Sunday, December 10, 2023

Tubac, La Fiesta de Guadaloupe and Gallery in the Sun

Corona de Tucson

December 10, 2023 

Last weekend was Luminaria Nights de Tubac and date night for us.  This quaint little artsy community holds this annual Christmas event the first weekend in December.  The village is full of Christmas treats, shopping, music, lights and the stores stay open late.  We arrived just before sunset...

and perused the walkways.  

My favorite is passing by the store fronts and peeking thru the windows.  

Whenever in Tubac, we always make a stop at The Clay Rabbit.  

The Clay Rabbit has been around for over 40 years. It started in Oregon and made its way to southwest Arizona about 10 years ago.  

The Clay Rabbit store front

Pottery pieces are made from high fired stoneware and are very durable...oven proof, microwave safe, weather resistant and even scratch resistant.  Debbie is the artist hand painting each unique piece and her husband is the potter.  Both work in their studio/gallery (shown in the above photo) and invite folks inside to "see up close" their work in progress and their finished products.  

Before heading home, we stopped in for a toasted sandwich and iced latte at Tubac Deli & Coffee.  This small deli serves the best breads, pastries and pies...baked in house daily.  

During morning coffee on Sunday, we decided to head north to Gallery in the Sun...a 10 acre National Historic District built by artist Ted DeGrazia in the attend the La Fiesta de Guadaloupe.  

The gallery itself is a work of art.

The La Fiesta de Guadaloupe celebration at Gallery in the Sun began some 40 years ago when DeGrazia opened up his mission, gallery and grounds free of charge to honor Mexico's patron saint, Our Lady of Guadaloupe, with music and dancing.  The event was held outside under beautiful blue skies. 

Folkloric dance, like the English term folk dance, means dances of the people. It reflects the traditions, cultures, and beliefs of people in a particular region.  The life and spirit of the people are shared thru its movement and music.  The colors, the rhythm and feet tapping, long swirling and swishing skirts, ribbons and braided hair, and the sounds of dancers yelling all mix for a vibrant and energetic ballet.  I have read that dance is a form of "bodily dialogue" and the sweet faces of all these young girls speaks volumes.   

I had to google the yelling to understand why it is such an important part of folkloric dance.  "El Grito" referes to the "El Grito de Dolores" or the cry that Father Miguel Hildago delivered to his parish on Sept. 16, 1810 in the small town of Delores.  The cry was a call to the Mexican people that triggered the Mexican War of Independence.

Folkloric dance is not just about swirling skirts...boys have an important roll in representing traditions and culture as well.  The sword dance tells the story of defense against evil spirits.  

We spent some time meandering thru the gallery.  

There are six permanent collections we have seen several times, so most of Sundays visit was to experience the smaller rotating exhibits.  

"Scenes From the Revolution" is a collection of oil paintings of the Mexican Revolution that DeGrazia painted between 1937- 1973.  The series depicts the soldiers, bandits, and men and women of the working class who fought with the Northern revolutionary forces of Pancho Villa.

Titled: Revolution Adelitz #15
oil on canvas: 1937

"DeGrazia in Black and White" features the monochromatic grey oil paintings dating from 1940 - 1972.  This series includes portraits of DeGrazia's cats, landscapes, and street scenes.  From 1936 - 1942, DeGrazia was a fixture in downtown Bisbee.  While working seven days a week as the manager of the Lyric Theatre movie house, he painted for several hours every morning in a studio at the theatre.  In the afternoon he walked about town drumming up business for the theatre then returning to manage the theatre from 6pm to midnight.  He painted the scenes he often saw while walking home after midnight.  

Titled: Saint Almo Saloon
oil on canvas: 1941
On the far right of the picture DeGrazia misspelled the name as Saint Almo Saloon.  St Elmo Saloon, established in 1902 is still open as the longest continually run bar in Arizona.   
Titled: Boots
oil on canvas: 1940

DeGrazia's Beggars is a selection that traces the evolution of the artist's style and approach to the subject across four decades...1940 - 1982.  He focused on the struggles of the working class, the poor, and the homeless in his early style of social realism and they remained subjects for the rest of his life. 

DeGrazia stated, "Beggars are among the tired, hungry, mourning, and anguished."   

Titled: Beggar Girl
watercolor: 1964

DeGrazia's Bus is a featured collection of works from 1944 - 1966.  An enduring memory of a Mexican bus in Nogales inspired this recurring series of drawings, watercolors, screen prints, and oil paintings.  They all portray the same memory in mute detail with some minor variations of luggage and passengers. DeGrazia's bus...a jalopy with a radiator cap and spoked wheels, seen in profile heading from left to right, crowded with passengers and always with a man hanging from the back.  This collection was displayed in DeGrazia's studio.

The Nogales Bus...1950s


Titled: Third Class Bus
oil on canvas: 1944

The rest of the week found us heading to the dermatologist where Joe had MOHs surgery on the right side of his neck, to the dentist for me to get my teeth cleaned, to the eye doctor to pick up my new glasses and Sally to the groomers to have her nails done. Whew !  

Back at the oasis, I enjoyed the kitchen, holiday music and checked a couple of favorites off the "Will you please make..." list while Joe followed the doctor's orders and took it easy for a couple of days. 

Two batches were for Joe and one for Jamie

Joe wanted cookies! He isn't picky so I made my favorite peanut butter cookies dipped in Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate melting wafers.  

The weather last week was perfect and we enjoyed our daily walks some early afternoon walks with gorgeous blue skies...

Desertbroom with fluffy seeds.  Reminds me of dandelions on steroids.  

and some late afternoon walks as the sun is setting.   

As members of the Daily Savings Club with Wild Birds Unlimited we get a 15% discount on bird food and earn bird bucks with purchases.  We earned enough bucks to receive a backyard wreath for our feathered friends. 

We hung it on the fence and every bird that visits the yard has enjoyed a morsel or two or more.  

That is every bird except the one I want to capture a picture of...what a great December photo that would be to have Mr. C perched on the wreath.  But no, Mr. C just sits and studies the wreath, and neither he or his beautiful female companion have yet to perch and enjoy.  

Fingers are still crossed as we still haven't seen Mr. Ladder-backed Woodpecker yet...just the sweet little misses.

Other than the trama of jeep riding to the groomer, Sally has had a good week.  I realized after I posted last week's blog that I failed to include sweet Sally.  Shame on me...I can't remember the last time that happened, but I'm thinking years!  This week I'll share  two photos...

last weeks photo...

this weeks photo...

Joe and I are loving the holiday season...

our smart and most creative 2nd grade scientist...


and the cutest little reindeer ever !

(Thank you for daily photos Jena!)

Until next time...



  1. I haven't seen luminaria lights in a long time. Such fun. I am always amazed at the grace and precision of the folkloric dancers. We missed the Fiesta de Guadalupe here, but should have planned better.
    More than a few of DeGrazia paintings could pass as Van Gogh inspired.
    The new wreath is a perfect addition to your oasis!

    1. Good morning Jeff…I so agree about the ballet folkloric dance. I also enjoy the colorful swirling skirts. The black and white exhibit is way different from his other exhibits. There was one b & w of a desert landscape that I really liked, but thought the Bisbee story was interesting. We still haven’t been to Bisbee yet…😩.

    2. We are in Benson now and visited both Tombstone and Bisbee. Bisbee is a cool town with a cool vibe. Leaving for Tucson in the morning for a short stay.

    3. Bisbee has been on the list for years…twice this year we had reservations to take the MH there and both times we had to cancel. Fingers crossed for 2024!

  2. Sweet, sweet Sally! Glad she recovered quickly from the groomer trauma! Poor Joe--dang it! Hope he recovers as quickly as Sally did! Loved the photos of Tubac and your Christmas decorations. Those cookies look great!

    1. Good morning Janna. Tubac is especially pretty with all the luminaries and Christmas lights which makes for a special date night. It was our second year to go. It’s been hard for Joe to turn his head and he now has a horrible crick in his neck from the incision and stitches…other than that all is healing nicely. I love those cookies…a nice combo of sweet and salty.

  3. Sally looks adorable! You have some great events there, fun to see. Love the seed wreath and the cookies/mix. Good to hear you are enjoying the season.

    1. Good morning Jim…Sally is a sweet puppy. There is always something to do in Tucson and especially this time of year. I love Christmas!

  4. Two of my favorite places - you picked perfect times to visit both. Love the folklorico dancers, you got great shots!! Wonderful color and motion. Your errand days sound like mine :-))) Sally is just the cutest pup.

    1. Good morning Jodee…thank you. I love watching the folkloric ballet and it makes for a wonderful day to visit the gallery. We enjoyed “new to us” exhibits.

  5. Oh my gosh..the dancers! How beautiful! You captured the movement so well, and I absolutely love the expressions on their faces. I also really love your glasses. :) Thank you so much for writing your blog each week. It makes me feel (almost) like I'm there. Miss and love you both!!

    1. Thank you Jill…I love watching the folkloric ballet dancers. It’s their faces for sure and the swishing skirts that I love so much! And you are welcome…it’s a great way to keep a journal for me and I refer to it often. A trip down memory lane! We miss you too…looking forward to our next visit! Hugs to you three!