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HOW DID THE SACRED HEART SERIES BECOME ACTUALIZED? Most people know me from this series… So I figured, this would be the best place to start. Music places my life… Not counting my belief system of course… Yes, music is the storehouse that triggers my memory. It accompanies every mood and emotion I have and gives it context. I obviously feel it deeply. Eight years ago I was puttering along with my art career. I really had no idea of what it took tobe successful. In fact, I was damn near ready to quit. It was too frustrating. My longest held dream was to make a living as a “creative.” At 41 years old, it didn’t seem like it was going to happen. I had always been somewhat adverse to painting celebrities, but my friend Donna Galvanauskas sent me a copy of Willie Nelson’s book – “The Tao of Willie” and I was compelled. It made perfect sense to me… I had to paint Willie Nelson. Having grown up in Texas, Willie and his music were about the only thing that we could all agree on in my family. My first concert in 1972 was Willie Nelson. It was time to paint Willie Nelson dammit! Painting had been a compulsion for a good 6 years before the Sacred Heart Series appeared. I was a failed writer, and wanted to do something creative… knowing that creativity is a muscle that needs to be worked. When I say it was a compulsion, I mean I was obsessed. I bought my first watercolor kit at Walgreens and started painting. No lessons. No books. No videos… No happy clouds in the sky. Just a raw desire to flush my soul, expel that gnawing doubt of who and where I was in life. After 13 years of hard work, I have become a master watercolor artist, a medium that for most people is like herding cats. I have created a definitive style. And like always, I am interested in catching emotion in expression… primarily faces. So by the time I got to Willie, I had done over 200 paintings. At the same point, my life felt like it was st alled. I was quite despondent, and had taken to destroying my paintings with water and trying to bring them back to life. Kind of parallel to my life… I digress… The new technique that I had been fooling around with had born fruit. The paintings were becoming more complex, dicey, risky… Full of happy accidents, but at the same time, having the faith of a monk that God had a plan… Even though my life felt like shit. When I sat down to paint Willie after a full day of work, I did a really nice sketch. Closing in on the end of my sketch, a brain flash crossed my mind… I would give Willie a flaming heart to represent the heart energy that he gives the world. Seemed like a powerful, simple symbol. I applied the paint. It looked really good. Now, the moment of truth. Was I willing to ruin a perfect painting by pouring 32 ounces of water on top of a watercolor? I lit another candle. I started another stick of incense. I took a deep breath and said a prayer… Then baptized the painting. Flooded it! My heart was beating out of my chest. I applied the gold gauche… We are talking seconds at the end of a 5 hour painting… I blow dried the water off the painting, and stepped back to the power of what had been created. It was a true mystical experience to me. The water. The faith. The years of disappointment were tied into that painting. Maybe a bit of hope too, but I wasn’t counting on it. The next day I took it to the radio station that I was working at. My co worker started crying the second she saw it. I knew I had something quite powerful on my hands. I wondered what part of my collective conscious lead me to put that heart on there. What did it really mean symbolically, because I knew something bigger than myself was speaking to me. In order to ground something so heavy, you really need to be completely clear on the components. I grew up Catholic. Spent many years of my life living in San Antonio with it’s heavy hispanic vibe. The Sacred Heart was everywhere. I also spent a good chunk of my life asking why and what around my spiritual life. I wasn’t passive about it. I studied and applied and walked through doors of understanding as they appeared, and dug a little deeper when they didn’t. The inkling I had was that I was trying to explain God in each and everyone of us. The divine spark. The unique gifts each one of us was given that is the fingerprint expression of our individual lives that serves a greater whole. Of course I felt it most strongly with music, and the musicians who made it. Yes, music… a powerful expression that changes lives, the way we look at things, feel them… remember them. Hence, I defined the Sacred Heart Series as ”A collection of iconic people who shifted the planet with their gifts, vision, talent, passion… heART energy!” I then wanted to include the people looking and listening into the equation. We are not passive. We share that same unique gift that makes each and everyone of us special. So I made a simple statement… “What are you doing with YOUR Sacred Heart? What are you doing with your gifts to shift the planet!” After being on the road for about a year showing the Sacred Heart Series, a third component came to me… It’s the most universal. We connect with our favorite music and musicians through our heart. Simple. It registers with the heart before the head. Kind of like love. Mysterious. Unexplainable. Universal. I try to capture each artists essence. I’m not just painting a dollar bill. I have to feel it. Study it. Understand it. Then, hopefully channel the spirit, the essence, of who I am painting. I believe that is what makes them so powerful… why people connect with what I do. I think they sense the honesty in it. People ask me all the time “how long does it take for you to do this?” My stock, tongue in cheek answer is, ” A lifetime. 48 years.” Then I smile. I know that I’m the only one who can paint the way I do. It is my gift. So time is hard to quantify… But normally it takes around 5 hours, not counting the prep work and research I put into each painting. Because I have an active mind, I constantly challenge myself to create new expressions, new series. The Sacred Heart Series is like my Dark Side of the Moon. But that doesn’t mean I can’t come up with The Wall. So, in the middle of the continual additions to the Sacred Heart, I’ve come up with some other interesting stuff like VIVA LA LUCHA – a collection of themed Luchador wrestling masks, my WOMEN VISIONS, which is an ongoing collection of emotionally inspired pieces that really speak to the feminine, and most recently my CANTINA VIDA series… A collection of photography that explores Mexican dive bar culture. At the end of the day, I find my purpose in encouraging others to follow their Sacred Heart… Express their passion and gifts into the world to make it a better place to live.