And The Pursuit of Happiness…Are We There Yet?

We declare our independence to be free to pursue happiness and we ask ourselves, are we there yet? Can you respond to this question instantly? Do you ponder and assess? Would you know what it looks like?

In asking myself those very questions I realized that I did not know the answer and I began an unacknowledged journey in the pursuit of happiness.

I certainly wanted to be there but I wasn’t quite sure of the extent of it or what it would be like.

I thought that if I had certain things which I didn’t have, that would make me happy but those things were not always there for me to have. This caused tremendous turmoil, rebelliousness, and unhappiness. There were two options, I could force them or I could not.

Not being one to give up I became so focuses on chasing those things that I forgot to paint, sing, and dance.

A dear friend lent me his hand and said, “Look at all the things you have.” He pointed to the sun, the breeze, the leaves and the loving people at my side but I was not quite ready to be satisfied.

Right around the moment of the most extreme angst I finally listened to a colleague and joined a breathe-focused meditation workshop. Through this experience I was able to see what really mattered to me. I didn’t stop wanting but I could see what mattered most to me.

The first thing was to know there was total love and acceptance where it mattered, at the beginning, at the top! This gave me the freedom to give that to everyone else.

The journey began to matter more. I was less distracted. I could begin to see that certain things called to me. I was unadulteratedly free to explore them. They had significance and I felt the freedom to relish the learning without judgement. In doing so, I was learning to know myself more than before.

As I continue to enjoy my personal journey through life and realize that each one of us chooses our own response and disposition to the path before us, I can be free to be myself and allow others to make their own choices. Have I reached the level of perfection? Far from it but at least now I know where I need to focus: I am the work in progress.

What have I gained? This process has taught me that the destination is myself. Knowing who I am. The result is what I give back in the form of what I receive and the light I choose to shine is that of peace and love, not only as words but as a true understanding, as an authentic experience.

So today, I believe I am truly on the right path. I have been on it all along but today I am more ready to enjoy it as myself.

Economics: Reading The Tea Leaves

Reading tea leaves is sometimes easier than it sounds. In this case, the economic tea leaves were very clear to me and I wonder if they are as clear to others who are in a position to make change happen.

McKinsey tells us why top management eludes women in Latin America.  They list a myriad of reasons that sound very much like those we deal with in the U.S. We have the demands of profession and family, the fact that in many cases we prioritize family first, the lack of female role models, etc. They say that employers are just as committed to creating opportunities for women at their top level jobs as in the U.S.

Nowhere did it mention that age discrimination is a tolerated bias. That women coming into the workforce are faced with restrictions that limit openings to single, young and attractive women. That women in the workforce who have made their way up the ladder through the effort of complying with all demands and are forced to leave due to family demands can pretty much kiss their career goodbye because they are probably of an age that will not allow them back in so easily–30’s and beyond.

To me, this clearly tells me why women who have the experience and are capable of stepping into top management are not there to fill the jobs. They are basically squeezed out of the workforce the closer they get to the top and with fewer women still holding on to their jobs, and those who sacrifice their careers to handle family not likely to return, there are less likely and able candidates to consider.

The other set of tea leaves was a bit more obvious.  How has the economy impacted Americans? Top searches in one of our 50 states painted a picture that made me feel for the citizens of that state and others as well. The top searches in order of activity were:

Food Stamps
Child Support
Gun Permit
Vehicle Registration
State Jobs
Public Services
State Employees
Divorce Forms
Social Security
More Public Services
Job Bank
Tax Forms… Can you see the picture?

Artwork Spanning 8 Years

Talento Bilingue de Houston hosts “Fechas Patrias: A Celebration of Mexican Independence“, an exhibition of my artwork that includes 25 paintings and 8 illustrations. These pieces cover an 8-year span of artistic development. From the piece “El Chal”, completed in 2006, to the three Frida portraits completed in 2013, these works present a visual testimony of artistic evolution.

Invitation: September 13, 2013

Invitation: September 13, 2013

In the mid 2000’s, I was moved to create scenes from my cultural roots. I began exploring representational Mexican themes. The collection of paintings in this exhibition provides a visual narrative of how ongoing artistic challenges moved me through a path of personal development at the easel.

In 2006, while still President of the Colored Pencil Society of America-Houston, I created “El Chal”. From a composition in colored pencil created from a photo reference, I created a narrative image of two vendors engrossed in gossip during market day. Building up layer after layer to reach the desired color saturation on thirsty paper, patience was the key.

Then in 2007 came the pieces representing scenes from Cuernavaca, romanticized with bright colors and my memories. Walks on the plaza, brilliant balloons, and the faux horse represent the childhood I experienced.

2008 was a year where I explored new dimensions with larger canvases, leading to works like “Artesanas”, “La Costura”, and “Pintando Artesanias”, as well as smaller works like “iyollotzin motlapana”, which represented the invented iconic surrealism of my goddess with the broken heart, and the piece “Vino de Morelos-Tierra y Libertad”, a self-portrait marking more than artistic independence.

2009 began three continuous years of portrait training with Houston artist William Kalwick, Jr. This training provided me with greater mastery of the medium and enhanced technical training as reflected in the expressive features of “Disculpe Ud. Mi General”, the drummers in “Tres Tambores”, and the dreamy look in “El Mandil”. Further advancement capturing emotive strength is reflected in “Pequeña Oaxaqueña” and “Niña de Trenza”.

In 2011, I began to prepare my manuscript for publication. I decided that the Young Adult novel “The Lady of the Turquoise Pendant” would include illustrations. This decision started the development of a collection of eight oil paintings of the principal characters to illustrate the book published in 2012. These portraits like Popoca,Topiltzin”, andCentehua took my written word coupled with research and creativity to bring these characters to the canvas.

At the close of 2012, with the first copies of my book in hand and a first trip to Europe “finally” under my belt, a new facet was introduced, the application of palette knife expression. This new technique has helped me achieve the long desired texture to further my already colorful and emotive work. I believe this technique enhances the balance between the representational and impressionist style of these new pieces combining the current and new techniques that I bring to the canvas and resulting in higher brilliance.

Lilibeth Andre, La Coleta, oil, 16x12

Lilibeth Andre, La Coleta, oil, 16×12

This new effort is present in “Esperando el Nixtamal”, the first figure piece created with this new technique; the “Yellow Frida”, the first portrait; and consecutive pieces such as “Frida Teal”, “Princess Frida”, “Dos Oaxaqueñas”, and the tender piece that reflects the inner force and peace characteristic of my images, “La Coleta”.

The evolution of each phase emphasizes the skill level and mastery of new artistic achievement giving my work a compounding effect over each prior triumph. The bar is raised to the next level of personal development in my artistic career. Then, I organically search for the next discovery.

Opening Reception: September 13, 2013, 6 to 9 pm

The exhibition runs from September 9 to November 3, 2013. A closing reception will take place on October 18.

Talento Bilingue de Houston is located at:

333. S. Jensen Dr.
Houston, Texas 77003

(713) 222-1213

To see other samples of my work visit my website.


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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.