Within fifteen minutes of setting foot in Ruta Maya coffee shop (4th and Lavaca), I knew I had entered into a different universe then the one I had been inhabiting. I picked myself off my studio floor, started group therapy, and found a place of misfits and broken toys, like myself. There were days I would arrive at 9am and leave at 2am. I could work in situ, sometimes completing 6 paintings in a day. Curious patrons would stop to look at me working and sit for a portrait. It was a special time for friendship and productivity, when Austin was open to all. It was affordable and fun. I have romanticized this time and place more than any other in my life. The next couple of hundred paintings were all done, or completed at Ruta Maya.