A Map and A Mule

A Peace Story of Queen Isabel of Portugal

“A Map and A Mule”… isn’t it an interesting combination of words? Well, this is certainly what I thought when Eric Timar contacted me the first time, in October 2012, asking if a certain painting of mine would be available for a book cover.

“Hello Miki — would it be possible to get a jpeg version of Serpa Portugal 27, in order to use it in a book? This will be a children’s book about Queen Isabel of Portugal. Queen Isabel helped draw the border of Portugal, and one town in question was Serpa, and there I see your painting . . . thank you…”

I get contacted regularly from people and companies wanted to use my paintings for many different projects, but I especially loved this one. I love books, I love children’s stories and this one seemed very original to me! I accepted, and had to do a little bit work on it according to Eric’s wishes:

“… There are many other towns that were affected by the border that Isabel helped create, but I am picking Serpa as a focus since it will be easy for American parents and children to pronounce …A couple of other issues: Since I want to show Serpa as it might have looked in 1297, I would have to use only the portion of the piece that does not have antennas (unfortunately). That means I would crop out the right of the piece. Would that be okay?”

As Eric said: unfortunately. I really did not want to crop the painting because of some antennas, and I proposed to take the antennas down. As I explained to him, I often have to do similar work on some paintings to make them exactly fit the requirements. Some people might think that it is like selling my soul, but personally I love to do that, it gives the painting a totally new life. So, I took the antennas down, and then we started speaking about the back cover. And this how, as one idea followed another, not only the antennas were down, but a tiny little woman riding a mule appeared in the painting…

… and became the star of the back cover!

The book is published now, out on Amazon, and I have even received my personally dedicated copy from Eric. It really is a lovely book, and I am glad to be part of it.

Also, I remember exactly when I did that painting.We were in our Boomobile (our atelier and music studio on wheels) on a painting trip through Portugal, we had come through Serpa by accident and liked it so much that we had decided to stay there until the end of the trip. I drew a lot in this place, and this one especially was made on the outskirts of Serpa, while we were on a bike ride. I remember exactly me sitting on the ground in front of that beautiful town and thinking how lucky I was to be able to witness and paint all that. But I would have never imagined that this sketch would one day, more then 3 years later, make the cover of an American children’s book! Life is so full of surprises, it is wonderful!

Eric has even set up a beautiful Facebook page for “A Map and A Mule”, so please feel free to go there and to like it! 🙂

This painting, and also many other paintings from Serpa and Portugal in general, are available directly online as Giclee print in many different dimensions, on paper, canvas and metal, and also as greeting cards. Please click on the button below to access my

FAA store


The Giclee prints from the above mentioned Online shop are manufactured in the USA and sent directly to the client from there. For personal or financial reasons it might not be appropriate for everybody to order their prints in the USA. Also, you might prefer to purchase my Giclee prints hand-signed. If so, you can alternatively order directly from me. Simply contact me indicating in which size. Go to

Goodaboom Boutique

to see a guideline of pricing for different dimensions.

I also sell A3 posters (297mm x 420mm) as high quality digital prints on a Heavyweight White 350gsm paper, each packed in cello with card stiffener.

Poster Price: 50 euros.

They are a great alternative to the Giclee prints, to a more affordable price.

(the price does not include packing&shipping)


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