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Here is a collection of paintings from travels in Mexico, and in the U.S.-Mexico border region that used to be part of Mexico..

781 MEXICO Monte Alban Ruins near  Oaxaca

 780. Mitla Temple Ruin near Oaxaca.

781. Monte Alban Ruins near Oaxaca.  Around A.D. 750 to 1521, south of Mexico City, Mixtec and Zapotec peoples built cities with spectacular stone architecture. I had only a few hours to paint at Mitla. Inspired by French Impressionist Pissarro, who seemed able to find a “motif” wherever he was, I planted myself at the first set of ghostly buildings. Acrylic with local soil on 9x12 inch 8-ply acid-free board, on site and in Hotel Bougambilia, city of Oaxaca.  (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

780. Mitla Temple Ruin near Oaxaca.   This amazing ridge-top site was settled around 500 to 300 BC, and reached a peak around A.D. 200 to 800, when monumental pyramids, a ball court, and ceremonial structures were built on the flattened summit. The site was largely abandoned by A.D. 900-1000, but tombs on the hill were used for burials until the Spanish arrived in 1521. “Tomb 7,” discovered in 1931 not far from this view, yielded one of the richest troves of gold, jade, and jewels known in North America. Acrylic with local soil, painted on 11 x 14 inch 8-ply acid-free board, on site and in Hotel Bougambilia, city of Oaxaca.  (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

725. Coronado Garrison, Rio Sonora Valley, Fall1540.

669 - Carlos Robles Ranch House 

725. Coronado Garrison, Rio Sonora Valley, Fall 1540. The view, painted for my 2014 book, “Searching for Golden Empires” (Univ. Arizona Press), shows my conception of the garrison established in this beautiful Sonoran valley during the Coronado expedition from Mexico, through Sonora and Arizona, all the way to Kansas (!)   The garrison was abandoned after the Spanish demands and molestations outraged native people; the exact location is unknown today. This depicts a likely area south of the town of Banámichi, based on photos from a nearby hill and on-site visits.  (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

669.  Carlos Robles Ranch House. The painting was made on site during a visit with a party from the Sky Island Alliance.  The land has been converted from cattle ranching to ecotourism and sustainable hunting and features a population of deer. At least one ocelot, and other creatures, have been documented on automated cameras.   (2007). (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

661 - Archaeology at Father Eusebio Kino's Headquarters, Dolores, Sonora 

658 - San Xavier Mission, Tucson 

661. Archaeology at Father Eusebio Kino’s Headquarters,  Dolores, Sonora. Kino established his HQ in the 1690s at a now-obscure site overlooking a valley near Magdalena.  He named it Dolores, and the hilltop site is still known by that name, but the hill has been disturbed by later buildings and exact site of Kino’s  mission is uncertain.  In 2006, Mexican archaeologist Jupiter Martinez headed a crew, including occasional Arizona volunteers, to excavate the site, marked by a significant mound.  This view shows the operations, which turned up materials from the right time period.   The cross at the site was erected by the wife of a local rancher to commemorate Kino's mission. (2006). (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

658.  San Xavier Mission, Tucson. The great explorer-priest, Eusebio Kino, working north from his headquarters east of Magdalena, Sonora, founded a mission here in the 1690s.  Today it is called “the white dove of the desert,” and the architecture has been a favorite of visual artists from Ansel Adams onward.  This view was obtained during another paintout of the Tucson Plein Air Painters’ Society.   (2006). (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

636.5 At the Cocospera Mission 

636 - Painting at Tumacacori National Monument 

636.5   At the Cocospera Mission. The ruins of the Cocospera mission, have a complex history. The establishment of a mission here dates back to Sonoran Desert Jesuit priest and explorer, Eusebio Kino, ca. 1690.   Several iterations of a mission church were built in the coming decades.   The visible structure dates mostly from after 1767 when the Jesuits were (somewhat mysteriously) expelled, and subsequent Franciscans shored up the crumbling structure with brick work.   The site lies in Sonora some few tens of miles. Preservation of the building has been a challenge (the roof has collapsed; a new small chapel has been built nearby in recent years.)   (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

636. Painting at Tumacacori National Monument. This hardly counts as “Old Mexico,” as the mission is now in Arizona.  However, Southern Arizona was part of Sonora until acquired by the U.S.A. in 1856, in the Gadsden Purchase.  This view was painted during a paint-out of the Tucson Plein Air Painters’ Society.  (2005). (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

599 - Discovering the Colorado River. 

593 - Tubatama in the distance. 

599. Discovering the Colorado River. The Spanish explorer, Alarcón, first identified the Colorado River, and sent small boats upstream, in 1540, a year after another Spaniard had observed a violent outflow at the head of the Gulf of California.  This view was based on views during a short motorboat excursion  from El Golfo, Sonora.  (Mostly 2002, finished 2003). (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

593. Tubatama in the distance. Tubatama is another mission town, not far south of the Arizona border in the Altar Valley.   When selecting this distant view, from a nearby highway, I was struck by how the bright domes of these little towns must have been a welcome sight, rising from the desert scrub to greet riders approaching from a distance (2003). (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

592 - In the Plaza, Caborca, Sonora

591 - In the Plaza, Magdalena, Sonora

592.   In the Plaza, Caborca, Sonora.   The plaza and old mission, started by Father Kino in the 1690s, has a colorful history.   The  “filibuster” army of William Walker  invaded Caborca in 1854 and tried to annex Sonora into the United States.  (He was aquitted in San Francisco, but later executed in 1860 in Honduras for trying to invade that country.)  The church still has bullet holes from 1857, when  Henry Crabb with another filibuster army of “settlers” marched into Caborca from California.  Crabb and most of his army were captured and executed. (2003). (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

591.   In the Plaza, Magdalena, Sonora. The view shows the mission across the square.  Nearby in the plaza is the tomb of Father Eusebio Kino, who founded the mission in the 1690s.  (2003). (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

578 - The prehistoric walls at Cerro de Trincheras, Sonora 

036 - The Gulf of California at "Sandy Beach", northwest of Rocky Point 

578.   The prehistoric walls at Cerro de Trincheras, Sonora. This hill, near Caborca, is the most dramatic example of prehistoric walled hillsides in the Sonoran Desert.  The phenomenon reaches from Sonora into Arizona.  Historic records indicate native people retreated to tops of such hills as defensive positions, but more recent archaeological work indicates that the walls formed terraces used for agriculture.  (2003). (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

036.   The Gulf of California at “Sandy Beach,” northwest of Rocky Point, Sonora. This painting was started on site in 1975 and reworked some years later.  The beach in recent years has been totally transformed into a row of glittering condos, rising as high as eleven stories.  (1975). (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

<-- Back to Bill Hartmann's Painting Page      Page last updated December 27, 2017 by Kelly Rehm


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