Before moving out.

Before moving out of the big house I was busy: being a chaperone for a teenagers field trips to Austin, Waco, and Houston, a professional development meeting with Larry Schuekler, and co-hosting a Closing Reception with my fellow Artist in Residence.  All of which was a  total blast.

In my field trips to Austin, my group visited the Bob Bullock Museum, The Blanton Museum and the Umlauf Sculpture Garden.  There were 10 teens and 2 other chaperones not including me.  I had already visited all three museums over the years but it was fascinating to see everything new in the eyes of the children.  Our first visit was the Bob Bullock Museum. There, we saw the La Belle exhibition.  La Belle was a ship from a French expedition that got caught in a storm and sank in Matagorda, TX Bay in 1686.  300 years later, it was excavated and put on display the Austin museum.

To go along with the La Belle exhibition, we experienced a visual discrimination of the French expedition with the film, “Shipwrecked” through the eyes of a young french boy named Pierre Talon.  He rode in one of the three ships accompanying La Belle with his family to the new land of America.  The best part of the film was when the french explorer, named La Salle, went down the river with his men and saw an alligator for the first time.  They describe the new animal as a 15 ft long lizard.  When the alligator snapped its mouth everyone, the seats jumped on their own making the audience scared.  All the teenagers jumped and screamed, then laughed at their reactions.  If you’re in Austin, stop by the Bob Bullock Museum and watch the film.  It’s a futuristic way to experience history with its three screens and live special effects.

The movie and La Belle intrigued me because Matagorda Bay holds a dear place in my heart.  It’s where my family spends every summer vacation since my grandfather was little.  It’s where my dad and grandfather would go fishing and where they taught me how to fish.  Recently, I got engaged at the same beach a few months ago. Seeing and gaining knowledge of its history means a lot to me.

Our next stop was the  Blanton Museum of Art across the street, which was not as action packed as the Bullock.  The museum had closed its upstairs permanent collection for renovation, so we didn’t spend a lot of time there.  The two exhibitions on the first floor were the Goya: Mad Reason and Xu Bingo: Book from the sky.  Both artists had very different types of use in  prints.  Goya’s work told the story of changing political and intellectual landscape of his native land of Spain with bull fighting and scary dreams imagery with the process of copper itching.   During the visit I explained to the group what steps the Goya took to make his to prints.  I explained what itching is. The reason behind the small pencil number on the corner of the print.  It’s the edition number, meaning it took the artist so many pulls of his copper plate to be satisfied with that the image you see.  While Xu Bingo, a chinese artist transformed the space with printed text on scrolls that covered the walls and floor.

With time to spare we stopped and explored the Umlauf Sculpture garden for some fresh hot Texas air.  Umlauf was a professor at the University of Texas whose artwork is now on display free to viewers on land that he used to call home.  His work is mostly figurative with the occasional animales mixed in.

After such a long day, filled with history and art, we stopped and got drinks from Sonic.  On the drive back, everyone fell asleep until we arrived back in Bryan.  

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The Houston field trip was a few days later.  We went to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston  and the Battleship Texas State Historic Site.  It was my favorite trip out of the three because MFAH had so many paintings of my hero artists: De Kooning, Franz Kline, Hofmann, Monet, Cezanne, and Van Gogh.  All in one house.  There the group got to see the Kusama: At the end of the Universe.  A two room exhibition were each room had a very different but both equally infinite feel of space.  The first room “Love is Calling” had glowing multi color slatic forms with black dots on the ceiling and floors and mirrors on all the walls.  The second room “Aftermath of obliteration of eternity” was more intimate for the lack of color and twinkling lights in a mirrored room.  When your first walk into the room, it’s like you are walking into galaxy full of captured stars.

After lunch we went to see the Battleship Texas State Historical Site.  Oh my it was hot out!  I don’t know how the sailors handled being on a metal ship in the middle of July.  It was also very tight. They must have been smaller built back then too.

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The Waco field trip was small but just as fun with only two students and three chaperones.  We visited the Mayborn Museum and the Dr. Pepper Museum.  In Mayborn, our small group experienced the multi-activity Imaginate exhibit.  The viewer is encouraged to ask questions and willing to take risks.  The two boys went crazy exploring the hands-on exhibition.  They especially enjoyed making paper airplanes and tossing them at bullseyes that have points on them to see who can score the most points.  My favorite station was the Making Faces one. You take a selfie then collage other people’s eyes, nose, mouth and other facial features.  The outcome was kind of funny to watch.  We also saw the Natural and Cultural History Exhibits.  We were amazed to see a massive ancient sea turtle (Protostega gigas) that was found in someone’s back yard nearby.  It’s hard to believe that some little kids digging in the dirt were able to discover this.

After lunch we stopped by the Dr. Pepper Museum.  The last time I was there I was around 6 years old and remember getting free ice cream after my little brother fell and started crying.  There still is ice cream.  Lots of ice cream.  They also have a timeline of all the bottles with the different advertisements.  We also watched a few old Dr. Pepper commercials.  Dr. Pepper must keep great archives because some of the commercials were really old.  After getting some Dr. Pepper ice cream floats we made our way back to Bryan.

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I very much enjoyed being a chaperone for the teens field trips.  I got to see and experience some amazing art and meet some new people. I’m so grateful for this opportunity.


The day after our last First Friday in Bryan we got up early and visited a local artist who specializes in figure sculptor name Larry Schuekler.  I previously had the pleasure of modeling for him at the Frame Gallery during their figure drawing nights a while back.  We were accompanied by College Station’s Artist in Residence Emily May.  We were all impressed of Larry’s multiple studios, pool, and buildings on his gorgeous property all of which he built himself.  It was so nice having a group discussion on what the next steps is in our careers.  The advice he gave encouraged all to go for our goals.

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In our last weekend at the house Eric, Abby, and I hosted a Closing Reception. We used the funds from our painting party to cover the cost of food and drinks, for our guest.  Although emotional to say goodbye to the community, I felt proud to accomplished everything that I did.

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I am grateful to the community of Navasota for opening their doors to myself and colleagues.  As young and creative individuals, you have no idea how big of a stepping stone this programs is for our careers.  I would also like to thank everyone in the art community of Bryan, Texas, we enjoyed visiting y’all every First Friday during our stay in Navasota.  Big shout out to the Riddle Gallery and The Frame Gallery for inviting us to display our work for the months of May and June.  Last but not least thank you to The Arts Council of Brazos Valley for believing in us and giving us this unique opportunity to explore ourselves as artists and as individuals.  



Painting Party Fun

On Saturday we hosted a painting party at the house for 11 people.  I had a blast organizing and hosting the event with Eric and Abby.  Weeks before the event I designed tickets, pasted out flyers, and posted the event in the Examiner.  We pre sold 7 tickets and sold 4 at the door for $25.00 per person or $40.00 per couple.  Less than half of the profit went to food and drink cost. The other half is going to fund our Closing Reception on August 13th, flyers will be coming out soon.

To keep supply cost down I borrowed brushes and paints from my sister Maricela Cisneros. She has hosted painting parties in the past and she had plenty to spare. I also borrowed table, chairs, and easels from the Arts Council. Thank you Maricela and Amy for all your help.

The party would not have been such a success without my partners in crime Eric and Abby.  Eric was such a great instructor,  he had so much charisma, charm, and was able to answer everyone’s questions.  All the paintings came out gorgeous because of him.  Abby did a great job with all the drinks and food. Everyone loved the chocolate covered almonds and nacho cheese. Thank you both for helping setting up, taking down and being silly with me after everyone went home.  I’m going to miss our silly, crazy, and messy times at the house.  I know both of ya’ll will be amazing in your future goals.

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The Month of June

So the month of June was very eventful; Eric, Abby and I had work shown at the Frame Gallery, I taught at the Arts Council 2016 Summer Camp, was apart of a three-part front page series in the Navasota Examiner, and helped host the Open House Show. I also got 6 paintings done, I just need 4 more to complete my goal.


Links to visit


Getting in the grove of things


So I have been busy the past few weeks with different projects. I am working on making 5 wooden panels for new paintings.

Designing new library cards for Navasota public library.

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Library Card Design

I am teaching a Landscape and Nature Drawing Class for KOR Education School in College Station. The class includes observing the environment around you and learning a few new things about it. The kids learn the fundamentals it takes to construct a plein air drawing: perspective, horizontal line, and vanishing points. We worked on tonal change, such as light and darks and tricks to complete a drawing in a short amount of time. 


Welcoming vistors to the Horlock Gallery.

And being apart of the Riddle Gallery Happiness show. I put in my pool painting.

On the Move

So after traveling 34 hours, not all at once but over 2 weeks, I have made it to the Horlock house. I traveled from Kansas City to California to spend time with my boyfriend’s family.  We first went tIMG_6796.JPGo Laguna Beach and stayed the night in Beaumont, then spent 4 days in Visalia. . The last day we drove back to Beaumont, spent the night, then flew back to Kansas City on April 29th.IMG_6834.JPG


Early morning on April 30 I hit the road with my sister to make the 12-hour drive to Austin. We arrived around 7:30 p.m. at my grandmother’s house, and my family already had dinner ready: enchiladas with rice and beans. Very tasty.

After spending the night in Austin, I woke up and loaded my mom’s car with my tools and a few things that were housed in my parents garage for a few years. Got on the road around 11 a.m. for the 2-hour drive to Navasota.


April 31st around 1 p.m. I finally arrived at the Horlock House

What a big house it is. My room is huge with great lighting and a Victorian-era (non-working) fireplace. I met Eric, an awesome drawer, Abby was out of town. The first night sleeping in my new room was kinda scary. Around 3 a.m. I woke up to go to the restroom down the hall, and on my way back to my room I thought I saw two people opening Abby’s room door. I thought “oh she’s back…” hmm… It was not until I woke up and noticed Abby was still not here that I realize what I saw — the ghosts of the Horlock House making their presence known.  After that night I have had dreams of little kids playing in my room and in the halls while everyone was sleeping.  

The next day I went around town and picked up a few things. I first stopped at Java Hot Spot on La Salle St. Pretty good coffee. A great place to do the daily Sudoku and listen to ladies gossip about their book club and dish on their grandkids. I also stopped in the public library and got a library card, which is pretty bare with only important information –it could use a dash of color to stand out against all my other cards. Maybe I will make it my mission to spice it up. A few restaurants I should mention are Carroll’s Giant Burger — they have great burgers and chicken nuggets — and El Paisano has great homemade breakfast tacos.

Overall my stay so far in Navasota has been good. I’m working on a painting that I started in Kansas City: a depiction of fireworks in a dark sky. It’s still not done but I’ve been making great progress on it. I’ve been scouting out parks and hiking trails in the area as reference for a new painting depicting a longhorn and cows in an open field. I found a place  called Lick Creek Park which has some okay trails, but there was a lot of construction nearby. On the way back I took some great reference photos that I will be using in this new painting. Besides painting and studio work I have been spending a lot of time with Abby and Eric. They are both great artists with unique styles. We have so much fun running around the house at night trying to find ghosts and just being silly.  It’s gonna be a fun, colorful summer. I will try to keep y’all posted as it progresses.

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Hello Navasota Texas

My name is Mary Christina Cisneros, I received a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in painting from the Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) in May of 2014.  My family has lived in Austin, Texas for four generations and our Hispanic heritage is very important to us, especially during Tamale seasons. What I remember most about my childhood were the many car rides my family took to visit family living in Houston. To pass the time, I would stare out the car window, watching the fields and clouds pass by.  These memories of the passing landscape are the roots to my work.  During my stay as a artist in The Navasota Artist in Residence would be the ideal opportunity for me to return to those roots, where I could study in-depth the landscape without the car window.

My current work is formed from an abstract ideal of summer vacation, full of color and texture.  Each piece is inspired from physical and mental snapshots of pool parties, road trips to the mountains, flat plains, and daydreams.  During the residency, I plan on building a collection of photographs and plein air drawings of the rich surrounding landscapes, to bring back into the studio where I will further experiment with compositions and hue relationships in order to create something truly inspired and unique.

During the residency, I aim to create at least 10-12 new paintings. I am confident that I can complete 10 paintings in 6 months.  I had previously set and achieved the same goal for the period of  April 2015 to October 2015.  The hardest part would be setting aside time early into the residency to make the panels.  I already have all the tools to construct and assemble the panels.  I just need a nice day and a place to set up shop.  During my stay at the Horlock House I am interested in doing 5 on-site paintings.  The weather in Texas is very temperamental, one minute it’s sunny and perfect then next, there is a hurricane.  Painting from start to finish all on-site would be difficult.  On rainy or extremely hot days I plan on using sketches and photograph as backup.  Ideal locations that I will be looking for are Gulf sceneries, Grassy plains, and crop fields. All of which Navasota has an abundance of.

Since graduating from Kansas City Art Institute I have had the opportunity to surround myself with other creative souls.  I’ve really enjoyed teaching a handful of beginner painting classes for adults.  One of my favorite parts about teaching is sharing my love of mixing colors.  Since I stay away from using black straight out of the tube in my own palate, I don’t use it when teaching.  At first I can see the worry in the beginner painter’s eyes when they look at the pallet I place in front of them.  Once I explain that mixing your own black can be so much richer than the industrial, they still look skeptical.  It’s not until they start mirroring my movements when mixing that I start seeing their eyes light up.  Mixing red, blue, and green together to get this rich dark hue that can be pushed in either direction to complement the already existing colors on the canvas.
I believe that my time here in Navasota would be beneficial to my development as a young artist.  It would provide me with time to just paint and explore the surroundings Texas landscape and all the beauty that it has to offer.  I truly am looking forward to the many opportunity to draw onsite in the crop fields that I loved staring at during car rides to Houston.  I can now take all my tools out of my parents dusty garage and flex my wood carpenter muscles again.  I can share my paint mixing techniques with a larger audience.  Best of all, it would provide much need PR opportunities for me and my art work. Thank you, City of Navasota and The Arts Council of Brazos Valley for allowing me to join the line of artist to live in the Horlock House.