Tag: World

Andalusian Dancer In Cave Café At Sacro Monte" By: The GYPSY

Anatomy Of A Painting “Andalusian Dancer In Cave Café At Sacro Monte”

Acrylic On 16″ x 20 ” Gallery Stretched Canvas.


She stands on the tips of her toes

Letting the music ease her woes

Centuries rest within her line

A silken thread strong and fine

Her Gypsy blood courses true

As her dance entrances you

Rhythmic beat of tambourine

Silver coin with twinkling sheen

Turning twisting left then right

Dancing by the campfire light

Gypsy woman of ancient way

Lover at night Mother by day

The road it knows her secret name

Her Gypsy heart will never tame

This painting was my last of 2021 and my first of 2022 having started it on 12/22/2021 and finished it the afternoon of 01/01/2022.
The photo that this painting is based on comes from the National Geographic book “Gypsies Of The World”. This picture has always held a fascination for me. My family migrated from Sacro Monte, which is near Granada, Spain, to Enigen, Germany in 1543 to escape the Spanish Inquisition. My family consists of Artisans, Craftsmen, Healers, etc. and were prime targets.
Romani businesses and skills are passed from one generation to the next. I cannot help, when I look at the photo of the dancer in the café, but think that perhaps my ancestors visited the café and enjoyed a nights entertainment much as the people are doing that I have depicted in my painting.
I have taken liberties with the photograph and have added my own take on the people within the café. I have also included, in the photos on the wall, members of my family as well as the family crest. Most notable is a picture of Berta Hummel also known as Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel. She is a distant cousin of mine and the Artist who inspired the Hummel Figurines.
There are many surprises and a multitude of stories within this painting. I hope you enjoy them all.

“Art must evoke an emotion in order to be art. If it only creates indifference then it is not art, it is garbage!”

1963 Spacewalk Revisited By: The GYPSY

The Artist Life: Am I A Figment Of Your Imagination Or Am I One Of Yours


As I sit here watching the words appear upon the screen of my laptop I have to ask myself; Does life imitate art or does art imitate life?

I remember drawing a man walking in space. I carefully rendered the image with my 6 year old hand upon the Manila paper with the fat crayons. I remember getting a Dixie cup full of water and dipping my paint brush into the clear liquid. I moistened the small pat of blue paint and soaked my brush with the azure liquid. I rinsed the brush in the water turning it light blue. Dip, moisten, rinse, dip, moisten, rinse until I was satisfied with the shade of blue within the cup. I then started brushing the diluted water color across the surface of the paper; back and forth, forth and back I went until the large sheet of paper was covered. Years later I would learn that this was called a “Wash” but on that day I was just was trying something new.

Did I know that I was supposed to do this or did someone tell me how to do it? The sands of time have coated my memory and fogged my vision. What I do remember is my first grade teacher, Miss Pyle, making a big deal out of it. I remember the picture being on display in the Clay Elementary School hallway for a long time. I remember my Mother and Grandmother excitedly telling me that my picture won the number one place in the State of Kansas. I did not understand what that meant but they were excited and happy so I acted excited and happy too.

I remember a newspaper reporter with a big camera taking my photo and asking me how it felt to know that I was the number one artist in my age group in the country. I remember two years later when the same reporter asked me; “How did you know two years ago that man would walk in space?” I remember my Mother and Grandmother being so proud that my simple picture was on display in the Smithsonian Institution. I remember asking, “What’s a Smithsonian?”

My Mother once looked at me and said; “I don’t trust you, when I am old you will put me into a nursing home and leave me there to die.” I argued that I would never do that and that if she ever did need to be in a nursing home I would not abandon her and just “Leave Her To Die”. She did not believe me and said, “Your sister will take care of me, unlike you.” I told her, with as much conviction as my 15 year old mouth could muster, “Pat will not take care of you but I will.” When the time came Pat did not take care of her… I did.

How did I know Man would walk in Space? How did I know my Mom would need me one day? I have known these things and so much more about my life. I once heard it said that life is a canvas upon which an unfinished painting resides. No one knows what the next brush stroke may bring. But within my life the canvas is not unfinished; I know what the next brush stroke will be and where I will put it.

I cannot tell you why or how that I know what the painting of my life will be I just know that it is. Sometimes it weighs heavy on me, this knowing. I often feel like that Astronaut, coupled to his capsule by a thin life line as the void of space beckons. He cannot be distracted by the darkness around him; he must forever keep his eye on that silver metal life raft which floats high above the planet of his birth. Some day the space man will re-enter his capsule, secure the hatch and plummet at 185 miles per hour like a shooting star back from whence he came. But today he will not fall back to earth; today he shall live in a crayon Universe and swim in a wash of blue in manila space.


Madam Thorney: She Told Fortunes - Acrylic Painting By The GYPSY

The Artist Life: Madam Thorney: She Told Fortunes


Acrylic On 16” x 20” Gallery Stretched Canvas
“SHE TOLD FORTUNES, This English Gypsy called Madam Thorney, and she held my right hand tight. I expected her to study my open palm; instead, she searched my face.” – Bart McDowell, National Geographic Senior Editor-


So what inspired “Madam Thorney: She Told Fortunes”? That is a long story…

When I was 15 years old my mother, Shirley Elizabeth Hummel, gave me a hard cover book she had ordered from National Geographic; ‘GYPSIES WANDERERS OF THE WORLD’. “Read this”, she said as she handed it to me, “it should answer most of your questions.” I had grown up knowing we were Gypsy and as I got older I had more and more questions. My mother suffered from mental illness and my endless questions must have been taxing on her. She smiled as she handed me the book, “It will fill in the gaps after you read this.”
I was an avid reader, I still am when I can find the time to do it, so reading this marvelous hard cover edition was no problem for me. I quickly read it cover to cover. My mother was wise in giving the book to me because it answered most of my questions. As I closed the book for the last time the only questions, I was left with were those that concerned my own family.
I found the history and life of my people contained in this volume fascinating and intriguing. The book made me even prouder of my heritage but the thing that captivated me the most was the photographs by Bruce Dale, a National Geographic Photographer. What author Bart McDowell had captured in words Bruce Dale had captured in his photographs. It was the perfect blending of words and images in this one book that started me on my own path of combining my words with the images I create.
As I looked at the marvelous photographs that documented the life of my people in the late 1960’s, I could see my own face within their faces. I told my mother, “Someday I will paint the people in the book.” My mother had always been encouraging of my artistic endeavors. “I know you will”, she said. Life moved on and I was well into adulthood before I did my first painting based on a photo from the book; ‘Romani Messiah: Tattered Canvas’.


The flood of 1993 robbed me of the cherished book my mother had given me in 1971 and I thought it was gone forever. Until one day in 2001 I received a package in the mail that contained a first edition copy of ‘GYPSIES WANDERERS OF THE WORLD’. Scrawled on the face page was, “To Gypsy, the only real Gypsy I know, (first name illegible) Dempsay. I wish I knew who this person was so I could thank them, but alas, I never found out. I was overjoyed to have the book again and I re-read it. I renewed my commitment to paint my version of the photographs in the book.
When I painted my first version of ‘Romani Messiah: Tattered Canvas’ in 2007 and I was not happy with it. There was a time I would destroy things I created I was not happy with but this painting I gave away to someone that liked it. I tackled ‘Romani Messiah: Tattered Canvas’ again in 2020 and was happier with the result which encouraged me to tackle the next photograph that had inspired me to paint my versions of them; ‘Madam Thorney: She Told Fortunes’.


At this point you may be looking at the large gaps in time between my first commitment to paint the photographs that inspired me to the point that I am doing it. Any artist can tell you that distraction is our curse. It is way to easy for us to get distracted with other projects and put other things on the back burner. The other curse for an artist is that when they are dissatisfied with a project, they walk away from it. There are projects an artist will walk away from and never come back to; there are projects that take a while to come back to. So, it is with this project. But with my satisfaction with ‘Romani Messiah: Tattered Canvas’ and now ‘Madam Thorney: She Told Fortunes’ I am encouraged to create more of my versions of the photographs from the book.
The photograph of Madam Thorney and her description intrigued me:
“I studied this fortune-teller with puzzled respect: her arresting, heavy lidded eyes and her strong, gentle features – a face suggesting nose-jewels and saris.”
As I set about to capture Madam Thorney, I took quite a few artistic liberties with my rendition of the photo. Those things in my painting that remain unchanged are her sign, her posture, general features and eyes. Notice that I said, “General Features”. As I looked at the photograph of Madam Thorney by Bruce Dale and Bart McDowell’s description of her, I saw all her ancestors that had made her who she was. As I painted, I did not even try to copy the photograph, that was not my intent. My goal was to capture the spirit of what the photograph had captured, her heritage, her history and her bloodline.
Madam Thorney, in the photo, appears to be in her late sixties or maybe early seventies. The photo was taken at her wagon where she was telling fortunes at Epsom Downs for Derby Days in 1968. I am sure that Madam Thorney left to meet her ancestors an exceptionally long time ago. But here she is, still smiling and reading fortunes within the pages of this book and her essence now captured upon my canvas.
The day that Bart McDowell met Madam Thorney she told him, “You are writing something, a book perhaps. And you are planning a journey. Yes, a very long journey. Where are you going?” Bart McDowell took his journey to trace the history of my people, the Romani people; he wrote our story.
For a one pound note Madam Thorney pulled out a small crystal ball and gave Mr. McDowell this final warning: “Be careful. Beware of things others may write down or tell you. Write only what you find for yourself.” I would like to believe that Madam Thorney would be pleased if she knew that her insights and warning had reached across time to touch me. For I too am taking a journey, a journey to capture in paint upon my canvas the essence of the Gypsies, my people. I will always write only what I find for myself but more that that I will only paint what I see with my heart and soul.
-The GYPSY: January 24, 2021 – Topeka, Kansas-
This painting is for sale at https://Artist-Alley.net