 1950s

Peter Frederick Egerton Elstob (1915-2002) was a British author, adventurer and entrepreneur who lived in Ajijic from late 1949 until 1952. Peter Elstob was born in London on 22 December 1915. The family lived in various places during Peter’s childhood, and his early education was in the U.S. where he graduated from Summit High School […]

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