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Monday, December 29, 2008

JANUARY 8th, 2009!

Yes, people don't forget to mark your calendars for the event of 2009. The rest of the year will pale in comparison. It is coming up fast and I should know because not all the work is in their frames. Did I mentioned how much I hate cutting glass, cleaning glass, cutting mat boards and everything framing? Oh well, I guess it is a necessary evil.

Now don't let your hangovers from New Year's Eve cause you to miss Thursday, January 8th at ArtsWest at 4711 California Avenue S.W. in West Seattle.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

"How to Make Tortillas" Show Catalogue Available on Blurb

By C. Martinez-Luna

Annie Dog

Here is the last paw print for the holiday. Annie Dog proved to be the most difficult paw print to date in that I tried to do something new and tried to do too much. Here are the three versions that Annie Dog went through and as you can see version 3, in my opinion, turned out best.

Version 1 I was trying to capture the sunlight that shown brightly on Annie Dog in the photo. Lesson 1: light reflections do not translate well to block prints. Annie Dog, being a Black Lab, doesn't have a lot of color variation in her coat. My idea was to print her all in black and then print white and dark yellow over. Mimicing the light reflection on her coat. While this can work it doesn't work if you print the top color too heavy or too much. The dark yellow didn't look like light reflection next to the white that was also suppose to be light reflection. In version 2 I left that part out.
Version 2: Multiple color backgrounds can be too distracting. The beautiful yellow light that was in the picture did not translate over as the background. The plaid background that I wanted to create came off as too muddy and became more of a distraction from Annie Dog. Which brings me to version 3. I left out the bright yellow in the background, the dark yellow on Annie Dog's coat and made the white light reflection subtle. I found this version the most successful.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas Paw Prints

Here are two newly completed paw prints. I have one more to go for Christmas delivery. Yippee!

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Month Away!

The show at ArtsWest is only a month away. I realized I am a bit behind in having things framed. Oops! In the meantime, here is the write up from the ArtsWest website.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Work?

Here are some new pieces. These are two different ideas put together somewhat randomly and for the sake of recycling. What do you think?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My first block print

Okay so this probably isn't the first block print I ever made. I'm sure I had fun with potato prints in my formative years. This is the first carved linoleum block print and really the first "paw print" I made. I believe this is from my freshman year in high school so 13 or 14 years old. I recently found the block in my mother's house and reprinted it this week.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

El Gato

I have sent off all the materials that ArtsWest requested for the January show! All that is left is to build frames.

Since that is pretty much behind me I have to go on to other things. I recently donated a 4 x 6, two color paw print to the Arthritis Foundation for auction. Well, Tuxie the Cat was the winning bid. Thank you Tuxie!

I recently read on a few art blogs how an artist finally refused to donate artwork to charity. The reason being is that an artist pays for materials and puts in a time to create but cannot write off on their taxes the worth of the piece or what it sold at auction for. I've always donated when asked as it is a great way for people to see your work and for a good cause. I don't get asked often so it isn't a big deal for me. However, for other well known artists, I can understand the reasoning. But in my reading I came across a brilliant idea. An artist cannot take the tax write off of donated art but a person who donates art they have purchased can. Companies, especially large coffee corporations, could purchased local art and hang it in their coffee houses for a year, then they could donate it to various charities for auction and get the tax write off. Everybody wins.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blogging Woes

This is how I feel. Thank you, Savage Chickens!
And after reading art blogs all day yesterday it is even worse.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Ronnie Whipple

This has been a hard week. A primo of mine passed away in a very tragic accident. Ronnie Whipple was only 28 years old, way too young to go. It has been a year or so since I last saw my cousin but his infectious smile is imbedded in my heart and mind.

I was so proud when his sister Linda contacted me to ask if I would do his portrait for their parents. I figured this would be hard on them but I hope it could help mend their wound. My love and thoughts go out to the Whipple and Luna families.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sneak Preview

I have decided not to post any of the new work. Maybe it will encourage people to go to the gallery to view it and maybe they will come to the opening and say hello. However, while I was assembling one of the new pieces I was struck by how cool it looked. It will never look this way again so I had to photograph it. Also seeing it here you will be in on a little secret that no one else in the gallery will know. Of course you will not know what the secret is until you come to the gallery. Funny how that works.

Any way, would love to have some feedback.

Monday, September 15, 2008


The upcoming show at ArtsWest has been posted on their website. The whole 2008-2009 series of gallery showings are posted and I believe I am listed fourth down on the list:

La Raza: Janet Geib Pretti, Terra Fine, Christopher Martinez-Luna
Jan. 4 - Jan. 31

Now I am going to google these other fine artists to see who I will be showing with.

The opening is scheduled for Thursday, January the 8th.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Thursday, August 21, 2008

From The Mexican to Another Mexican

I try and read "Ask the Mexican" on a weekly basis and well a month ago or so he had a contest to argue which is better flour or corn tortillas in 25 words or less. I thought, wow we must be on the same wavelength about tortillas. Of course, if you are an Hombre you are either thinking of women or tortillas or both. Well, I entered the ending sentence of my book which I posted not too long ago and I WON!!!! It turns out though it wasn't the excerpt from the book that won. I ended my letter to The Mexican with...well you'll see. Here are the winners.

And here was my notification form The Mexican himself...

Dear winner: Congrats on your entry for my Tortilla essay contest! Thought
I forgot about you, eh? Like any good Mexican, I delayed on getting in
contact with ustedes until maƱana, but here I am! Por favor send me your address
so I can mail you an autographed copy of my book. Gracias again for your entry and
reading me, and por favor spread the gospel of the Mexican like my cousins are
currently spreading across Missouri!

The Mexican

PS--some of you already sent me
your addresses--send them again. Andale,andale!

Gracias Mexican!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

FenceD: A New Story

I failed. I failed to post once a week but I hopefully have a good excuse. I have been working on a new series of drawings called FenceD: A New Story. The series was to be a comment on immigration. I suppose it still is just not a very resolved one. The image metaphors need more work. These drawings turned into work that is more about trying to figure out how different materials work together. For instance, frisket doesn't work well on watercolor paper at least not the crap paper I was using up.

Four of the drawings are watercolors with a printing on top and the other four are acrylic with dry pigment and graphic. Again, they also have a printing on top. The other notion I've been playing with is negative space. If you go back to one of my first posts you will find four watercolors that deal with negative space as well. I really like the idea of something being said with negative space.

Fences open the flood gates with metaphors so this isn't a dead idea. I may go back to it after the show in January, the paw print orders I have for Christmas and a commission I have neglected, sorry Suzanne. For now I will let Robert Frost put it perspective...

"Before I built a wall I'd ask to know what I was walling in or walling out, And
to whom I was like to give offence."
Or should it be "A Fence".

Thursday, July 31, 2008


As I think about what to write it has occurred to me I haven't made much progress. I have had my good friend Ryan scan my slides and tweak the quality but have yet to start laying out the book. Along, with the series of five large scale drawings are approximately 60 small mono prints that I call "Tortilla Prints". Por Que? Porque they are made with a small aluminum tortilla press used to make tortillas. Most of these are sold but I did take slides of them and there are still some great ones left. My next step is to weed through them and make a selection to add to the book.

And in the back of my mind is the notion of making two or three new works to add to the series and most likely more Tortilla Prints. It will be interesting to see how these new works differ from the original series.

Progress is slow but..."the reward is in the doing of it."

Thursday, July 24, 2008


This is the final (or the first) of the original five drawings from the series, "How to Make Tortillas". It is a portrait of my Mother as a young woman.

I have to send a huge thank you to Ryan up in Bellingham. He has taken my slides, scanned them in and corrected the tilt, the glare and everything else that was wrong with them. He is a genius, a good friend and once he gets his photography website up I'll set up a link.

Now I have to get serious about the additional drawings I want to do for this series as well as the book. That is after a send a couple more slides to Ryan.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


I don't have the last two paintings of the original series professionally photographed. I also didn't want to miss my blog posting this week. So I took a quick photo last night. It did not turn out well but...
I have been thinking about two or three more works to add to the series and really haven't come up with anything solid. My only thoughts so far are maybe more portraits of my mother as a child. Also, making the work more three dimensional. I'm a bit unsure...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


The series, "How to Make Tortillas", is about my mother. A woman who left her husband in May of 1974 when I was two months old and took it upon herself to raise and provide for her three boys. My mother is the second eldest of 19 children in a Mexican family so raising children and working at the same time was not a new concept for her. As a child every penny my mother made was given to the family. For the next 34 years everything she earned and did was to provide for her family.

I wrote a book to accompany the work that include three short story's about my mother and I and our relationship with tortillas. Tortillas were my favorite things growing up and to me provided a sense of connection with being Mexican. The books were all hand made with corn husk bindings. I am hoping to scan in the work at a high resolution and reprint the book professionally. So far my dealing with my scanner have not been favorable. However, I'm sure I can find a reasonable solution, if not my scanner than there is a professional I can pay to do the work.

In the meantime, here is the preface to my book...enjoy.

When people ask, “what do I choose to call myself Mexican, Mexican-American, Hispanic or Latino?” I always like to say, “Chicano!” Immediately after my reply I always get the follow up questions, “Why Chicano?”, “What is a Chicano?”, “What’s the difference?” Instead of diving into a lengthy discourse of what it means to be Chicano, I like to simply put in the following terms…

The difference between Mexican, Mexican-American and a Chicano is in the making of tortillas. A Mexican will use lard, a Mexican-American will use vegetable oil and a Chicano uses Crisco.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


I received my official letter from ArtsWest. My show is tentatively scheduled between January 4th through the 31st. I guess I better get started on any new work I want to display but first to make a calendar of all my deadlines. Remember to tune in every week to check my progress.

I haven't blogged much but I recently moved into a new studio. It is a wonderfully large space and since then I have more projects than I can handle which is good. I need to get to work. I am scheduling an open studio for August 23rd to showcase a new series of drawings, "Fenced: A New Story". Be on the look out for postings of this work. Other projects that I have been toying with for quite some time are a line of greeting cards showcasing my wonderful pooch, Pugnacious D.O.G. and a children's book. Also, the Paw Prints of Seattle is still up and running. I'm hoping that the Pugnacious Cards create some sniffing around the Paw Prints site since I have no money for advertising.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Una Vez A Una Semana

After some prodding from a friend, I've decided to force myself and post once a week. Hmmmm...but what to post? Well, what is going on in my life as an artist? I have a show coming up at ArtsWest. I will post about the show once a week until it is up!

The coordinator from ArtsWest, Nicole DeMent, visited my studio last week and showed great interest in my work. I submitted to them work from my show in San Francisco called, "How to Make Tortillas". She really liked the texture but from perusing my catalogue of work she had a greater interest in work that had a three dimensional aspect. A good deal of the work has this component to it but this series did not due to the fact it had to be shipped to San Francisco. The series also contained five larger scale works with sixty smaller scale prints (6" x 6.5"). I have decided to add to the series (2-3 pieces) that fall in between.
The exhibit will either be in November or January-February. It has yet to be decided.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


One of my favorite people in this world, found a nice place in her heart and home to hang this piece from a couple years back. So I say Adios to it. It is a nice piece. I am especially proud of the framing. However, I owe her a few new light bulbs. Thank you, MM!

Friday, March 21, 2008


This drawing of my father-in-law is actually a couple of years old. I found it recenlty while I was cleaning files on my computer.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Valentine for All.

I used to make Valentine's every year for my friends and family and since I got married...well only my wife has been the recipient. Actually, it was most likely laziness. Not this year! Here is this years Valentine and if you didn't get one my apologies. Leave me a note and I send you one.

More Block Prints

Here are some more block prints. These come from my wedding in 2006.

Block Prints

I have been making block prints since 1988. I haven't done one in awhile and about a year ago I rediscovered my love for them. Since then I started the Paw Prints of Seattle website where I make prints of your pets. The block printing process is about to leak into my regular art making process. So keep on the look out.