Friday, July 29, 2011

Being in New Mexico

Late Tuesday night I returned from a much needed ten day vacation in New Mexico with my sister, Jan. For years I’ve wanted to go there, so months before the trip I was excited when we put together the itinerary for Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Taos. Before I left, everyone I spoke to who had been there told me how much they loved it. Still, I was amazed by the magic in the air. What a place! If you’ve never been to the southwestern state, think about going. For artists and art lovers it’s heaven. I never experienced anything like it before except maybe in Florence, Italy. Art, art galleries, and museums are everywhere.

On the Turquoise Trail, the scenic drive from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, we stopped in a small town called Madrid, which was filled with beautiful art galleries. There I discovered Joyce Dant a New Mexican landscape artist whose work I adored. If I could have afforded one of her oils I would have bought one on the spot. She is someone I will follow. Madrid was the taste of what was yet to come in Santa Fe.

The museums in Santa Fe were a pleasure. Highlights were the American Indian Museum of Art and Culture and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, and perhaps the most unusual was the International Folklore Museum. In the Indian Museum I discovered Tony Da, an amazing potter and painter who is actually quite well known but new to me. Indian art is everywhere in New Mexico. Jan suggested it may be the energy emanating from the many pueblos up and down the Rio Grande that has created the artistic scene and may explain Canyon Road.

Though Santa Fe has hundreds of galleries, the largest concentration is on Canyon Road which runs for blocks and is lined on either side of the street with one fabulous gallery after another. There are no shops or boutiques and very few restaurants, just paintings and sculpture. We spent hours exploring the galleries and taking photos of the street. Between the museums, fine art galleries, and abundant Indian art sold on the streets and in shops and studios, I don’t know when I have seen so much art in one place. It was inspiring. In fact, when we visited Georgia O’Keeffe’s home, studio, and Ghost Ranch and a few days later visited the Taos pueblo, home of the Tiwa tribe, I took many pictures that I may have to paint.

I have been working on a manuscript for over a year called The Fabulous Art Scene, A Guide to Fine Art in Florida’s Palm Beach County. I am really excited about the book and the art in Palm Beach County and on the Treasure Coast, but we have a long way to go to match the art community in New Mexico. Still I will remain in Florida and continue to publicize our art and artists with hopes that someday our region will be as impressive.

The photo above right is an adobe in the Taos pueblo. I can’t wait to paint the turquoise door and the bright blue sky against the light brown structure. The photo on the left is of a flower that reminded me of Georgia O’Keeffe. I think I will paint a collage style oil in homage to her.