Why We Need to Exercise Responsible Parenting In Our Creative Process

At the easel, painting a live portrait, First Saturday Arts Market a few years ago.

At the easel, painting a live portrait, First Saturday Arts Market a few years ago.

Responsible parenting is the magical ability to teach and impart self-managing skills to our children in a gradual and masterful way that fits their learning abilities and level of maturity. You will note that my definition does not assume anyone is an expert as there is a degree of immeasurable wiggle-room and ongoing opportunity for improvement. Perhaps that is why they say you become more of a master with grand-parenting.

If grand-parenting gives us room for improvement because we can stand back and look at our “creation” and learn from our mistakes then perhaps we can use this example in the practice of our creative works as well.

So how do we impart self-managing skills to our creations?

A key element that I find missing from many creative processes when it comes to the production phase is the consideration of what it takes to power your production, maintain it, and the plan for its obsolescence or posterity. In other words, the consideration of its full life cycle.

When we consider the full life cycle of a product we are giving it life skills for self-management. We are making a sustainable product.

What is a sustainable product? This definition is like the one for “organic” products. What is truly organic and what is acceptably “organic”. It depends on who is measuring. Our job is to consider every aspect of the product from its reason for being to its design, use, and end of life. Is the product necessary? What purpose will it serve? Does it enrich, communicate, serve? Is it unique, is it an improvement, is it a copy of something else?

Mitch model

Mitch posing for his Character Sketch at the First Saturday Arts Market.

Over the last few decades, we are again paying more attention to the aesthetics of a product but we are forgetting about its production and operation. We need to maintain the balance of quality control in all aspect of the creation’s life-cycle. Just as we look for the optimum design, the right raw material, the most effective and efficient production process to deliver maximum operation capacity, we also need to consider how it will be maintained and how it will ride off into the sunset…because if we don’t, then someone else will have to pick up the slack of our lack of planning and incur costs that we ultimately should be accountable for as master creators. Ineffective design fails to consider these elements in the rush to get the product out to market before its time.

One of the key elements today when it comes to sustainability of a functional product is how it will be powered. If this is an after thought then we will be incurring potential retrofitting costs to the owner when finding the most effective, efficient, and environmentally responsible source of energy. Operation, maintenance and planned obsolescence are critical to sustainable design.

So when considering birthing your next purposeful design, be mindful of what will go into it, how it will go into it, how it will operate, how it will be powered, how it will be maintained, how it will seize to exist, and how it will reintegrate as raw material for other creations.

Now if we could only write the ultimate parenting guide with that!

Reminiscing About NOLA

The French Quarter collection includes these seven 16x12 oil paintings on canvas board, and the 8x6 balcony piece, all currently available at the artist's studio.

The French Quarter collection includes these seven 16×12 oil paintings on canvas board, and the 8×6 balcony piece, all currently available at the artist’s studio.

In the years after Katrina I was able to finally make it to New Orleans for the first time. I stayed in the French Quarter and it was delightful and at the same time it felt so familiar. I realized the familiarity came from the architecture. You see, the French Quarter was originally French but after the great fires of 1788 (damaging 78% of the buildings) and 1794, as well as the hurricanes and storms of the 1800’s, damage was replaced by architecture with more of a Spanish influence.

My hometown of Cuernavaca in Mexico was first part of the Aztec empire but then it housed Hernan Cortes, Spanish conquistador, and Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico so the urban design and architecture is clearly a mix of Spanish and French influence. This influence is what I recognized while strolling down the streets of the French Quarter. I may not have been the first Mexican to notice the resemblance. Perhaps Benito Juarez, one of Mexico’s former presidents also saw the similarities while living in New Orleans.

Each 16x12 original oil painting is framed in 2.5 (approx) inch solid wood frames with silver finish.

Each 16×12 original oil painting is framed in 2.5 (approx) inch solid wood frames with silver finish.

During my visits I enjoyed walking down the cobblestone streets and sidewalks of St. Peter Street, Decatur, Royal Street, and into the store front shops built into the old homes. Homes with interior courtyards and many rooms. Balconies decorated with wrought iron works and blooming plants adding color to a colorful quarter of the city. What stories can be found waiting to be discovered!

The lush Jackson Square on the wide banks of the Mississippi River, frames the St. Louis Cathedral, one of the oldest cathedrals in the country. The triple steeple building is glazed by the sun’s warm tones reflecting light on its walls.

There is also the pirate lore that of Jean Lafitte left behind. One can almost hear the echos of footsteps and brawny laughter while walking down the cobblestones of Pirates Alley.

So inspired by the vibrancy of the historic square, I set out on several mornings, with easel and paint box in tow, to capture the quiet streets of the French Quarter. Propping my easel as close as I could to the buildings on Royal Street, between the palm reader, the antique shop, and the old heavy wooden gate that saw many carriages ride through it, I started to paint. The same for other soon to become familiar streets. Each one an opportunity to capture the colors of of the French Quarter. I enjoyed the still hours of the day with only a few passers-by on their way to work, by foot or by bike, showing vague signs of life in the still dormant village. And in the heat of the day, I would find a quiet bench in a shady courtyard to rest and enjoy the sights and sounds of NOLA.

The French Quarter collection is also available in authorized reproductions of wall art, home decor, lifestyle pieces, phone cases and greeting cards. For information on the original oil paintings, please contact me.

Throw Splashes of Art in Your Home

Are you looking to add a little snazzy bit of art into your home? Try my new art throw pillow collection.

Besides collecting my original artwork that includes oils, acrylics, watercolors, and color pencil pieces, you can also add reproductions on paper, canvas, acrylic and metal sheets, as well as in greeting cards. Earlier this year I added select merchandise to these offerings. They include phone cases and now, art throw pillows.

With the art throw pillow collection you can display art in a whole new way and add a dramatic look in almost every room.

I began my professional career in Mexico City working my way through school and while I was studying architectural design and art I worked alongside architects and designers that allowed me to create exciting developments, commercial, and residential projects. The art throw pillow collection channels that old me and allows me to share the excitement of giving you the opportunity to add art, color and design into your home.

From The Lady of The Turquoise Pendant Collection, art throw pillows by Lilibeth Andre

From The Lady of The Turquoise Pendant Collection, art throw pillows by Lilibeth Andre

I have to tell you I’m personally having a lot of fun with this collection. There are various ways of displaying the artwork by how you place your pillows at home. There are also various ways you can set up the artwork on your pillow as well. You can choose from the various collections but what I find best is the following:

Go to the merchandise page and choose the gallery (see the tabs) that best fits your intent. What kind of mood do you want to project? What color(s) do you want to drive your look?

From the New Orleans French Quarter Collection, art throw pillos by Lilibeth Andre

From the New Orleans French Quarter Collection, art throw pillos by Lilibeth Andre

Next, choose the painting you like. Select the pillow option. You can scan the pillows in that collection (just click NEXT) to see which would be the most appealing to you and your intent. Do you know where and how you would want to display the pillows? Do you want a collection or a single accent pillow?

You can choose the pillows as they are displayed (they come in various square sizes with an option for a rectangular pillow too). You can also drag the image to center the image just the way you like it. This gives you the chance to add more drama with design. You can focus on the geometry of the painting for instance to add greater effect.

From the Tuscan Series, art throw pillows by Lilibeth Andre

From the Tuscan Collection, art throw pillows by Lilibeth Andre

Image size lets you scale the image on your pillow. You can reduce the scale and add more art into the image or increase the scale and only focus on specific details. Consider the background color. You can add a white or black background which can come into play when you reduce the scale of the image to a degree where part of the plain fabric would be showing. This can hep you add a contemporary look too.

With all these options, you can create your own look as you throw splashes of art in your own home. ENJOY!


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 info@lilibethandre.com. Links to this site may be made with full and clear accreditation to Lilibeth André and Art by Lilibeth André.