Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Saturday, January 26, 2019
Thursday, January 24, 2019
Studio No. 519 - LAS SOMBRAS DE SECO (Arroyo Seco, New Mexico) - New 10"x8" Original Oil on Italian Gessoed Panel - Preview/Purchase.
Wednesday, January 23, 2019
Studio No. 119 - AUTUMN FIELDS AT RANCHITOS (Taos, New Mexico) - New 60"x36" Original Oil on Belgian Linen, Framed - Preview/Purchase
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Sunday, January 20, 2019
Friday, January 18, 2019
SANCTUARY OF PADRE MARTINEZ (Martinez Hacienda, Taos, New Mexico) - 60"x50" Original Oil on Belgian Linen, Gallery wrap - free shipping - Preview/Purchase.
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Monday, January 14, 2019
Sunday, January 13, 2019
Saturday, January 12, 2019
Up early. The sun rose through a bright yellow band of clouds over the mountains towards Pecos. Joyous! Worked all day yesterday to prepare the house for some rather serious hours at the easel. Coming out of the longest period of "creative work block" I can remember in all the years I have been painting. Starting over. Have likened this waking up time to a ballerina recovering from a broken toe - muscle memory needs prodding - the first steps are hesitant and slow.
My painting "Two Cows in a Winter Field on Christmas Morning" was completed last spring. Friends Doug, Seamus and I had a wonderful eggs & green chile Christmas breakfast and then took a long drive through the villages north of Taos. I was hemmed in and couldn't get out of the car; Seamus took the photo of a large herd of cows in a winter field. For months I stared at the photo and then isolated these two in a rather abstract composition. Finally I felt a spurt of inspiration and I began to lay in the paint. When the painting was completed, I knew that I was capable of moving into a new phase of my work. Mistakenly consigned the work to Gabe at Chimayo Trading. Two days later I was back at the gallery asking him to give it back to me. He reluctantly took it off the wall and let me have it. Good Gabe! It is still hanging in my living room and I am loathe to let it go. In my life and my work, the road ahead is a mystery. I believe this painting is a "life arrow" - a signpost.
Laying out a new palette of juicy colors this morning. So many pieces in front of me half finished. The little studies from my trip to Truchas. I need to get acquainted with my brushes again - my motor memory - how they feel in my hand. Once it begins it is like waking up to life again. For a long time after John died I really didn't want to live. Every day it felt as though I was just clinging to the edge of a cliff. What changed? Healing comes in phases. It doesn't happen all at once. The deep grief diminishes - except when it hits when I least expect it. Yesterday when I was "doing the things in life which must be done" I felt a sense of wholeness. An old and sorely missed friend. Order out of chaos - the return of purpose and meaning.
Would love to start out with a large and profound landscape this morning, but like that wounded ballerina, I need to exercise - stretch - take those small baby steps of a brand new beginning. Setting a goal for myself. Complete some of those studies and get them to Gabe by the end of February. One step at a time, one day at a time.
My friend and helper, Doug Yeager, is coming by on Saturday to photograph two large canvases which I completed last year. One canvas is 60"x36" - "Autumn Fields at Ranchitos". I want a photo of me standing beside it. The painting is a meditation of a place near Middle Road. Whenever life would get too hectic, I would get in my pick-up truck and climb the hill overlooking this little valley. Silence, calm - a quiet heart. Small hypnotic brushstrokes....colors of the earth. Meditation - peace.
The frames for these paintings have been leaning against the wall of the studio for almost six months, the result of my creative brain freeze. Will varnish the paintings and Doug will help me frame them next week. Time to fill up the studio again....perhaps my Art Gods still have some surprises in store for me. Who knows? What I do know is that one little canvas will often have inside of it a much larger inspiration. Progress, not perfection!
And more will be revealed....
"No one is as capable of gratitude as one who has emerged from the kingdom of the night. We know that every moment is a moment of Grace, every hour an offering" - Jakob Shekaneder
Life without drama is a gift from a chaotic universe. It doesn't happen every day, but when it does, blessings abound! This is the beginning of a new year - a time of revaluing, reorganizing - creating order and perhaps some new and healthier habits. (Smiling broadly as I wrote the words "healthier habits"). Ever since my move from the old house on Santistevan Lane where I accumulated 23 years of "Life", I have been clearing out the old. Half my household things were either sold or given away. After my son died living in Tesuque and Santa Fe no longer worked for me. Taos is my home and I needed to return. Another purge - pick-up truck loads of paintings and furniture to friends and family. I became obsessed with simplifying my life. Back in Taos - a smaller house with good working studio areas. Am looking around this morning and know that one more clear out will do it - some clothes, dishes - extra pots and pans. This feels so good!!! It is only common sense to clear out the clutter - don't leave a mess behind!
Those small studies I mentioned earlier are on the easel right now in various stages of completion. The first ten will go to Gabe Abrums at Chimayo Trading del Norte in Ranchos de Taos Plaza. Shortly after arriving back in Taos, Gabe sent an email asking if I would consider him as an agent to sell my work. Mainly he sells his own beautiful jewelry, native pottery and paintings from old Taos artists like Gene Kloss and Doel Reed. He has lived in Truchas and his wife, Alicia, is from Chimayo. It felt like a perfect fit for my paintings! More than once he has come to my studio looking for one painting and I ended up consigning 15 - leaving my walls bare naked! Without a doubt this is the best "gallery" connection for me ever!! They respect my work. And Gabe has been patient and sensitive enough to understand that sometimes I just need to sit and stare at my big toe. His sales of my work are consistent. He pays on time! I trust him! Grateful? You bet! New paintings for his gallery by the middle of February.
"All who wander are not lost". I have been a nomad. It is no secret that I was meant to live in this place for the past 52 years. Santa Fe, Taos and Truchas have given my life purpose and meaning. With all the speed bumps on my Road of Life, I can't imagine a better place to have live all this time. This land has always been a source of healing for me. Planning another road trip with great photographer and friend, Geraint Smith (www.geraintsmith photography.com). Kodak is producing Ektachrome slide film again. Six rolls were delivered from the Camera Shop in Santa Fe last week. Tears in my eyes to be able to work with my old camera with the Vivitar Zoom Lens. Digital is fine, but there is nothing like the rich colors from that old Kodak film! Working on the paintings from my trip this autumn. Now I want to take some photos in the snow. I love the winter landscape with a passion! Subtle colors - lavenders, grays, red willows - shadows on the snow! Planning another day trip - can't wait!
Groceries today - part of my weekly routine. Lift myself out of the "holidays". Straighten up my work area. Set up a new palette and dive in. Have the feeling there are still some surprises around the corner! One day at a time....
6 January 2019 - Another snowy Sunday morning - quiet, peaceful - just the friendly neighborhood crows making themselves known. Trying to convince myself that it is important for me to keep up with this blog and then I block it out for a couple of weeks. The urge to keep writing returns. It is a mystery to me....
Yesterday I read a short handwritten note to young women artists by the great abstract painter, Agnes Martin. I was inspired. Just now I found this editorial about her on HOW TO BE AN ARTIST. She talked about living life above the line - finding a level of happiness. My current word for happiness is "contentment". Perhaps that is my struggle with these blog posts. I am recalling some very sad and painful times. Strangely the sad times fed the art. Are these writings a way for me to understand how even the painful times led to a greater commitment to my work?
My beautiful son, John, died on Christmas Eve four years ago. He was 49. Each holiday season since has been a struggle to keep myself out of that black pit of despair so familiar to any parent who has lost a beloved child. Perhaps this is where I hit the wall. I am remembering all the other difficulties, trying to convince myself that I can live through this one, too. In the holidays since his death I have invited friends over. I realized that I was trying to prove that tragedy happened, but I was still okay. It is those desperate, sweaty attempts to still be okay" which end up being my downfall. It is a distraction and a cover-up. Finally I knew I had to go it alone and just face my feelings of loss and sadness. Got my groceries in for the duration, cut off the phone calls and just let myself grieve! It is indescribable!
It is obvious to me now that this part of my life is the biggest blank canvas I have ever put on my easel. There is no roadmap. Will this "thing" - my Art Thing save me one more time? I don't know. I am no longer young and not as resilient as I was before. In all my years of painting last year was my least productive. My feelings caught up with me. Truthfully I gave in to the sorrow. The short trip I had with my friend Geraint recently wakened a little spark. 200 photographs of my favorite places in and around Truchas resulted in about 15 small underpaintings - studies from that trip. Am I inspired yet? I don't know.
The River of Creation - Years ago whenever I felt stuck for ideas or energy, I imagined this fast moving river that flowed under everything. In those dark waters were all the thoughts, ideas, inspirations that came to my favorite artists - Degas, Cassatt, Van Gogh, Rodin - too many to count; I was comforted to know that their sparks of creation would always be there every time I needed to feel that fire in my belly. What I know for sure is that it takes that first step to begin again. Making art is the way I breathe - it is my wholeness. My word for this year is "Grace" - I have been lifted up through many difficulties - it is time for me to just allow and trust my Art Gods one more time.
Have no idea where this will take me - my intentions are to be clear and honest. Since this is another place of profound change, perhaps I need to just move forward for a time....and refer to my past experiences more incidentally....stream of consciousness seems to be working for now.
A new year - my place of New Beginnings - empty-handed leap into the Great Unknown.....