rie muñoz
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Life is good for Rie these days. In her cozy condo, she sleeps until 8 am sometimes, makes herself a cup of coffee and reads the Juneau Empire newspaper in her robe and pajamas. After that, she'll have an English muffin with cheese or marmalade and perhaps another coffee.

The food store is about three blocks away and Munoz walks there a few times a week. She also likes to walk the quarter mile to the senior center to have lunch with friends.

Rie and Matthew watching the sunset at Lena Cove
On other days, she'll hop in her Toyota Prius and drive (yes, she's still driving!) "out the road" to pick up mail at the Rie Munoz gallery, visit friends in the Pioneer Home, or go to the Fred Meyer store. She doesn't drive when it's getting dark or during rush hours. (Rush hours in Juneau are like one city block of traffic down south so it's not that bad.)

At least once a week we all get together for dinner. Sometimes it's at a restaurant, or we'll cook "out the road" at our place. In winter, with the shorter days, Rie will drive the 16 miles before it gets dark, have dinner and spend the night in our cabin. It's about 40 yards from our house, overlooking the cove and an eagle's nest, (see Lena Cove lithograph). After breakfast, when it is light enough, she packs up her overnight suitcase and goes home.

It was on one of these mornings that Rie brought her suitcase to the front of her car without putting it inside. She went inside to say goodbye and when she came out, the suitcase was gone! We couldn't imagine that a "no-good-nick" would steal the suitcase at 8 am in a nice rural neighborhood. In addition to her toothbrush, a change of clothes, and a few cookies, one of her valuable sketchbooks was inside, none of which could be found! On the following day, I expanded the search area and found the suitcase in the neighbor's bushes. Rie's belongings were scattered about the woods, soaking wet.

I noticed bear teeth marks in her suitcase and figured out the rest of the story. The bruin was very close when Rie put the suitcase in front of the car. He snatched it, unzipped it by the way, and ate the cookies and toothpaste. He showed no interest in the Rie Munoz sketches. I salvaged the drenched sketchbook and put paper towels between each page of sketches before they stuck together. While Rie still uses both the suitcase and the sketchbook, she is more cautious with her belongings in our unsavory neighborhood.

Rie travels to Tenakee and stays about one month a year in her cabin on Chichagof Island. The town of one hundred is known for the mineral hot springs that are 105 degrees year-round. The springs are located a mere 75 yards from Rie's cabin and she takes a daily bath at 9 am sharp, the start of women's hours. On her last trip, Rie had to kick out three commercial fishermen who had stayed in the bath too long! She bragged about it later to a group of women and they said that, yes, it was their husbands.


Rie Munoz, 90, has put down her brushes with the exception of an occasional family picture for fun. One of these is Matthew on his first trick or treat adventure! We headed downtown on a rainy and windy night. As we drove silently in the darkness, Matthew, dressed as his favorite superhero, said in a serious voice, "Dad, Spiderman is a little nervous about trick or treating." When Rie heard the story she had a good laugh and painted the scene.


We all went to Tenakee last August to celebrate Matthew's 5th birthday party. We invited all local or visiting kids in Tenakee and their parents. The party included a fish pond, pinata, bobbing for apples, and was topped off with the spectacular sight of a pod of whales bubble net feeding in front of the lawn where the kids played.

Juan, Matthew and Cathy - August 13, 2011
During the same weekend we enjoyed fishing together. The bite was on and it was a beautiful sunny day. Mercedes, back from college for the summer, was actually excited to go fishing with me again.


All of us in the Munoz Family; Rie, my wife Cathy, daughter Mercedes, Matthew, and myself wish you and your family a great upcoming holiday season.

Thank you for your interest in the artwork of Rie Muñoz!


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