Pedro de Alvarado Mask


Oil on Panel / 6 x 6 inches / ©John Farnsworth

If you would like to own this painting, just email your bid to:


The Conqueror of Guatemala, Pedro de Alvarado is depicted in this beautifully carved Guatemalan mask. I love the Spanish word for mask, mascara, mas=more, cara=face. It’s the same word we use for women’s eye makeup in English. Mascara, more face. Perfect.

I had always believed this type of mask to be a part of the Cristianos y Moros, or Christians and Moors, dance in Mexico. But tonight, thanks to a couple of hours on the internet, I was able to track down the character actually depicted, when I came across the site showing this modern version of the same Alvarado.

I suppose the reason I was so stubborn in believing this to be a Mexican mask, was that I had photographed it in the fabulous Rafael Colonel Museum in Zacatecas, Mexico. Maybe I should learn to spend a little more time reading labels and less time photographing. As it was, I spent two days photographing there, and still missed a lot. There are, literally, thousands of beautiful, fantastic and bizarre masks represented there.


Apparently some of you received four or five copies of yesterday’s post. I don’t know why, yet, but I’m working on it. I first did the post on my iPad2 using Blogsy, an app I really like, and that I used all during my recent travels in Betsy. I’ve had a couple of crashes, usually my own fault, and have learned to backup as I go, just in case. After finishing the post, I hit the publish button and everything seemed to have gone as intended, as Blogsy opened the blog, and all was well. Or so I thought.

When I tried opening the blog on my desktop, it kept coming back as the previous day’s post. I tried it on the office desktop. Same thing. Then I tried it in the browser on my iPad, independent of Blogsy. Ditto.

Thank goodness I had copied the post before publishing. It was still a bit of a chore to email it to myself, and rebuild it from pieces that also had to be reformatted. But I got it done in WordPress, and published it. All seemed well and I went to bed, tired from a very long day. And night.

When I got up this morning I got word from several of you that you had received multiple versions. I waited to address this now, rather than interrupt you with another unnecessary message. I will be contacting Blogsy as well as WordPress to see if I can get to the bottom of this. I very much want to eliminate the need for a laptop from my travels, and instead get everything doable and dependable on my iPad. I can use WordPress on the iPad, so it’s not really a big problem. It’s just that I really do like working in Blogsy.

FANCY PANTS CHARRO Daily Photograph #1,655

Fancy Pants, Charro


Rust-orange overlay on this Charro’s pants caught my eye while photographing Charros’ hands for a series of photographs I’ve been working on.

The material culture of the Charro, like that of the Cowboy and the Gaucho is a never ending source of fascination for me. While their gear is oriented primarily to getting the job done, their sense of ornament, decoration and style  adds a compelling level of beauty to their workaday worlds.


From Melissa Howden and Kickstarter:

Bowing in Gratitude

One of my backers texted me early this morning that the goal had been reached. Another sent a Facebook message – all before I saw it here with my very own eyes. 3 days to go and several people I know are still in the process…and the goal has been not only reached but surpassed.

I have said this to some of you and I will say it here again, I am truly Honored and Humbled by all of your support, and the faith you have shown by backing this project.

At this moment I am not sure what else to say. I am overwhelmed.

Because of you the film goes to the lab tomorrow and the sound designer today.

Because of you this film will see the light of day, or better a darkened theater.

With so much gratitude and love,


167 Backers

$25,600 pledged of $25,000 goal

 Congratulations, Melissa!!!

Click here to learn how you can still be a part of this great project:


It’s time to start getting ready for THE KACHINAS ARE COMING. That’s the big Kachina show Thea wil be putting on of my Kachina paintings the first of September at David Anthony Fine Arts, here in Taos. I hope to see you there!

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4 thoughts on “PEDRO DE ALVARADO MASK Daily Painting #684

  1. Fancy Pants shows how artistic they really are. The mask really shows a true work of art. I love the way you painted it, the colors really show off this mask. I would like to know when and what they wear them for.

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