After leaving Moab I can only say I knew I was headed for northern NM…nothing else. I drove south on 191 and down into Cortez, CO before I really decided a route. Made my mind up that I would go to Santa Fe and took the route down through Farmington toward Albuquerque. When I got to the 15, I headed north to Santa Fe. Along the way I traveled through areas I had been through several times before – through Shiprock with a glimpse of the monolith that resembles a huge ship on the desert, past the Native American Health Services Hospital that I worked on an installation of medical equipment and subsequently taught procedures to staff and on to Farmington following the San Juan River. Once getting on the 15 the pinion trees are prevalent and you get the sense you are heading to O’Keeffe country. I found a great rental for the rest of the month in the Pinion Hills of Santa Fe – north of the city in the near vicinity of the Opera House. The casita was hidden in among the trees and brush and near neighbors were blocked from view in the rolling hillside and vegetation. It was a great base from which I painted daily and took trips to Abiquiu, Taos, Tesuque, Hyde State Park, the inner city of Santa Fe and more. Several times I painted down in Santa Fe where there was a place for parking and setting up an easel. I worked on pastel and oil paintings. Sometimes I would get up in the wee hours and look at the surrounding area and shoot some photos and paint a little. That time just before sunrise is sort of magical and I have a favorite snapshot of the new moon overhead with the roof lines and tree branches framing it. I painted plein air every day and loved it. I spent one day not painting, but in Albuquerque in Old Town visiting artists and galleries and waiting for Les to fly in to SkyPort on evening. It was fabulous to see his smiling face at the curb of the luggage level of the airport that evening.
After Les got into town, we did a car trip to Los Alamos and other points near and in Santa Fe before leaving to drive back to the northwest. We decided our route should include Zion Nat’l Park and spent a couple of days in the St. George, UT area exploring it. Not enough time. The Zion Paint the Sketchbook of Thomas Moran was going on and points that he had painted were marked throughout the park with artists set up and painting these points once again.
Some of the most interesting things about the southwest are the colors of the landscape – so many rich tones and colors, the architecture with most interesting passages, stoas, drives, fences and colors. The other thing in fall is the color of the trees and brush. The cottonwoods were absolutely aglow in eye piercing golds and yellows as were the Chamisa growing to all sorts of heights and bloom from grayish white to brilliant yellows. The color was like frosting on a cake…the dress up…I loved it.
Next year the Colorado Plein Air Painters will go to Taos in May…I was invited…man, that is tempting!
Wenaha Gallery in Dayton is hosting my plein air show next week – 20 some paintings of the journeys…if you are in the area, stop in…it’s the Christmas Kickoff for Dayton and Andrea Lyman will show her jewelry at the opening as well – Friday, Nov. 25, 4-7.
In the meantime…happy painting…