What Is An Artist

Art created by Lilibeth André, Photo by Thu-Hang Do

Art created by Lilibeth André, Photo by Thu-Hang Do

As The Batignolles Group used to meet at the Cafe Guerbois to discuss art, politics, and life, I have the pleasure of having impromptu discussions with my resident artist and musician son. A gem we managed to polish was the definition of an artist.

The discussion began with politics as is typically the case. We moved on to discuss that innate need the artist has to be artistic and expressive to be fulfilled. This discussion is what led me to further polish my concept of what an artist is.

The way I see it, an artist is made up of two key parts.

First of all, he is a master craftsman. It is someone who has invested many hours, funds, and effort to learn, practice and master a craft. As a master craftsman he is an expert in a language. This can be the language of writing, painting, music, dancing or a number of languages that require discipline in order to achieve oneness with the language. It becomes second nature to the master.

Tall boot shopping

Lilibeth André seeing with a different lens.

The second part is to be an innovator. This is someone who produces creative thought. An inventor, someone who sees beyond what is today. He sees through a different lens and typically questions methods and processes. He is something of a big picture, far-sighted individual that can cut down to minuscule components at the blink of an eye.

So what is an artist?

An artist is one who has the ability to perceive new thought and emotion, and expresses it through a sensorial language that interprets to the rest of the world something that had not been seen, felt, heard or thought of before. An artist is a receptor and a transmitter, and as such, must do what is in his nature in order to find fulfillment and happiness.

What can we do as a society?

Support the arts, the individuals that expand and enrich our understanding of thought and the senses. It is through art that we re-humanize our understanding and live a more complete life.


My writings are defined by the old gender terminology of man to encompass both males and females unless I am specifically referring to a male or female individual.

What Goes Around…

Last month I had the pleasure of interviewing my friend Layne Johnson. Well, now it was my turn to respond to his questions, questions that made me stop to think about what it is I do.

Q: Have you ever had an “Aha” moment whilst working on a piece of art and if so please describe it and how it changed you.

Lilibeth Andre, Twin Sisters Morning, oil, 12x16

Lilibeth Andre, Twin Sisters, oil, 12×16

If painting were easy I probably wouldn’t be doing it. I am always trying to achieve a better piece. The aha moments are those when the pursuit materializes for me. My very first aha moment was when I discovered how to make “skin color” in my first portrait class. I showed up having painted still lifes and landscapes and everyone just jumped right into painting their portrait while I just stood there realizing I had never mixed skin color before. Luckily my instructor began to demystify color mixing and I began to learn through observation and practice, and various instructors. As I’ve moved along developing my skills  I set personal goals of mastery for myself. I wanted to understand composition. Luckily, my technical training as an architectural designer helped with that. I then wanted to understand color and today I feel comfortable with the way I use color. One of my friends has said I am the lady that isn’t afraid of red.

A few years later I began to pursue a certain texture to my impressionism. Lo and behold one day I achieved texture I felt proud of while painting a floral in a class and the aha moment came when in hindsight I began to realize what it took to do that. Of course, mastery is a different thing than happenstance achievement so I continued to pursue my goal to make it a regular occurrence. I enjoy working on these self-imposed challenges. It keeps me limber and striving to hit more home runs as many times as possible. Aha moments give me confidence and that confidence allows me to express myself more freely. By mastering my work tools and technique, the movement becomes second  nature and I can more readily produce what I’ve created in my mind.

Q. What challenges do you currently pursue to make your paintings “a cut above”?

GB Heron

Lilibeth Andre, GB Heron, colored pencil, 9×12

I pursue the ongoing evolution and perfectionism of my own style. I see it as a continuous process of constant growth. Each new project is an opportunity to conquer new horizons. I believe I am not there yet as the challenge is constant and the reward is a growing amount of happy outcomes.  I also like to use classical and quality materials. My father always taught us that cheap is expensive. In other words, he taught us the appreciation of quality in material and craftsmanship. That is why I am of the belief that a quality item is a better item because it is well made and it will stand the test of time. I don’t paint to compete against anyone’s work. I paint to evolve and elevate my own efforts. In my artwork I strive to communicate and capture the essence of the subject. This includes the emotion I perceive in the subject itself. On occasion I have wondered what the purpose of my work really is. I ask myself how it is that my work serves humanity. Does it feed the hungry? Does it save anyone? The answer has come in my most personally awe-inspiring and proudest moments when the viewer perceives the particular essence or emotions that, unbeknownst to them, I wanted to capture in the piece. This is when my heart pitter patters and I feel rejoiceful. I appreciate that I am able to use a language that conveys this offering to another human being in the hope that I have enriched their spirit.

Q. What is your worst experience whilst painting a piece of art?

Dawn by the pond

Lilibeth André, Dawn by the Pond, oil, 16×20

I paint places I’ve visited or imagined. I paint portraits from live sittings as practice for times when I may not have the sitter in front of me. I prefer to use my own reference photos and sketches. When designing a composition I begin to see the image in my mind and I do a preliminary sketch, many times directly on the canvas. Typically everything flows smoothly but there is a phase when I am not happy with the piece and finishing seems like an insurmountable feat. Under ideal conditions this doesn’t even occur, everything just flows right out from mind to hand and it all falls into place but on some occasions, I may feel I will never be able to save the piece no matter how much more time I put into it. In these cases I may just scrape it off and start over. This has been excellent advice I received from one of my instructors and I put it into practice when things are not flowing as I see them. A case in point was a figure painting I was working on. I started the piece with the model posing for me. I was going to try to capture as much as I could and hopefully reach a point where I could detail from a reference photo after the model left. Although not a portrait, I wanted to give the figure a good likeness to highlight the model’s features. After the model left I began to work the background to surround the figure I had been working on. The first sign of trouble was when I began to feel unhappy with the background perspective. I went back and forth working and correcting the background and detailing the model’s garments. Then I began to feel unhappy with the color. Finally, I was totally unhappy with the likeness of the model and no matter how much I worked on the painting it just seemed to go downhill from there. I struggled with it until I completed the piece but I never signed it because I consider it unfinished. I keep it as a lesson and as a reminder to scrape the piece and started over instead of building on a weak foundation.

Q: Where do you see artwork being sold with the most success in the future?

Farm Road 605

Lilibeth André, Farm Road 605, Oil

To me there are creators and producers. There are also craftsmen. Creators and producers would be those who invent something totally unique. From the composition to the method to the final product. Craftsmen are those who take an existing “something” and modify it in some way to make a new object. They may or may not be masters of their craft. This I see as the key to invention and innovation. When someone has the mindset to produce something that has not been engineered before, that is true mastery of innovation, new thoughts and their materialization.  I see innovation as being key to the future, not just in art but in our progress and sustainability as a human species. Our appreciation for art, design, and creative expression is key to developing our senses and sensibilities but these can only be enhanced through education. Why is development of our senses and sensibilities important? Because it triggers new and innovative thought. By building on the shoulders of giants through education, we can take the cumulative learning of generations and go beyond.

I see that we will continue to be interested in art because people will appreciate it, perhaps for various reasons, aesthetically, economically, and emotionally but art may be delivered in new and innovative ways. These methods of delivery will determine where we acquire our art. Currently, we buy original art or reproductions from physical venues (permanent or temporary) and online. This opening of the market has broadened access to many artists but I still see the majority of people buying from seeing the piece in person. This is especially true with high dollar items. Many times, it is what makes the sale. If 2D or 3D art can become portable then I see we may be considering new ways of delivering art to buyers and collectors.

For now, I believe people will become more comfortable with virtual purchases of art, particularly for collectors who are already familiar with the work of their favorite artists. I also hope that art continues to be found in more and more areas of our life because it will denote our appreciation for feeding human creativity and that is the key to our future.


A Studio Visit

Welcome to my studio!

Welcome to my studio!

Here is an opportunity to visit my studio online. The fall open studio and art sale event came to a conclusion on Saturday night but you now have an opportunity to preview the artwork in my main room via your screen so welcome to my studio!

For this open studio I unveiled the new Big Bend paintings in my Landscape series. Like most of my landscapes, these scenes are inspired from my trip to the park. I use my memory, my sketches and my own photo references to help me capture the image I see. What I paint onto the canvas is the feeling I had when I first saw that particular scene and it captured my eye.

The scenes are of spring in the desert. There had been rain a few weeks prior. Vegetation was present and flowers were still in bloom. Even with cool mornings and nights, by noon, the trails were hot. The undulating narrow paths presented, to my eyes, great vistas at each turn. The sun beat down as I stepped through the dirt trail. Suddenly, I heard a rattling sound I knew in an instant to be a rattle snake. I lunged and stepped as lightly and quickly as I possibly could. From a safe distance I realized it was coiled under a bush only a few inches away from where my hiking boot had been. It was just as afraid of me as I had been of it.

Studio view 2

Studio view 2. Yuccas and salt water marshes.

One of the first scenes that caught my eye was that of the blooming yuccas. In “Yucca Formation“, oil on canvas (sold), I represent the beautiful dessert sky and the rich red dirt to frame a grouping of yuccas.

In this showing I included “Marshes I & II”, oil on canvas. This diptych painted in 2008 allows me to show how my work has evolved to 2015. “Marshes” feature the salt water marshes on the way to Galveston, Texas.

Rio Grand Crossing at Big Bend“, oil on canvas, is an exciting view from the U.S. side of Big Bend Park to the southwest. The sandy bank below is Mexico, across from the aqua colored river, much smaller than I imagined it would be but jewel-like and inviting.

Two painterly windows to Big Bend views.

Two painterly windows to Big Bend views.

The colors of the desert in spring are present in “Mule Ears at Big Bend“, oil on canvas. Blooming prickly pear cactus welcomes us on the path to an amazing vista in the distance. The morning sun rising on the east, not yet in its mid-day prime, reminds us of summer days ahead.

The desert is pristine and though it may appear desolate, one need only spend some quiet minutes in one spot to find life and hues that paint a palette of pastels.

Even the road presents exciting formations and mountain ridges. Mountains are landmarks not found in Houston so the excitement of finding new mountain vistas helps identify the new geography as in “North Out of Alpine-Mitre Peak, Barrillos Dome, Henderson Mesa“, oil on canvas, is just that, a landmark that welcomes the locals home with its familiar silhouette.

Portraits and desert landmarks.

Portraits and desert landmarks.

In this show I included my two most recent portrait paintings. “Portrait with Goatee”, and “Portrait with Red Scarf” present examples of my work, along with the landscapes, exclusively done with palette knife and using water-soluble oils without the use of solvents.

I hope you enjoyed the brief online tour of my studio and hope that you can visit in person sometime soon. You can find out more about my work at my website.




2015 Woman of the Year – Woman Artist

Sucesos Newspaper and Solo Mujeres Magazine is pleased to present their 2015 Woman of the Year award to women for their success, dedication, professionalism, commitment and
leadership. These women have been selected in different categories in the framework of the International Day of Women during the Eight Annual Luncheon “Tribute to Hispanic Women”.

Sonia Clayton
President & CEO Virtual Intelligence Providers LLC

Monica Vacca
(The Houston Real Estate Group)
Rocio Jasso
(ABC Professional Tree Services)
Cinthya Miranda
(Alpha Academy)

Luz Damaris Rosario
Adriana Gonzalez
(President Camara de Empresarios)
Patricia Motta
(Interim President of HACE)

Gloria Gallegos
(Associate Superintendent for Special Programs)
Daisy Zúñiga
(Pre-K Education)

Paula Restrepo

Dorothy Ruiz
(Houston Ground Controller for NASA Johnson Space Center)

Catherine Oliveros, DrPH, MPH
(Director, Community Affairs Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas)

Lilibeth André
(Directora grupo Alquimia Cultural de Houston)
Nubia Gala
Marisela Collyns

Cynthia Cisneros
Rubidia Guzmán
Erika Galván
(Famosos Newspaper)

Doris Louis Foulk
(Founder- President of LACES)
Francis Parilla
(Centro de Mujeres de Houston)
Claudia Ortega-Hugue
(Directora Regional Texas NALEO)
Joana Mateu
(Casa El Salvador)


My Year-end Recap

Lilibeth Andre, Yellow Frida, Oil, 16x12

Lilibeth Andre, Yellow Frida, Oil, 16×12

The 2013 year began for me with wonderful opportunities to share my creativity, and the momentum continued through the fall.

I applied my new art technique and created three portraits of Frida Kahlo for the 8th Annual Frida Festival 2013, at the East End Studio Gallery.

The Guiton St. Artists celebrated our open studios with a three-day festival in April. The closing event included live music by Jimmy Dan, and new art by me and my fellow artist neighbors to share with our growing amazing followers of classical and impressionist art. We so appreciate your support.

Lilibeth Andre, Twin Sisters Morning, oil, 12x16

Lilibeth Andre, Twin Sisters Morning, oil, 12×16

In June, I rejoined my artist friend Myrna Salaun and we returned to the First Saturday Arts Market in the Heights. The Market celebrates 10 years in 2014, and Myrna and I started way back then. Mitch Cohen has been a wonderful organizer and friend.

I was proud to be included in Second Nature, an exhibition of student works, part of Darra Keeton’s retrospective, In My Nature – Art and Science, at Rice University. The exhibition ran from May to September.

Lilibeth Andre, La Coleta, oil, 16x12

Lilibeth Andre, La Coleta, oil, 16×12

Fechas Patrias: A Celebration of Mexican Independence was a solo art exhibition at Talento Bilingue de Houston, in Houston’s East End. The show compiled a progressive trajectory of works over the last eight years to candidly present my artistic evolution beginning with works in colored pencil and including my most recent pieces from the Mexico Series.

In October I held my first workshop for writers to share my publishing experience. The concept for this workshop came from the questions I received during my summer book tour as an Author in the Stores for Kroger.

In the fall we celebrated our 7th Guiton St. Artists Fall Open Studios, and my 7th Anniversary in my studio. Live music was by Jeff Taebel, Janet Z, and recordings by Filip Blachnio. Original works were by my fellow artist neighbors and myself.

The Lady of the Turquoise Pendant

The Lady of the Turquoise Pendant, by Lilibeth André

I celebrated my 7th year volunteering for Houston Via Colori with another 10×10 street painting. And although due to excruciating health circumstances I was not able to return the second day, I enjoyed the fantastic opportunity the Center for Hearing and Speech provides me as a local artist to share my work with thousands of visitors.

El Dia de la Cultura Salvadoreña offered me an opportunity to share my book as a presenter among an impressive program of Latino writers.

I was interviewed by the Latina Book Club, and I had the exciting opportunity to share The Lady of The Turquoise Pendant as a speaker for professional groups, and K-12 students sharing about the Aztecs, writing, art, and innovation.  

Tall boot shopping

Tall boot shopping

The year came to a close giving me the long-awaited opportunity to meet my goal to obtain certification as a Natural Health Professional, and completing my Naturopathic Doctor studies. I look forward to sharing this knowledge with you in the future as well.

I hope your Holidays are Merry and that you can capture your dreams in 2014.

With much appreciation, peace and love.

You can learn more about my work at www.lilibethandre.com

The Art Year In Brief

The year typically begins to evolve slowly for me. That is quite appropriate because it gives me time to be in production mode and although I prefer to paint with natural light, winter’s short days mean I have to take advantage of the day or resort to painting with artificial lighting. Of course, as an artist with a “day job”, I don’t many times have a choice if I want to be productive ‘after five’.

As I begin to cook up creations at the easel or at the drafting table (or any other surface I randomly come up with when the need arises), opportunities begin to evolve. There are some activities I plan well in advance, there are others that happen.

In 2012, the year began for me with a focus on writing. Poetry and short stories were my preferred mode of expression and though I consider them experiments of expression, I can say I have returned to the word as a mode of expression once again.

More ash-spewing activity from the volcano Popocatepetl in Mexico seemed to remind me I had a filed manuscript. I decided to bring it out for publication. Then, as I combed the manuscript in one of the many editorial reviews I decided I would illustrate the book too.

In the spring I joined the Guiton Street Artists , my studio neighbors, and we opened our studio for our annual Spring Open House. I featured a collection of figure drawings I created over the previous year.

On the verge of summer, I hosted my friend Kimberly Morris for a workshop for current writers with The Essential Workshop for Fiction Writers. It was great fun and we all called for an encore, perhaps in 2013.

My book was in progress. The Lady of the Turquoise Pendant was destined to print. My goal was to complete the artwork and the publication itself before my summer vacation. I decided the illustrations would be portraits of the principal characters in the novel. I had my work cut out for me but that’s never been a deterrent. I focused and got to work.

I left for vacation with full peace of mind. I had a hard cover and a paperback version of the book in my hand and off I went to Europe for the first time! A fitting reward to my hard work.

I returned to an awesome invitation to participate in the Pearl Fincher Museum of Fine Art’s exhibition: My Journey, My Story/Mi Viaje, Mi Historia: Mexican Art & Culture Exhibition. I am still honored and excited to have been a part of this exciting exhibit that ran from August to December.

Raymond Chong once again tapped me to illustrate for his new book: Orchid Flower Love Poetry. The cover art is also available as reproductions.

I had my first extra-official book reading at Talento Bilingue de Houston. I participated in the Grupo Literario Cervantes-Shakespeare’s peña literaria. To quote my friend R. Clayton McKee, “a peña is an artists’ jam-session” where the members and guests can share their creative expression. The evening included readings, singing and acting. There was also food, wine and camaraderie.

The official book unveiling took place in October. It was an exciting evening at MECA. It was a moment for me when I felt so blessed to see in the audience people from all facets of my life. It felt so right to share the moment with all these special people. I still thank them for making the evening so special.

I created my 7th street mural for Houston Via Colori. The 10 foot by 10 foot pastel piece was a portrait of one of the characters in my book giving me an opportunity to talk about the story and the Aztec culture to hundreds of people attending the festival.

The final book event for the year was at the East End Studio Gallery where I had a wonderful opportunity to read for an audience interested in the cultural background and the story. And the next day I joined them for their Bazaar as well. It was fun to see all the artists and the community come to enjoy the great fall day of art.

Samuel Murcia Carcamo asked me to illustrate the cover of his new and upcoming book: Pasion. This was my first acrylic figure painting and I enjoyed working with the medium on paper. Reproductions of Pasion , the artwork, are also available.

I appreciate all of you who have attended my events and supported my creative work in so many ways. I especially thank Casa Ramirez, Chrissie and Macario are stupendous supporters. I also thank the wonderful venues that hosted my artistic creations and the exceptional people that made those events shine.

As I wrap up the year I am painting new pieces for my existing series of work, and trying out some new things. I hope you enjoy them as I present them next year.

Happy 2013!






The Collaboration

Last year, my friend and local author Anita Higman called. She asked if I would anwers a few questions about the art world. Anita was working on her latest book, Love Finds You In Humble, Texas. Her main character is an artists and although Anita took some art classes in school, she wanted to feel comfortable with a few scenes.

I met Anita about 10 years ago. She was doing a workshop at the Houston Writers League’s annual conference. She had several of her books to use as examples as she clearly presented wonderful tips for up and coming writers. I was one of the writers in the audience and thoroughly enjoyed her sensible approach and hard earned knowledge. Today Anita is the writer of over 20 books. http://www.anitahigman.com/

When Anita told me about the book I was very excited. Not just because it was her book or because she asked me to help with my knowledge of the art world but because her story takes place right here in Humbe, Texas. (The H is silent for all you non-Houstonians).

We had a great time together catching up and having some laughs. We both went back to our work and then just after Christmas, Anita said, “The books are in!”

Anita has been generous with me. She has offered me 9 autographed copies of Love Finds You In Humble, Texas. In return, I am including these books in my upcoming Southwest Rodeo Roundup exhibition coming up on Saturday, February 28, at my Guiton Studio. I will offer a copy of Love Finds You In Humble, Texas to the first 9 purchasers of the original pieces in the show. And Anita is on the guest list.

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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.