Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Paintings, Pottery, and Pumpkins - Artists Debra Gunter, Otis Dozier, and Ford Ruthling

If you know me, then you know I can get a little tangential at times, especially if I am excited or really interested in something. One thought or idea leads to another and soon I am wondering aloud "Now why am I telling you this?" or "How did I get on that subject?"

So, here is my new painting, still unframed, propped on the mantel, and sharing it with you will lead us into art and fruit and back to Mexican pottery (which I never really finished due to extreme frustration!)

My very talented friend, Debra, is the artist. The painting has been on display, along with other fabulous pieces by Debra and a few other talented artists, at a local bakery and cafe for a while. I fell in love with it months ago and tried to resist buying it (for practical reasons, like my house is full - silly me!) but, alas, it waited for me until I just couldn't resist any longer! If you noticed details in my earlier photos, you may remember a lovely bluebonnet painting hanging over my fireplace. It came with my husband when we married (one of those package deals - he married me AND my daughter; I married him and his animal heads , furniture and HUGE stereo speakers), and while it is a fine painting, it is too predictable and traditional for me, and has been moved to the hallway leading to our bedroom.

Debra's painting is so colorful and full of that Mexican influence that I am drawn to. I love her style and palette.

This is a painting by an old Texas artist named Otis Dozier (1904-1987). He was part of a group called the "Dallas Nine". They were recognized in the 1985 exhibition entitled "Lone Star Regionalism" at the Dallas Museum of Art which payed homage to the abundant and uniquely Texan legacy that this group cultivated and sought to pass on. He has become quite collectible over the years and there is a wealth of information on him as well as the other painters. (I could do an entire post just on this group.) I bought this particular painting from his estate and am very fond of it. It may seem redundant hanging in my living room with Debra's painting, but I love that his was done in the 1970s, in his older years, and hers completed just a year or so ago, in her early years of painting. I seem to be drawn to fruit as subject matter as you will see in my other collections.

Just a glance at a bowl of vintage stone fruit(surprise, Italian, not Mexican!), old blue stone grapes, and a Mexican burnished pot from Tonala. The tin floral arrangement is also vintage Mexican.

As my girls say, "Random, Mom" , but here we go. What do you do when the creative urge hits and you are totally "losing it" with anything related to the computer and you just have to do something new in your own home, right now! (tell me I am not the only one with this disease!) I usually re-arrange furniture or start designing pillows! Last week I was in San Antonio for an art class and had a little time afterwards to wander through a few fabric stores and poke my head into a Pottery Barn.

Let me digress........(see, I told you) A few months back Joni (former sister in law, new friend and blogging queen, Cote de Texas) and I had an email conversation about my frustration with my living room. I moved into this house, threw everything together, and then ran out and bought new pillows - Thomas Paul, big, bright trendy colors - and thought they would mix in with what was already a variety of styles. I wanted to buy something from my friend who had just opened a new shop called "RED" (fabulous store - visit it at and I wanted a breath of fresh air - something different and new. The mix just never felt right, though, and I realized I have to be true to my style, regardless of what is "fresh and new". Joni provided clarity and we talked about tying colors and fabrics together in a room - basic stuff that I forget in my excitement and impulsivity sometimes.

Okay, back to the pillows. I found a great looking, inexpensive cotton/linen woven fabric is a blue and cream animal stripe. Loved it - bought a few yards. When I walked into Pottery Barn I spotted these great floral linen pillows - what do you know! they work perfectly with my new fabric. Talk about immediate gratification! No fabric to order, good looking linen that cost pennies compared to anything in a showroom...........

I got back to Fredericksburg, called one of the workrooms I use, and voila! new pillows. Did I mention the burlap end pillows from Pottery Barn that I added a strip of the blue/cream fabric on to customize the look? For today, I am very happy with the results.

Look! over there in the wing of the great pillows from "RED" that just doesn't work in my room! It is gone now, and actually the wing chair is going to be slipcovered in a blue and white ticking to get everything back on course with "my style"! (and yes, there is that bluebonnet painting, too)

Oops - there I went again. I actually took this photo to show you the Mexican fruit banks in the old carved wooden bowl on the coffee table. (Surprise, those are old Mexican tin candlesticks on the table too!) The fruit banks are from the 1920s -1940s and are from Tlaquepaque, Mexico.

These vases are some of my absolute favorites! When I was first attracted to this pottery, someone called it "Mexican majolica". I don't think that is any sort of official name, but the glaze is similar to English and French majolica, as I mentioned in a previous post. This is referred to as drip ware in the books on the subject, and is from Oaxaca. I am crazy about the applied flowers on the vases!

This is the photo of the plate rack in my breakfast room that just refused to publish the last time I discussed Mexican pottery. It is a mix of old and new pottery from different regions. I have gathered these pieces for years from all over the place. At times I have grouped my pottery by color, sometimes by style and region and sometimes by function - like all of the teapots together on a shelf or in a hutch. I thought about regrouping for this post, but decided to keep my pictures and information general at this time.

Finally, I plan to surround this original print ("Cows Have an Inner Light" / "Remembering my Grandmother - Frieda Maurer") by Ford Ruthling , 2001, of Santa Fe, N.M. with Mexican plates. I have not finished, but wanted to include the photo of my upstairs hallway, painted in bright melon and home to yet more colorful, vintage drip ware from Oaxaca, Mexico!

If you are interested in learning more about Mexican folk art or any of the artists I have featured, I am happy to refer you to great educational sources for more information. Just let me hear from you!


  1. Hi sis: oh, and Hi to Michelle Too!!!! I know you're lurking here. hehe - that would make y'all ex-wives? oh well, I digress as you would say. Gawd girl, I'm so impressed with you breadth of knowledge of all things Mexican!!! Where did you learn all that? I love those plates in your breakfast room, they're so beautiful. Oh, and I have a bowl of italian fruit too!!! great post. I'm just so disappointed that those blue pillows are custom, I was going to go buy that pillow duo too. I think PB has an animal stripe but it must be a different color. Can't wait to see the new chair slip. great post!!

  2. Love the paintings and your Mexican pottery is gorgeous. Thanks for the morning beauty.

  3. Just found you through cote de texas. I am an artist living in NC and the paintings are such fun. I love them together. I noticed you're in Fredricksburg. Do you know any of the Hicks (maiden surname) girls? They have a decorating village from what I've seen. I think one of them designs for EJVictor. I can't wait to see your chair in the competed room. Thanks for sharing.

  4. What a lovely blog and thanks for stopping in mine. Let's meet up at the Campbell some day too!

  5. to the artist in NC - yes I know Janet and Carol, and mom, Rose. Carol is the one who designs for EJ Victor. Janet is very talented, too, as is husband, Tom who did the special finish on my dining room walls. Where are you in NC? I love visiting there and a lot of the pottery and paintings that come from there! Thanks for visiting!

  6. House & Life - Thank you! Drinks at the Campbell - I'm in!!

  7. In reply to your questions.... I live in a small historic town on the coast. Pat Conroy grew up here and Nickolas Sparks lives here now. There are many artist in our community. I sell alot of work locally but my secret life is a "shelter magazine junkie". That's how I became familiar with the Hicks clan. Are you good friends? They all seem so creative.I used to teach art in our school system-way too much work! I love your site and your home.I would love to send you images of my work. Is there an email address? Thanks!

  8. NC artist - email me at

  9. Please share Debra's last name wqith us- does she sell her paintings online? I'd love to see more!

  10. Karin - I will check with Debra and get her permission to share her last name. I don't think she sells online at this time, but could in the future. Do you have a blog or website?

  11. No, no blog or website. I'm not that interesting ;) Maybe Debra shows her work at one of the galleries there? F'burg is a short drive from San Antonio. Maybe I can stop to look on our next visit.

  12. Perfect! She has her paintings hanging at Rather Sweet on Main Street. Go there for breakfast or lunch and look for hers upstairs.

    If you are interested in one, ask for her contact info - there used to be prices on them but I am not sure if there are now. Don't be shy about asking, though! She has sold several from there recently. Good luck!

  13. Loving the animal pillows. I need to add some zebra to my decor!

  14. Yes, I do know that you are tangentle at times. BUT, I should talk since I think I have you beat!!! Loved your latest posting and it is so fun since I remember our fun visit when you took me to meet Ford Ruthling in SF.
    Really like the new pillows. When you got the new ones, did you happen to take some material for a cushion for a bench??? Couldn't resist!!

  15. I love your comfortable eclectic look! I'm not sure how I've stumbled across your blog - and Cote de Texas...but I've asked her for her decorating opinion. Thanks for the inspiration! Carrie

  16. mominaledo - thank you for your kind words. Joni is the best! I am sure she can help you with your decorating. Come back to visit! Ann

  17. Just found your blog and am clicking through your great posts. I miss Texas! I love your pottery collection...perhaps I need to start one of my own!

  18. I love your style. I'm from New Jersey. Visited Santa Fe to see all the art work there not to long ago. I just recently acquired a Ford Ruthling original print of the "corn on the cob hanging basket with the birds nest inside of it with butterflies". I can't stop looking at it. So natural. I love your "Cow". I'm just starting to follow him and find him to be a fantastic artist with a tastefull sense of humor. Love your blog.....Happy New Year!



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