Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Big Move: Welcome to Inspiration Studios!

Art has a way of taking over our space, if we let it.  It was time for a move.  I've purchased a building that will become the new home for my studio and for Erico's Gallery, beginning January 2014.  It will also have a space for others to display their art.  I'm so looking forward to operating the new Inspiration Studios in West Allis, Wisconsin.
Inspiration Studios.... new home for Erico's Gallery
Please visit the Inspiration Studios website for information about upcoming exhibits and theatre performances:  www.inspirationstudiosgallery.com

Friday, November 15, 2013

What's Inspiring?

Whether it's from a mountain top or a bridge or an airplane window, the view is always something to behold, something that leaves us in awe of all that is around us.  It can take one's breath away or fill it with melancholy.  -Erico
"From Above" (acrylic on canvas, 6"x6") Nov 2013
"Just Passing Through" (acrylic on canvas, 6"x6") Nov 2013

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wood Paintings...

I find it interesting to see what a flat piece of wood can lead a person to create.  The challenge was to use something less traditional as my painting surface.  I chose several 12"x24" pieces of wood and saturated them with a variety of water colors.  In one case, I found that the watercolors effectively turned this into a surprising piece of art and created the mountain landscape seen here.
"Mountain View" (watercolor on wood, 12"x24") Nov 2013
The second piece took on something more when I began to add dabs of acrylic paint over the watercolor.  It wasn't at all what I intended to create, but became another sort of landscape, a skyline.  I can't help but ask:  Is this a city in flames, perhaps?  -Erico
"Skyline" (watercolor & acrylics on wood, 12"x24") Nov 2013

Saturday, November 9, 2013

"Lifeline" (acrylic on wood, 12"x24") Nov 2013
The ups and downs, the joys and sorrows, the highs and lows.... they all make for beautiful and painful and joyful and sorrowful memories.  We each have one lifeline, inspired by those occasions that fill our soul and our heart.  Its connection with other lifelines is art.  As a result of its display in Sheboygan for the Holiday Show & Sale, this piece has generated such a wide variety of responses because of its similarity to sound waves and a heartbeat.  One person asked about the possibility of having it printed on a t-shirt, which prompted others to say that they would love to purchase one.  So t-shirts are on their way, as well as greeting cards.  Wearable and usable art--what a great idea!  -Erico  

Thursday, September 26, 2013


We live in a world that is, quite actually, well balanced.  We, however, cause imbalance and imperfection.  And nature instinctively seems to fight us to achieve the balance that the world craves.  It's an interesting arrangment we have with this thing called "universe" and we certainly take advantage of what our world has to offer.  But we seem to take advantage of its generosity to excess.
   My fascination with trees continues to grow.  When did this begin?  While I was landscaping my backyard with 24 trees?  Or planting all the trees in front?  Or landscaping homes of family members and friends?  Their abundance, their offerings, their integration into the world's lanscape...all of this fascinates me!  And my mind's eye wants to explore them on canvas some more.  So here are a few of my latest.    -Erico

"Tree of Plenty" (acrylic on canvas, 10"x20") Sep 2013

"Tree of One" (acrylic on canvas, 10"x20") Sep 2013

"Tree of the Golden Sun" (acrylic, 6"x8") Sep 2013

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Behold The Cross...

"Behold The Cross" (acrylic on canvas, 24x30")  Sep 2013
My church, St. Francis of Assisi, requested items to be auctioned during a golf outing and dinner reception that will help raise funds for the many programs run for our faith community.  Deciding what would be appropriate for a silent auction was a bit of a challenge.  That challenge fueled some energy and "Behold The Cross" was my contribution.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Eye Of The Storm...

"Eye Of The Storm"  (acrylic on canvas, 36x36")  Aug 2013
We've been spared in the midwest from some of the stormy weather that engulfs our planet.  But those tornadoes and hurricanes and tropical storms felt around the globe take their toll on the land and water that surrounds and nurtures us.  The earth feels their impact.  So do the inhabitants.  Nothing is spared, nothing is gained, nothing is really lost.  It's all recycled and balanced once again.  -Erico

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Inspirational Travel...

This past week led me to the wonderfully colorful landscape of Door County, where I was inspired by fields of green and willowy landscapes and quaint art-filled towns and flowing water.  Sturgeon Bay, Egg Harbor, Fish Creek....all of these little towns in the Wisconsin peninsula provided me with the tranquility, the air, the music, the art, the sounds...of peace.  It was splendid travel, filled with blessings.  -Erico
"Rain Down" (acrylic on canvas, 16x20") July 2013

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

New Territory...

"Facing the Demons"  (acrylic, 8x10")  2013

"Strike a Pose"  (acrylic, 8x10")  2013
I've been thinking quite a bit about the different ways in which one can represent ideas, translating them from the mind's eye to a painted canvas.  These two pieces have received mixed reviews, not in terms of their presentation, but rather in terms of their content or perceived messages.  They are unsettling images.  They are translations from within.  -Erico  

Monday, June 17, 2013

Full Spectrum: A Celebration of Art Through Color...

Three Milwaukee Riverwest artists have joined forces to present a vivid exhibit in full color at The Jazz Gallery.  Brian Hibbard (http://hibbard.daportfolio.com/), Todd Mrozinski (http://toddmrozinski.com/) and Erico Ortiz (http://www.ericosgallery.blogspot.com/), all members of the Riverwest Artists Association, have assembled a featured members exhibit that highlights their use of color in their paintings.  Rather than singling out each artist's work and artistic style, their works are intermingled and displayed as a spectrum of color across the room, which prompted the title of the exhibit: FULL SPECTRUM.  From abstract to street art to landscapes to textile paintings, this exhibit offers the viewers an inspired display and a range of subject matter.  -Erico

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Morning Glow...
"Morning Glow" (acrylic on canvas, 36x36") May 2013
This photo is a detailed close-up of the centerpiece for my latest exhibit ("Scapes") which opens in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, this Friday, May 31.  It is surrounded by a series of new, much smaller sun and moon paintings.  Photo is courtesy of Frank Juarez.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Natural Beauty...

We are drawn to water. We are shaped by the sands of time.  We are drawn toward nature's gardens and sunny meadows.  Nature's beauty has its hold on us....forever!  -Erico
"Lost At Sea" (acrylic on canvas, 8x10") May 2013 

"Sand Sculptures" (acrylic on canvas, 8x10") May 2013
"Waves" (acrylic on canvas, 8x8") May 2013
"Floral Pond" (acrylic, 8x10") May 2013
"Golden Meadows" (acrylic on canvas, 8x10") May 2013

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

SVA Small Works Project...

"Snap, Crackle, Tops 2" (acrylic, 8x10") May 27, 2013
"Kay's Storm" (acrylic, 8x10") May 8, 2013
"Heartfelt" (acrylic, 8x10") May 3, 2013
"Experiment in Color" (acrylic, 8x10") May 23, 2013
Each year the Sheboygan Visual Artists hold an event called the Small Works Project:  Sheboygan-Visual-Artists-Small-Works-Project.  While its certainly a fundraiser for the organization, it's also a means of providing the opportunity to make art and own art at a very reasonable cost for anyone.  Over 300 paintings, all 8x10", are displayed and those who attend the huge August exhibit purchase a $20 raffle ticket whose number identifies the painting they will take home.  These are my contributions so far. -Erico

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

SVA Juried Membership Show...

Monday, April 22, I received word that two of my paintings have been juried into the Sheboygan Visual Artists' 6th Annual Juried Membership Show.  Very exciting to have two pieces selected by the jurors for inclusion in this show which opens this Friday, April 26.  -Erico

"Montanas Nevadas" (acrylic on canvas, 16x20") 2012
"Empty Bowl" (watercolor on paper, 8x10") 2012
"Empty Bowl" was juried into the membership show...then it received an Honorable Mention Award from the jurors...and then it SOLD!...at the SVA-s-Members-Show-April-26-2013

Honorable Mention Award by the jurors of the 6th Annual SVA Membership Show, 2013

Open the following link for photos of this great event along with a list of all the award winners:  SVA-Membership-Show-at-EBCO-Artworks

Friday, March 29, 2013


Looking forward to arrival of spring, the bursts and blossoms and colors of new birth will come forth from the earth.  We wait in hope of warmer, calmer weather.  -Erico

"Vines"  (acrylic on canvas, 16x20")  Feb 2013

Sunday, March 3, 2013


The colors of the soil... lines drawn in the sand... the shadows of night... the hints of light... the paths we take... the obstacles we encounter.... All encompass the roads we cross to get to the other side.  -Erico

"Crossroads" (acrylic, 22x28") Feb 2013 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Nature's Playground...

On January 25, I had the pleasure of painting live during Milwaukee's Art Jamboree at the new Downtown Garden Hilton.  It was fun to be in the middle of an explosion of the arts:  dance, theatre, fashion, music, and so much more.  While it was a challenge in many ways, it was also an opportunity to learn about the ways in which sights and sounds affect what I paint.  With comments and suggestions from people all around me, the following were created that night.  -Erico

"Nature's Playground 1" (acrylic on canvas, 16x20")  Jan 25, 2013

"Nature's Playground 2" (acrylic on canvas, 16x20")  Jan 25, 2013

"Nature's Playground 3" (acrylic on canvas, 16x20")  Jan 25, 2013

Friday, January 11, 2013


The biggest risks we take are those of living and dying.  Both appear to be one and the same.  We emerge from the womb and face the challenges that deter us and yet help us become stronger.  The theme of Village Church's Gallery Night/Day exhibit (Jan 18-19) was "A Celebration of Truth Tellers and Risk Takers."  That theme inspired this piece.  -Erico

"Ultimate Risk" (acrylic on canvas, 16x20") Jan 10, 2013

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Is it music that fills my head?  Is it the sound of sirens or the sounds of children playing on the sidewalk?  Is it the ringing in my ears?  Scales is the only title I could connect to this piece.  Purchased by a former student and friend, this piece will one day adorn her home in Japan.  -Erico

"Scales" (acrylic on canvas, 24x30")  Jan 8, 2013

On Monday (Jan 7), I had the pleasure of meeting a great photographer, Jeannee Sacket.  (http://www.jeanneesacken.com/home/about.html).   Jeannee and I will be sharing space at The Village Church during Milwaukee's Gallery Night/Day, January 18 & 19.  Her work is a wondrous display of photographs she has taken of women from indigenous tribes in Central America.  Their stories are heart-wrenching, but filled with hope.  They challenged me.  They moved me.  They inspired me to paint the following piece.  -Erico

"Floristas"  (acrylic on canvas, 16x20")  Jan 8, 2013

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Fitting In...

How do we make it happen?  How do we learn to adapt to the environment, the culture, the expectations?  Do we follow the rules and norms of societal demands?  Do we claw away at those demands that challenge our natural state of being?  Or do we fall in line because it's what we are expected to do?  How do we learn to simply fit in?  -Erico

"Fitting In"  (acrylic on canvas, 24x36")  Jan 4, 2013

I've been thinking about families lately, particularly about my family.  Coming from a very large family, it's quite surprising to see how life's changes have caused a lot of separation, both physical and emotional.  I suppose it's a fact of life.  People grow apart.  Families grow into their own.  Siblings create their own families, pulling away from the one in which they were raised.  This is for my family, all of you, regardless of distance.  -Erico

"Family"  (acrylic on canvas, 16x20")  Dec 2012