Tagged Cristina Acosta artist

Guadalupe Procession California by Cristina Acosta

Guadalupe Procession to Celebrate December

I walked 25 miles yesterday with thousands of people marching for love. Despite walking the 25 miles, I did not finish the Guadalupe procession which zig-zagged it’s way around the Coachella Valley in Southern California to the Our Lady of Solitude Church in Palm Springs, California to it’s sister church in Coachella. I knew the distance from my house to that church was a bit over 20 miles, so I put myself in that headspace and filled a backpack with water and food. I set my orthotics into my best pair of walking shoes and prepared clothing for a day that would span from a cold desert morning across the hot sun of the day.

The Guadalupe Procession began at 6 a.m., about dawn in the town of Palm Springs, California. Six hours later I was walking against the nylon rope that shaped the serpentine line of thousands of people against the right curb of the concrete highway and wondered when we would arrive. I checked my smartphone and saw that we’d traveled about 15 miles (including my walk from home to the Procession) and thought the church must be about 7 miles ahead.

Despite beginning the Guadalupe Procession at the front of the group, bathroom breaks had put me at the back of the procession by the time I reached 15 the mile mark. Getting in and out of the porta-potty line was the time-suck dark side of proper hydration.

Guadalupe Procession California by Cristina Acosta
Guadalupe Procession California by Cristina Acosta

The desert sun was beating down surprisingly strong for a December day, reflecting back up relentlessly from the concrete road and my feet were starting to swell. I introduced myself to the man at the end of the line who was carrying about 20 pounds of coiled rope over his left shoulder as he walked the end of the procession. His name was Enrique and he smiled at the surprise on my face when he told me the procession was 36 miles long.

That was a surprise. Apparently the different Coachella Valley cities the Guadalupe Procession zigzagged through required a path that kept the procession of thousands away from the succession of stoplights on Highway 111, adding about 13 miles to the 22 mile journey. For the first time, I wondered if I would be able to complete the Guadalupe Procession.

I didn’t. The second stop of the Procession was in Indian Wells across from The Tennis Gardens. My smartphone told me I’d walked 25 miles. I’d been fantasizing about ibuprofen pills for the past hour and I knew that pushing my middle-aged body to the finish line, though possible, would exact more of a toll than I wanted to pay. So, I stopped.

cristina-acosta-2016-guadalupe-processionI sent prayers to all of those people in the world who don’t have the option to stop when they are miserable. Prayers to the people of Syria, trapped in a city they can’t walk away from and those refugees around the world who put their lives on the line to walk even one more step into the unknown.

Watching my fellow travelers in the Guadalupe Procession I was reminded of the humanity we all share. And I was overcome with the love that thousands of fellow travelers in the journey displayed for others. December 12th is the Catholic Feast Day for Our Lady of Guadalupe, a day of processions and prayer that can include a walk if you are so inclined. No need to be Catholic to join, anyone is welcome.Walking in the Guadalupe Procession was a beautiful way to celebrate the month of Christmas.

The Dancing Bear

I’ve never seen a bear dance, though I have seen one stand and sway in front of a sliding glass door. Standing on the other side of the glass, I wondered who was more curious. I knew that I was the more scared of the two of us only because the encounter wasn’t my idea, but the bear’s. It wouldn’t occur to me to get that close to a bear, but the bear decided to get that close to me.

After a few more sways side to side and then putting his paws on the glass to shield his eyes as he pressed his head against the window for a better view (he knew what he was doing), he dropped to all fours and ambled away.

Eventually, Fish and Game trapped him and moved him. I hope he lived a long and happy life. Despite his personal power, we humans are the apex predator of this planet, so I have my doubts.

That was many years ago but I still think of that bear from time to time. His eyes had a sentient and soulful quality. I titled this piece, “The Dancing Bear,”   because of his sway. I think of him as only dancing to the beat of his own drum. 

Title: The Dancing Bear

Size: Aprox 10” x 20” (check with gallery for accurate measurements)

Medium: Acrylic, pencil and charcoal on wood panel with resin

Price: please contact Terzian Gallery

Host Gallery: Terzian Gallery, Park City, Utah. (435) 649-4927 www.terziangalleries.com

California State Bear Flag paintings by Cristina Acosta

2015 New Paintings of Animals and Plants

Woodland Series: Mama Bear and Cub with Crows
Woodland Series Raccoons by Cristina Acosta
Desert Series: Desert Tortoise with Prickly Pear triptych
Desert Series: Jack Rabbit and Ocotillo by ©Cristina Acosta
California Series Desert Bighorn Sheep
Woodland Series: Chickadee by Cristina Acosta
Woodland Series - Bird by Cristina Acosta
Ocean Series: Otter with Sea Star by Cristina Acosta
California State Bear Flag paintings by Cristina Acosta

A lifetime spent living with nature in the mountains or coast has come to full circle when I moved to the Southern California desert this year. Inspired by the three West Coast climate zones that have nurtured my life, my new series of paintings is divided into three themes: Desert, Woodland and Coastal.

In the same way that the past and contemporary segments of my life all fit together to form today, I’ve designed these paintings to all fit together. Like tiles on a backsplash, the similar sizes and shapes of the paintings and the color palette choices encourage many different paintings to be put together. A 2′ or 3′ square painting can become a mural that could fill an entire wall! If your wall is not terribly big, you may want to mix a few 12″ wide paintings into the mix and create diptychs and triptychs.

When I look at these paintings I see things from my past experiences: years in my tile business, my experience as a billboard mural painter; years of drawing every animal that walked onto my old ranch in Oregon; years of nordic ski racing, stand up paddling on rivers, lakes and ocean, and horseback riding. Put them all together and they add up to these paintings. They flowed out of me so easily that I made 43 of them this past year and realized I had a new series.



California Series Desert Bighorn Sheep

The Desert Sun, Palm Springs Artist Series

Marilyn Chung and Rosalie Murphy, journalists with the Desert Sun in Palm Springs, California, put together a wonderful series  of videos and articles about artists in Palm Springs. The writing and videography is lovely and I feel so grateful as well as a bit flattered to be part of the series.

Last week, the Desert Sun featured artist Tolley Marney, a steel sculptor. On the roster are: Terry Masters, a plein aire landscape oil painter whose masterful paintings of the urban and natural desert landscape are breathtaking; and Rose Rosendo, a feminist mid-century modern artist who came of age in the 1960’s, and me – Cristina Acosta. It’s a wonderful series introducing Coachella Valley, California, readers to the variety of local artists.

Mid-life and older artists have lived a commitment to the physical and spiritual practice of creation across decades. Artistic and career success comes and goes on a variety of levels, but the commitment to engage with the world through art continues despite the changes within our minds and hearts and the world around us as time ticks by. I am so blessed to know so many artists and writers and to have lived a life in their presence.

Check out the Desert Sun newspaper. And thank you.


Contemporary Hispanic market art La Conquistadora with Dine Spider Woman and Puebloan Corn Maiden by ©Cristina Acosta

La Conquistadora New Book by Amy Remensnyder Features Acosta’s Retablo of La Conquistadora – Dine Spider Woman – Puebloan Corn Maiden

Passion for the subject of the Virgin Mary as La Conquistadora supported by scholarly discipline and historical clarity makes Amy G. Remensnyder’s new book, La Conquistadora – The Virgin Mary at War and Peace in the Old and New Worlds, the current masterpiece and go-to book on the subject of La Conquistadora, New Mexico’s patroness and the oldest Marian figure in the United States.

Here’s an excerpt from Remensnyder’s Introduction:

La Conquistadora by Amy Remensnyder book
La Conquistadora by Amy Remensnyder book with Cristina Acosta image of Conquistadora

“This exploration of the passions that Mary aroused centuries ago is written in the hopes that modern historian, as well as people of other faiths or of no faith, might better understand historical circumstances in which people of diverse cultures and religions lived in proximity It asks how the language of the sacred could both underscore potential differences between people and help to smooth out those very differences. While the answers of men and women of the past bear the stamp of their times and places, there is much to be learned from their successes and failures, for these same questions starkly face our own world.”

I came in contact with Amy Remensnyder when she researching her La Conquistadora book. She had found my retablo titled, La Conquistadora / Dine Spider Woman / Puebloan Corn Maiden and contacted me regarding my inspiration and intent creating the image. The image is on page 367 of her book, La Conquistadora – The Virgin Mary at War and Peace in the Old and New Worlds. 

Remensnyder also included selected passages of our interview. Here’s an excerpt:

“…..For a bold contemporary artist like Acosta, she offers a space for thinking about genealogical mestizaje. 

Acosta explains that her own ancestors “were among the original Spanish colonist in the Southwest.” She even grew up hearing her grandmother “continually claim to be pure Spanish.” But Acosta confesses that she has come to regard her grandmother’s words with skepticism. She describes something that she says her grandmother new well: her grandmother’s sone – Acosta’s own father  ‘ “made Indian regalia” and would dance the  “old dances.” It was in memory of her father, a man who danced in Indian dress yet was the son of a woman who boasted undiluted Spanish blood, that Acosta created her Conquistadora…..”

There is more. During the ensuing time since our interview, family members did DNA tests and confirmed: my grandmother was half American Indian. I feel like that intuitive knowledge informed all of my life. My conviction at the age of 5 that I was an Indian (I was just sure of it) was finally confirmed. But I did not paint my image of La Conquistadora from confirmed facts and historical accuracy, I painted her from my intuitive self and my sense that this Marian figure needs to have an image of her created that melds the American Indian female sacred figures with the Spanish (European) Marian figure into a vision of parity. That parity that I feel in my blood regardless of the “blood quantum” restrictions and perceptions that are used to justify behavior.

I highly recommend this book, it is wonderful:

La Conquistadora – the Virgin Mary at War and Peace in the Old and New Worlds, by Amy G. Remensnyder, Oxford University Press, ©2014, ISBN 978-0-19-989298-3,  978-0-19-989300-3