Thank you, Brother Cletus


Saying goodbye to this San Antonio icon and artist is so hard. Brother Cletus died yesterday. Cletus Behlmann, S.M., a Marianist Brother, taught for 19 years before arriving in San Antonio to become a full time artist. He settled in San Antonio in 1977 and began operating the St. Mary’s University Art Center.

He captured the heart of the city in his painting and in his personal life with his affable, self-effacing wit and generous spirit. Those of us who were lucky enough to know him were blessed, but his work speaks to everybody through joyous color and dancing line.

Thank you, Brother Cletus, for sharing your life and art with us – we will miss you so much, but we know where you live. 🙂



Miro at the McNay – prepare to be astonished

The Miro exhibit, currently on view at the McNay Art Museum until January 10, 2016, is full of surprises. We went yesterday with our friends, artist Pablo Solomon and his wife, Beverly (their cat is named Miro, so you know they are huge fans of the Spanish painter).

The first surprise was the astonishing scale of the paintings. These things are huge! Pablo and I both said that we expected “normal sized” painting from the photos we had seen in catalogs, but these works were six, eight, ten feet tall, some in gigantic frames with glass as big as skyscraper windows. Miro’s colorful shape-figures of birds and women dance around within these huge canvases like playful giants. It’s so much fun!

The second surprise, at least for me, were the delightful sculptures, each with a rich industrial-like patina on bronze, and all constructed from sand-cast assortments of goofy objects that worked to form creatures with vast appeal. I felt like applauding!

The final surprise was realizing that all of the 50+ works in the show were created in Miro’s later years, the last 20 years of his life. It seems to be a journey back to the celebration and simplicity of a personal artistic language. The catalog says, “In his quest to transcend the idea of easel painting, the pictorial space is enlarged across expanded canvas fields, on which calligraphic signs reach maximum intensity through minimum resources, reflecting the artist’s attempt to reach a square one of painting. . .” I dare you not to get a little teary when you walk into the room with the last three paintings, huge white canvases with a very few spots of color, a star, a dotted line – all seeming to be exiting the playing field. Beautiful.

Good friends Beverly and Pablo Solomon pay homage to the mater, Miro - what an exhibit!

Good friends Beverly and Pablo Solomon pay homage to the master, Miro – what an exhibit!

So do what I tell ya – go have a nice lunch at Twin Sisters with some good friends, and then get yourself over to the McNay just down the block. Pay the special exhibit ticket price – it’s worth every dollar – and prepare to be astonished.

PS The whole city is celebrating Miro – here’s a list of special Miro-inspired treats, from jewelry to decadent chocolate cake that will be on hand during the run of the exhibit.

‘Tis the season for walking the river (plus a bonus recipe)

We decided on the spur of the moment  to drive downtown last night and walk along the San Antonio Riverwalk to see the bazillions of holiday lights hanging from the trees. The catch was the “drive downtown” part. I sometimes forget that San Antonio is the seventh largest city in the US, and it seemed like everybody had the same idea about going downtown. But we braved the snarling, honking traffic and, once below street level, were rewarded with a lovely stroll along a riverbank lined with lush vegetation and luminarias. And tourists, but they were nice tourists.

Here are some photos to put you in the holiday mood – I took them with my phone, so they are not exactly National Geographic quality, but you’ll get the idea. It’s the thought that counts:

So now that you’ve taken the Belisle Riverwalk Holiday Tour, you’re probably hungry, right? Well, never fear – here’s a wickedly good, super easy recipe from my friend PJ Valdez for Saltine Toffee. What does this have to do with the San Antonio Riverwalk? Not much, but it is good stuff after a walk in the cold. Besides, what’s not to like about chocolate, sugar and butter? ‘Tis the season, and man (or woman) cannot live on art alone!

pj copy