My First Book, The Lady of the Turquoise Pendant

I am now a published author. This first book is a novel for young adults. It has been in the making for several years and was filed until I could sit down and work on it without distractions.

With a feeling of “don’t do tomorrow what you can do today” I decided I needed to complete the project. I was ready to grow and learn  from the experience so I self-published the book to make it available now.

The Lady of the Turquoise Pendant is a project I began in the early 90’s. It has a personal history with me. It started in one “lifetime” and it grew in another. Though I had decided I would return to it at a time when I could focus on it completely, that little voice kept telling me, “It is time you brought out that manuscript”. So I finally did.

After having it filed for eight years I was ready to read it once again, armed with my red pen. Amazingly, I didn’t mark it up as much as I thought I would. The story still read true to my heart. I asked two readers to mark it up for me as well. And I read it a few more times. In the interim, I felt I would create some illustrations for the book so while I edited, I tinkered with possible scenes to illustrate.

It suddenly hit me that as a portrait artist I should paint portraits of my main characters. That was easier said than done. It was one thing to develop a character and create her with words but how would I take those words and create a two-dimensional representation? I thought about the pieces I create for my Surrealist Series and realized it was another art challenge I was ready to take on so after the edits were done, I prepped my canvases and started with what I thought was the most difficult character, the Jaguar Knight.

One by one, the characters poured out of my brush one after the other. I loved it! I painted continously until I dropped, rested, ate and kept going. The other challenge was to paint without a model. I had only a photo of two models I wanted to consider for the main characters. I later found a third to inspire a secondary character. As you know, I normally paint my portraits and figures from life so the challenge was to use everything I had learned to “see” the charecters in my head and create them on canvas from that vision.

As with the story, I did my research to inspire the costumes for each character. As a wardrobe designer I created original attire based on my knowledge, understanding and new research. As the characters materialized onto the canvas I delighted myself (yes I did have fun through out the whole project) and fueled my enthusiasm to keep going. I didn’t want to stop until they were all complete. I then created a scene inspired on the preface of the book and my illustrative work was complete.

With eight 24×18 inch canvases, representing my seven principal characters, drying in my studio and a finished manuscript in hand, I began the self-publishing journey.

The Lady of the Turquoise Pendant, a Romeo and Juliet-styled tragedy inspired on the Mexican legend of the volcanoes Popocatepetl and Iztaccihautl, creates a troupe of characters in an Aztec setting to go beyond the legend. I hope you enjoy it.

More On Sustainability

The second thing that comes to mind when thinking about sustainability is immersion.

The point of immersion is education. Education is considered one of the most important aspects to implement a better understanding of sustainability. Education can be at different levels. Most believe that it should take place at school. The impressionable age can allow young students to adopt the understanding of sustainability and then take it home to further the education. There is also a need to educate service providers and business in order to begin to develop products and processes that adopt a wholistic understanding of sustainability from the raw materials to the processes, packaging, distribution, and waste. The complete life-cycle.

There is a cost to educate. Then, after the education, one would expect a conversion period that may begin through adption of one practice, and perhaps another would follow.

Immersion is different. Immersion creates a fully integrated environment that immediately modifies the actions and activities of everyone within the environment. An example could be a school.

The infrastructure is fully utilized and energy independent. It is off the grid for energy consumption but can supply others when necessary from its storage cells. The building is oriented to best adopt the natural features of its surroundings. It is not conditioned to create an artificial environment but fits into the natural environment it belongs to. It collects water, filters waste, generates alternative energy and reuses all materials to reduce waste to a minimum.

The design of the building creates for practical, integrated, and social learning. There are indoor and outdoor class environments. Learning progress is monitored and measured electronically so teachers can focus on those students who need it most while recognizing those who are striving as well. There is more engagement because learning takes place continously, without limitations, and it is a celebration.

The facility serves and engages the community as a learning and teaching site. It has 24/7 functionality. It includes a community garden that supplies fresh crops for its students, teachers, and neighbors giving opportuinites to learn self-sustaining practices of nutrition, gardening and kitchen duties.

Sustainability is not taught in this facility. It is practiced through immersion.



What is Sustainability?

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about what sustainability looks like is unattachment.

My focus will be from the point of view of a creative but it applies to anyone that invents, creates and produces something. So why unattachment? Where does that come from and how does it apply to what I do today?

The question is not to reflect on what I do today but what sustainability looks like and we’re not there yet.

Looking back we can see that we come from a time when information was power. This power facilitated the means to our attachments, to things. It gave control. Control of people, intellectual property, and material things.

Through this control we also limited ourselves. We created the haves and have-nots with their underlying consequences at the emotional, physical and material level. All this due to the material measures we use to tell us where each individual stands, who has the most “toys” therefore being higher in the scale or those who as a result are not so endowed and are doomed to suffer from that position.

Imagine this. Imagine that there is a way to provide for the needs of everyone. That everyone is the solution. That anyone can contribute to all. First of all, we need to understand what needs really are. If what Maslow said holds true and we can provide for the basic human needs to reach self-actualization, or what I call enlightenment, creating the space to germinate the desire and ability to give back, then our understanding of ‘needs’ becomes clearer.

Having satisfied needs then takes us to a place where we can create freely. If we put that innovation at the center of our collective table as a contribution to the ‘all’, and someone else pitches in their creation as well, and this repeats itself until perhaps a ‘non-creative’ realizes that if she takes A and B she can improve a process, then bingo! We have a new invention and this invention may benefit a good number of those sitting at the wholistic and collective table. That invention will then fit in in many different ways among the other creative elements on the table and it is up to the collective group to tinker and improve having access to all the elements and those not yet created or on the table. This is an ongoing evolution towards sustainable improvement. A way to benefit the most and in the best way possible with the least impact.

This can only be done without attachments. If we are able to consider being beyond the attachment hooks then we can evolve exponentially faster.

Why would unattachment not work for you?

Spring Studio Open House 2012

We paint and sketch. We create. Now comes the time for us to share.

Invite Spring 2012

Invite Spring 2012

The Guiton St. Artists (I am one of them) will hold its Spring Studio Open House on Saturday, May 19, 2012.

The new pieces I will be displaying are drawings created over the last six months. I will have conté and charcoal on paper, most of them 24×18 inches and unframed so save the cost of presentation and take home an emotive nude or clothed figure drawing. Several paintings will be on display as well.

Visit the studio and my artist neighbors too. Enjoy a selection of impressionist, representational and abstract works in all. Nibbles and wine included.

Saturday, May 19, 2012
2:00 to 8:00 pm

Guiton St. Artists
West Loop Building
4848 Guiton Street, Studio 222A
Houston, Texas 77027

(Guiton is off Richmond, just inside the loop, behind NTB Tire and Hanson Brick.). Look for Enterprise, Hertz, and Bayou City Seafood.

Cast Out But Not Gone

I participated in a beach clean-up a week ago. It was pretty amazing. The location was out in the Bolivar area of the Texas Gulf, just west of the jetty.

What was amazing is what I found or I should clarify, what I didn’t find. I found no glass (more on that later). I did not find paper, and there were almost no cans. What was abundant was all type of plastics.

Plastic caps were the top culprit. Next I would say were a variety of plastic items in general like bottles, ropes, nets, bags, shoes, forks, packaging, and some medical supplies. Some ball point pens, cups, and other food containers too. There was even a plastic toilet of some sort, probably from a boat.

The sargasso had more things buried in it but we managed to clean up the place quite nicely. Someone in the group found a pelican with an injured wing roaming around waiting for someone to capture it and take it in, the reason why it was now considered one of the locals since no brave soul dared to try. Maybe that’s why there were several large dead fish carcasses there too.

I later moved over to the jetty. Several fishermen and women were casting their lines sitting in folding chairs or standing and enjoying the breeze and sunshine. I found an old fishing rod among the sargasso and was using it to fish things out from among the granite stones.  This is where all the bottles were. Beer bottles I should say. They were on the east side of the jetty. There were a few aluminum cans as well. An old sneaker and some junk food wrappers but mostly the bottles were the number one culprit here.

Where would all the bags of collected trash going to go next? Would they go live the rest of their days in a dump or at a recycling facility? It seemed to me that it was like a game of Chinese checkers. The items are moved from here (manufacturer, store, user) to there (home, trash, dump–legal or illegal) but they don’t really go away. The lack of accountability for the things we create and dump is certainly there.

What if the value of these items were greater? What if the raw material were scarcer or the cost to produce the item was so high that we would receive the return of a deposit for delivering back the empty or used item? Then many of these trash items we found at the beach would not just be cast out so easily to let the ocean take them away.

So this trash is not really gone. The question is how will we better deal with these wasted resources to avoid wasting energy and material to create disposable (but not biodegradable) products that don’t go away, really.


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    © Lilibeth André and Art by Lilibeth André, 2009-2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this text, images or content without express and written permission Lilibeth André is strictly prohibited. For permission to license, exhibit or purchase any of the artwork, email Links to this site may be made with full and clear accreditation to Lilibeth André and Art by Lilibeth André.