Doug Riseborough

56… Art in Álamos is a many splendor thing…

Doug Riseborough in his art studio, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson

Artists and their studios share a relationship where one becomes the other.

I was always interested in the progress a space was making one block off the Alameda on my favorite Álamos thoroughfare, Calle Francisco Madero. The narrow gently rising one-way street leading to the plaza has an old world sensibility, all homes are connected rooms sharing a common hallway, the street. And here on a corner was a place that had colorful trompe l’oeil beach murals on its walls. My first thought was these heroic scaled figures were part of Mediterranean scenes, but on lingering examination I realized it was Southern California. I could see through the partially opened wood shutters that the space’s floor was always empty, as if it was waiting for a business to move equipment in and entertain its patrons. Was it going to be an intimate disco-bar? An upper-end beauty salon? A self-help retreat run by transplanted beach gurus? So quiet. So strange. So… well, Álamos where many worlds can be one.

Doug Riseborough at home with his mural, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Doug Riseborough, noted international muralist, relaxing at home.

Sharon Bernard Harrison, aware of my interest in documenting artists of Álamos, arranged a morning coffee meeting with the painter Doug Riseborough. A dapper gentlemen dressed in white greeted me at the door and welcomed me into his home. His art was everywhere, including a large work on canvas over a couch seen in the photo above. The painting style was familiar, I had documented a couple of days earlier a mural at the Palacio by Doug featuring interaction between Conquistadors and Indians. One of Doug’s famous commissions was a mural displayed on the Avenues of Americas for the 1962 World’s Fair, The Ascendance of Stone Age Man to their Present State…. In it Chief Tarire was depicted severing the umbilical cord that connected him to his past. Doug traveled to the small Indian settlement where Chief Tarire had lived as research for the mural.

Doug Riseborough with a friend, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Born in Canada, living in Los Angeles, Doug is at ease in Alamos.

Doug, a small man in stature and a monumental presence with brush, projected an assured confidence. Aware of the camera, he collected his being and created a pose for each shot. I am sure Doug knew his best photographic side. One rule of thumb for an artist is make your money on the road and Doug had done his share of traveling including a four story mural in Hawaii presenting the creation of Maui. Other commissions took him to Rockefeller Center and a Saudia Arabian Prince’s palace.

Doug thought it would be a good idea to photograph him at work in his studio. We left his house and walked down busy streets. And there we were. The mysterious space I mentioned at the start of this story was his paint studio. The only furniture was his easel and a table. His studio, with tall walls, allowed his imagination to soar and his subjects to come alive with each transcendent brush stroke.

An occasional summer storm floods three arroyos in Álamos with mountain runoff.
Summer is the rainy season. Occasional tropical storms, remnant of hurricanes, come in from the Sea of Cortez to the west. This is the morning after a storm hit the region hard the previous evening.

A summer rodeo – music concert with trained horses dancing the two step.
Throughout the summer there are activities to enjoy in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico. On this day the rodeo came to town along with a Mexican pop singer who was backed up by the local “Halcon de Sierra Álamos” band. The stars of the show, which started late, were the dancing horses.

A Day In the Life of Plaza de las Armas

This is a look at life in the Álamos plaza between 1993 and 1996. Much has changed since then but much continues as it has for hundreds of years. Photos and video editing by Anders Tomlinson. Music, “Mystic Hoedown,” is by the Dirt Brothers/SonicAtomics featuring Denver Clay and Anders.
2015 Anders Tomlinson and Denver Clay, all rights reserved.

A Way of Life

Behold a Cornucopia of Color, Shapes, Textures and Scents.The flora of Álamos is the many splendors of Sinaloan tropical forest and Sonoran desert living together in unexpected harmony. Many properties have gardeners watering, pruning, consulting, planting, cutting, raking, commiserating, trimming and… year round. Flowers and vegetables are planted in November for winter blooms and crops that last until May or June’s heat… Mangos, papayas, bananas, palms, amapas, orchidias and other trees provide food and shelter for native and migrating birds. Cascades of colors come from flowering vines: blue veracruzana, orange trumpet, red, magenta and orange bougainvilla and… And the smells and scents that envelope one’s senses… Formal, informal… it all contributes to this symphony and riot that is the passing seasons in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico.
Photos, editing and produced by Anders Tomlinson. Music is “Jardin de Colores”, written and performed by Samuel Delatorre Dorame, from his 2013 CD “Memorias de Álamos, Sonora.”

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