This is why I love New Mexico. A long ribbon of road, huge skies, and wide open spaces.
My road trip to Taos for Sas Colby's summer workshop is a five hour drive which means I do not have to approach the airport, brave security or put my seat and tray table in a locked and upright position. I can just hit the road with my iPod and a bag of chips. Yee haw! These first 3 shots I took by just holding my camera up to the window, with surprisingly good results. This is for professionals only, don't try this at home. Only do this when your 15 year old (leaning to drive) is NOT in the car with you.
Entering Taos from the north you begin to see Taos mountain, sacred to the Tewa indians that still inhabit the Taos pueblo. It's calm majesty inspired us. We stayed the week at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House, nestled under cottonwoods down a dirt road. If you are interested in local Taos history you may like reading, Edge of Taos Desert, by Mabel herself. It describes how she came to Taos in 1919, what inspired her, how she settled and met and married Tony Luhan (a Tewa indian) who built the house for her. She created a kind of salon (like she had in New York and Florence) and many notable artists like Georgia O'Keefe and DH Lawrence came and stayed with her.
This is the studio building and courtyard we worked in all week. Sas calls it The Studio in the Sky. And it certainly is. The central stuido is flanked by bedrooms, 2 floors, on either side. It's very convenient and the thick adobe walls kept our rooms cool when the studio got hot in the afternoon.
Our first morning we spent some time with scissors and black construction paper, abstracting and then abstracting again.
Without Mabel, be wouldn't have been there. Her love of beauty, courage and sense of adventure were with us all week. We made an evening pilgrimage to her grave nearby.
These reaching hollyhocks caught my eye on an early morning walk to the Morada.
Beautiful gates are everywhere we walked in Taos.
My compatriots walked ahead, their long shadows playing on the dark asphalt.
A roadside grave, just steps away from a little hispanic cemetery.
The flag was somehow caught on the cross, making it stand at attention. Interesting visual metaphor.
Looking towards Taos mountain in the early morning. The light playing so beautifully over pueblo land.
This Morada, while owned now by the University of New Mexico, is still used by a lay Catholic organization unique to New Mexico and southern Colorado – The Penitente Brotherhood or La Fraternidad Piadosa de Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno. The moradas are the buildings in which the Brothers meet and pray.
The black cross looking north towards it's white companion, on a strip of land (offered by the pueblo) for the re-enactment of the stations of the cross.
A rock cross on the way.
A tree's shadow playing on the morning grass.
Another class assignment with charcoal, matte medium and amber shellac. This piece got folded and made into a book.
Some other charcoal drawing assignments.
A classic New Mexico moment. Hollyhocks and a red pepper ristra framing a blue gate.
As I am putting this post together, I realize how often I shot shadows. This little scene is right outside the kitchen. I love the way the shadows play and the lines from the gate and ladder break the space.
This is a piece I worked on that I will blog about next. It involves a whole day's assignment.
A milkweed "star" – it smelled heavenly.
A garlic bloom about to burst, pointing it's way.
These little seed pod beauties begged to be photographed, not to be outdone by the milkweed.
An adobe lined lane, just on the edge of the Mabel Dodge Luhan house.
Beetles killed this pine, but left their labyrinthine pattern for me to enjoy.
One morning at breakfast I looked up to catch a raven circling this lapis sky.
Shadow of moi.
Yet another feathery grass shadow.
The light in New Mexico is very special, playing in a unique and breathtaking way.
Up next – more of the work we did in the workshop.