Sunday, August 29, 2021
Sunday, August 15, 2021
Sunday, August 1, 2021
1 August 2021 (Llano Quemado, New Mexico) - Sleepy Sunday afternoon. Actually a long nap sounds wonderful right now. Waiting for my yard helpers Gerald and Junior. These brothers have been helping me keep up landscape appearances for almost 20 years. Only needed to do the yard once last year - no real monsoon season. This is so different - rain almost every afternoon for over two weeks. Heavy blustery thunderstorms. The roof leaked over the canale out front and water poured in for a couple of hours the other afternoon.
Beyond grateful for the moisture. The weeds and grasses are high. Thinking this is the way it was before people bought their acres and built the few scattered houses in this place. In a dry year, there is silence. Now the sounds of weed eaters and mowers give off some very suburban vibes!
clouds start to pop up behind the mountains early in the morning. Big
window next to my easel with a view of Taos mountain and the surrounding
foothills. Absorbed by my work I forget to look out the window. When I do turn around - late morning - the view is heart-stopping!
Dropping my brushes, I grab my camera sit on the bench under the portal -
and try to remember to breathe!!! Most often the camera sits idle. In awe I watch the clouds form and listen to thunder in the distance.
Missing my birds today - they are silent - so unusual. Have they been exhausted by the storms and need to rest? Every morning about 4AM there is the rooster to the East and another to the West side of the house. Never annoyed to hear them crow - just grateful for another day in this place. They waken the first morning birds. Soon the chorus begins! One birdsong is so sweet and lyrical I stand still and listen. The other day there was a family of about seven birds perched on the fence in the back. One of the group got very cackly and it was obvious she was scolding them all (her nestlings?). There was an "Aw, heck" moment and they all flew away leaving her alone. She became quiet - they returned and she started in again very noisily letting them have it - they left and did not return! She was left to cackle on...
Joyful birdsongs surround the house from morning to dusk. When night falls the coyotes down by the river start to sing. How many days have I failed to look at the sky? How many beautiful days have I forgotten to stop and just listen? Grace has brought me to this place...
Thursday, July 15, 2021
MONSOON - (Llano Quemado, New Mexico) - 6"x8" Original Oil-Available
a man in the wrong atmosphere and nothing will function as it should.
He will seem unhealthy in every part. Put him back into his proper
element and everything will blossom and look healthy." ~LudwigWittgenstein
15 July 2021 (Llano Quemado, New Mexico) - 6:30 AM - Up with the sun this morning. It must have rained all night. This is definitely a real monsoon season! What a blessing! Opened my bedroom window - the birds are singing their happy songs - the morning air is fresh and sweet. This must be Heaven!
Celebrating two years in this house on the Llano. More rain yesterday afternoon. Looked out my studio window and saw an image just perfect for a painting. Photographed a wooden structure across the field - dark and wet against a hazy blue sky over the foothills. A shock of yellow-white weeds in front of the building. Going to sketch a small study today - paint it while the image is fresh in my mind. Thinking back through all my years in New Mexico, so many paintings just from looking out my windows - the front yard in Tesuque. Twenty-three seasons from the kitchen window (view toward the Pecos Wilderness) at the house on Santistevan Lane in Taos. I still miss that window! My private world! Now the wide open spaces of Llano Quemado - mountains, clouds, sunsets....
Have spent many afternoons this summer photographing the monsoon clouds building over Taos Mountain. So grateful for this time and place. Yes, I am in my "proper element". Now what? Paintings of clouds? Yes, maybe.
All of my new work has been consigned to Chimayo Trading del Norte, just down the road from me in Ranchos de Taos Plaza next to the old church, San Francisco de Asis. My studio walls are bare!
Took a short break after completing "Rio Chiquito" (photo below). Back at the easel. Working on smaller paintings. Some are studies for larger canvases. Think often of the old man who gave me his wooden box filled with paints and brushes when I was about eight years old. Wonder if he knows that his precious gift has sustained me for 74 years! (Blog post: My Old Artist)
Time to begin again. My last four paintings are the first in a new series - The Spirit of Place. How else can I begin to express the depth of my gratitude - the unhappy accident that led to this long journey so many years ago? Yes, another New Beginning...forever the Optimist!!!
Back to the easel - my daily practice. This house is peaceful and quiet. A good place to work. New palette with gobs of juicy color! How can I resist? Blank canvases, empty frames all over the studio - it is off to work!!
Sunday, June 20, 2021
17 May 2021 - ON MY EASEL TODAY - Works in Progress (Underpaintings) - RIO FERNANDO (New Mexico) 40"x30" and LOS CAMPOS DEL LLANO, 24"x30" Original Oils.
20 June 2021 - 6AM (Llano Quemado, New Mexico) - A month since I've posted. Joyfully returning to some semblance of normalcy. This was a week of firsts. A short field trip north to Cerro and Questa to scout for new material. Yesterday a really wonderful visit to Chimayo Trading Del Norte. Strangeness - a kind of fuzzy excitement. Like waking up on a new planet. No masks. So heartening to see people smiles and happy eyes!! A quiet sense of freedom - renewal.
Went in to sign a large painting and met Rebecca who works at the gallery every weekend. Met a great couple from Colorado who bought a small painting. Picked up my "birthday/Christmas" present - a beautiful Hopi Kachina "The Morning Singer" by Chester Poleyestewa. Owners of Chimayo Trading, Gabe and Alicia Abrums stopped in on their way to Chimayo. Gabe showed me several new and amazing acquisitions. I held a Navajo woman's dress - indigo and cochineal heavy weaving from the 1700's. More great weavings from that time...an unbelievable serape from Mexico, a Navajo child's blanket. Exciting conversation. Art talk - the joy of meeting people who speak my language!! The afternoon was topped off by a most welcome and drenching rainstorm and a nap!
Los Campos de Llano Quemado has been finished since my last post and Rio Fernando will be completed today or tomorrow. These new canvases are colorful and solid - good quality. Two weeks ago Gabe took eight new paintings to the gallery. My studio walls are empty. This is another New Beginning. I will be 82 in September. Have been roaming the back roads of northern New Mexico for 54 years. Deep gratitude. A good life! Earlier this year told Gabe I thought it was time for me to retire. Surprise, surprise - the spark is alive and well. A contract with myself to produce a series of new paintings - first are the two pictured above and earlier this year "Lazy River Dreaming" which has been sold. The working title of the series is The Spirit of Place.
Another adventure - an empty-handed leap into the Great Unknown. Purpose and meaning....
Saturday, May 8, 2021
25 April 2021 - Llano Quemado, New Mexico - Sitting in front of a blank canvas waiting to make that first brushstroke is exciting-much like opening the first page of a much anticipated book - it is a mystery, a surprise and you never know how it will end ......unless you begin! Real life is a mystery to me. It has taken many twists and turns and in many ways I've come full circle. Reading Ursula le Guin's book No Time to Spare - she takes the reality of the end of life head on. Me? I've decided to make another visit to my favorite place - The Dreamtime. That self-induced hypnosis from whence most of my work is created. I can hide and disappear into the paint and canvas - my own little world..
27 April 2021 - Some people might call a very still and quiet time - a time out - laziness. Have done three small studies since Cielo Azul was completed. Instead cleaned closets, did taxes and a hundred small jobs that hopefully will keep my life in order. All the while I've been gathering material for the new work. Varnishing and signing the small paintings today; they will be framed tomorrow. Blocking in a 40"x30" autumn painting - the Rio Fernando near Ojo Sarco. Gessoing about ten blank canvases. Preparation. Truthfully this time of "doing stuff" is the most fruitful. Working with my sources, I can visualize each finished canvas. This is the Dreamtime - that hazy headspace where all the paintings begin.
2 May 2021 - Climbed out of my hidey-hole today - a severe case of pandemic procrastination. Wrote to my daughter Sarah that creative work block is the artistic drought and sometimes all you can do is wait for rain! Almost convinced myself that it was time to quit - think it is the tail end of a panic attack. The second vaccine shot I took activated a lot of pain - lasted for a couple of weeks - slowed me down in a big way. A lot of rest time helped me to put things in perspective - what can I say - I LOVE TO PAINT! The gesso is all mixed up for the bare canvases - my intentions to do them last week was brave and courageous of me. A reality check - I got the taxes done, did loads of laundry and housework. Adjusting to my slower pace....back at the easel with great joy this afternoon! Sorted the material for four new paintings. Feeling good!
5/8/21 (Llano Quemado, N.M.) - IN THE STUDIO - PREPARING TO PAINT - A Toned Ground. Mix in aluminum can (not plastic!) - I use Jerry's Gesso (Artarama), acrylic Payne's Grey and water - not too thck and not to thin. It usually takes two coats for a good ground. I like a medium grey. Apply second coat only after the first is completely dry. A good start today!!!!
FIVE FINGER EXERCISES - Three new studies (now available at my Online Gallery/Store)
SAN JOSE DE GRACIA (Las Trampas, NM) New 8"x10"
THE LITTLE PINK HOUSE, (Ranchitos Road, Taos NM) NEW 8"X8"
Sunday, March 28, 2021
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