Wow! Look how many months it’s been since I posted here on my blog. WAY too many. I’m much more faithful about posting on Facebook, but I’ve been sorely lacking regarding my blog and my newsletter. It’s time to catch up on both of those. I’ll be posting about a lot of interesting things going on in my artistic life in the next edition of my newsletter but here, today, I’d like to focus on just one great and exciting accomplishment!

A little over a  year ago, I had the idea of publishing a small book of some of my paintings. About the same time, I’d started communicating with my second cousin, Wyatt Figueroa, in Texas. Wyatt is Cindy’s son and Cindy’s dad, Bill, and my dad, Jack, are brothers. So, Cindy, Becky, Debbie (her sisters) and I are first cousins. All 3 sisters live outside of California so I don’t see them or their children often. When the opportunity to reconnect with Cindy and Becky and Wyatt came about on FB, I was grateful for it and we started getting back in touch.

Over the weeks that followed, I found out that Wyatt and Cindy both paint and Wyatt writes poetry and fiction stories. He was temporarily out of work and I suggested that he might be interested in writing some poems to go with some of my paintings. I picked out 20 paintings and he started writing a poem to go with each. I sent him a contract and agreed to pay him a small amount for each poem and format the collection into book form and give him a few books at the end of the project.

As the poems flew back and forth over the cyber highway, I had a good feeling all along about the project. There were dry spells with not much happening, but, overall,  the progress was steady and encouraging. Each poem I received was set up with the painting it went with in a double page spread in a book developing through Blurb books. I could tell that Wyatt struggled with writing some of them and others just almost seemed to fall onto the page, barely even guided by the pencil in his hand. They varied in feeling, mood, subject matter, emotive state, and style but all were very interesting and very well done.

Summer came and went, twice, and the 20 poems were almost 20! And then, they were. I scrambled to format them based on a limited number of templates available through Blurb. I published and edited a draft version and ordered us each a copy. I was very pleased with the look and feel (both physical and emotional) of the book. The first draft paper was standard quality paper and it looked good,  but  it was much nicer in the second, hardbound version with a better grade of paper.

So now, the book is available through Blurb in three versions–a pdf copy that comes to your computer for $14.99, a softbound copy for $20.00 plus tax and shipping if ordered through Blurb and $40.00 plus tax and shipping if ordered through Blurb.

All you do to order is go to and do a search for “Painting and Poems, A Cousin Collaborative” and pick pdf, softbound, or hardbound and it will be sent directly to you in a few days. I will have a few copies available at the gallery but I anticipate most orders will be through Blurb since it will save shipping to me and then me reshipping to the final destinations. If you are near Sanger and want to order through me and pick up at the gallery, that works fine. Just let me know what you’d like and I’ll order it and you can pay at pickup at “Mixed Messages” ART in Sanger, CA.

I’d like to thank Wyatt again for his commitment and dedication to the project and for sharing so much of himself in his poems. He and I feel like we know each other much better now and it’s been a rewarding project for both of us. We think you will enjoy the book–both the paintings and the poems–and will treasure having it on your bookshelf. Happy Paintings and Poems to you!

If you go to Blurb, you will see a preview of two of the poems included in the book. There are 20 all together, and the book has 42 pages.