Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas 2014

This year's trip to the Santa Fe region is going to be Christmas in Taos! I'm leaving Dec 20 for Albuquerque, will spend two nights in SF, and then will drive up for a week at the Mable Dodge Luhan House with my friend Ellen and her family. We'll attend the Christmas dances at the Pueblo and who knows what else. Then I'll drive my (4-wheel drive) rental car down from the mountains and east across the plains to Lubbock, TX, where I'll spend New Year's wi Mark Charney and his family, eating and drinking and playing games and watching movies. Weather permitting, we'll take a trip north to Palo Duro Canyon and visit the town where Georgia O'Keeffe taught art and fell in love with the big sky of the West.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Last day in Santa Fe: Monday, Dec 2, 2013

Last day in Santa Fe: Monday, Dec 2, 2013

What a lovely last day!  Puttered around this morning, cleaning the casita, packing my bag, and gathering up stuff to be shipped by FedEx.  After I dropped my stash off, I went downtown, headed for Lucille's -- one of my favorite clothing stores.  You may remember a teal and magenta tie-dye skirt I am fond of wearing; that came from Lucille's.

On the way there I passed Margarete Bagshaw's gallery and decide to poke my head in.  I had fallen in love with her work last year and had visited the gallery in search of some kind of catalogue/ write up of her show on Museum Hill.  Met her husband Dan and bought a set of books on her and her famous mother, Helen Hardin, and her grandmother, Pablita Velarde -- both legendary Native American women painters

Pablita Verlarde, The Rainbow God

helen Hardin The Woman Series
  This time, however, the artist herself was there and we fell into quite a long and enthusiastic conversation.Another kindred spirit in the Santa Fe psychic convergence.  

As I thought, she loves Kandinsky. A mention of Woolf got her off talking about her mother-line series of female archetypes, 

and when I mentioned Clarissa Pinko Estes, she lit up like a Christmas tree and told me a long hilarious karmic story abt the Virgin of Guadalupe.  I got the catalogue of her latest show and a DVD of her discussing her feelings abt color.  They put me on their email list and gave me a free bookbag.  After I left, I realized that for the first time all day my shoulder and back weren't hurting ; it was like the positive energy just took out the knots.  Floating.

Walked down to Lucille's and met another formidable woman to stir my imagination, as Woolf says.  

Lucille herself was running the shop.

She's 72 and just entranced by color -- we connected immediately.  I just love what she buys.. Amazing stuff.  I spent an hour, not just trying on clothes but talking color theory.  This trip has been very different for me because of these connections with people.  Ive always loved this place/country, but for the first time I feel an actual network forming -- like these people would be my friends if I lived here.  Not that I want to leave my Pendleton peeps or my gorgeous studio.

I came back to the casita before I totally wore myself out with euphoria.  Ordered plates and plate oil for making monotypes and started writing out a series of notes on what I'd learned abt the process.  Looking through Margarete's show catalogue, I started having a brainstorm about how the layers in her painting remind me of monotypes and began planning a new series, my own "mother lines".  You'll see how it turns out. I have also been brooding for a month over the overwhelming experience of spending two evenings with my friend Pam looking through all of Dorothy Brett's paintings.  There is a kind of rhythm of repetition in her work that I know will be in the back of my head.

Now trying to chill out a bit so I can get a good nights sleep before traveling tomorrow.
Ready to settle in for a long spate of productivity.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Santa Fe -- days 9 & 10: Saturday Nov 30-Sunday Dec 1 (Monotypes with Sasha)

Santa Fe -- days 9 & 10: Saturday Nov 30-Sunday Dec 1

Except for disastrous Clemson game, yesterday was a pretty wonderful day.

Got up and put in a wash and ran over before breakfast to the Saturday farmers market to pick something up for Josh.  Quite a difference from last week which was slow and local; the tourists had arrived in droves, but I lucked into a street space and was able to get my business done expeditiously.

Went back for breakfast and ran a dryer cycle.  Was packing up car thinking I'd go to my monoprint studio at 4:30 straight from town, when a call from Sasha informed me that I had times wrong ( I swear they were reversed on web site) and class was starting at 10:30 AM.  I flew down the highway SW to Cerillios, the beginning of the Turquoise Trail, winding through great expanses of juniper past several roads named "coyote something," to a long dirt road winding to the studio. 
Sasha's Studio

 So much mud I had to park halfway down the driveway so I wouldn't get stuck coming out.   I worked on my black boots with cleaner and a brush for about 15 minutes this morning, but not sure they will ever be quite the same again.  Problem with only bringing yr favorite shoes.

View from Sasha's Studio

Sasha has same press as I do

I was the only one at the workshop, so being  late wasn't too bad -- there was a lot of stuff that Sasha didn't have to go over with me as I have already been well trained in studio technique.   (Thanks to Syd) My first couple of mono prints were pretty ordinary, but when I began to get the hang of reversing stencils, using the backsides which had picked up random impressions from previous layers, things started to get exciting. 
Print 3

Ghost of Print 3

Print 3: ghost of ghost wi reversals

Syd -- Sasha is going to try to get in touch with you.  She has  a 29 year old, level 4 dressage horse named Teddy.  Retired now, he has a companion goat named Shreck to keep him lively.  We broke halfway through the day's work to slog thru the mud to visit the animals.  The goat took to me immediately b/c I figured out his favorite scratching spots. 

 The horse not so much.  But today's gift of an apple made Teddy my friend too; I guess when a horse leans on you and licks yr hand it means they like you.... Lots of Sasha's prints are of horses.  She rode dressage for many years and used to take her prints to sell at big shows.  Here's her web site:

Sasha and I got along well.  I am very envious of her hair, which has wonderful streaks of dark red, orange, purple and white.  Too bad I'm only one more day in Santa Fe or I might fulfill my dream of getting green and purple stripes, though I'm not sure how that would go wi my current psychic trend towards red and black.

Had so much fun and made so much progress yesterday that we decided I'd come back today for a half day after going to the winter Indian market.  Got up pretty early this morning and was at the convention center at 10:00, before it had gotten at all crowded.  

Had plenty of time to stroll and chat at length with various artists.  Met a Navaho painter, Roland Chee,  who also does monotypes; we had a great talk: I showed him what I'd been doing and later went back and bought some prints from him ( digital prints; the real things start at $800 and go upppp from there).

Bought a little clay rabbit from a student, and a gorgeous silver and turquoise corn maiden pin.    Saw Debra, Preston Dewayne's wife but the plate of hers I liked was $1200.  I just find it really hard to shake my moderate ways with money....  Clearly many of the artists know one another; it's old home week with lots of chatting and hugging and joking with each other. And, well I just like Indians, or maybe it's that they are artists, but I felt particularly at home and at ease --like I belonged in some nearly spiritual way. I loved people's faces. Ah well, it's Santa Fe, city of psychic convergences.  

Brought a bunch of my extra food out to Sasha's and we spent an industrious afternoon as I learned some new dry printing techniques and did an exciting experiment wi chin colle (gluing on layers of Japanese rice paper to intensify color spots ).  With monotypes, first you create an image on a plexiglass plate, often with inked stencils on top of the plate. 

Print 4
Then after you've run the plate through the press once (Sasha has the same press as me, only a little bigger) and have pulled the print, you run it through again on new piece of paper to get the "ghost print," which is often a subtler, softer version. 
Print 4: Ghost

 Then you start flipping and/ or adding more stencils. The ones you flip have color on the back picked up from the plate and other stencils, so things can become quite complex. 
print 4: ghost of ghost with reversed stencils
 And you can ink another plate very lightly and print it back on top.  The process is pretty endless.  And pretty instantly gratifying.

  I can see how it will be a really fun diversion from woodcut, which takes a really long time.   Needless to say, I am really excited abt getting home and experimenting.  I grew so much in two days, it is intriguing to think how much more I'll discover.

Two Day's Work
Resting up now after two pretty intense days. Tomorrow is housecleaning day. I'll pack my bag and see how much I need to ship home and take the rest to Fed Ex. Trying to decide whether to put prints in my bag or mail them.... Bought a print from Sasha, of course.

It's been a wonderful trip, but looking forward to getting home and seeing many of you.  Though I may disappear into the studio for several days....

Love to all,

Santa Fe, day 8 -- Friday, Nov 29 (desultory shopping)

Santa Fe, day 8 -- Friday, Nov 29

Woke up with such a huge knot in my right shoulder blade I knew I needed a massage;made a10:30 appointment at Massage Envy where Erika worked it out.  Left feeling like my right arm could fly.

Since I was on Cerillios, I went on down to Artisan Art supply to buy paper and some other supplies (including a local apron) for to tomorrow's monotype workshop.  As a grown up I am alway delighted by how comparatively inexpensive art supplies are -- shades of being ten and wanting the giant box of crayons.

Went back to downtown Santa Fe for my ritual shop at Origins.  Got a couple of thing, but not so wowed.  Wandered around some more; went into Earth Spirits which has beautiful painted jersey tunics and tops.  Was grazing their racks when the other sales clerk arrived, a striking dark-haired woman who looked rather familiar.  It was the purple and green velvet girl from the Cowgirl last week.  We had a long happy chat about shopping and clothes.  Her two best friends are from South Carolina... Small world.

Santa Fe, Day 7 -- Thursday, Nov 28 (Thanksgiving)

Santa Fe, Day 7 -- Thursday, Nov 28

Spent much of the day in PJ's, lounging about, starting to read Death Comes for the Archbishop, watching Harry Potter marathon.  Not sure if I've read anything by Willa Cather before.  Really enjoying a certain lyrical sparseness in her prose which seems to echo the simplicity, clarity, and open horizon of this landscape.  Also fun to read history of places we've been visiting, and places like Acoma that I want to visit.

Finally got dressed around 5:00 and drove up to DeVargas mall to meet my cousin Marie and a couple of her friends to see Philomela wi Judy Dench, a quiet little movie which she endows with a good deal of grace and dignity.

When the movie was over, Marie and I went over to the bar at La Posada, a huge hotel/ spa in an old Victorian compound.  The bar was a series of inerconnected rooms with at least 12-foot ceilings.  Marie's favorite table looking out onto the patio was free.  

Santa Fe never seems to take down its white fairy lights and of course all the big hotels line their roof lines with luminaires, so it's always kind of magical.  We sat down to a  long talk abt family idiosyncrasies and our own personal histories, punctuated by sets from a local jazz trio, whose guitarist was an old friend of Marie's.  Remembering both Alma and my mother, who shared this date as their birthdays.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Santa Fe, day 6 -- Wednesday, nov 27 (Taos Museums)

Santa Fe, day 6 -- Wednesday, nov 27

Decided to drive back up to Taos.  Despite having been there several times, I'd never gone to any of the art museums.  Started out at the Harwoood. 

 Google girl took me around the rosie, through a bunch of windy back streets that's struck me as being much more the real old Taos than the over commercialized plaza area.
Hardwood had a big exhibit of photographs and paintings by its namesake, Burt Harwood.  

Particularly enjoyed the pictures of Taos Pueblo ceremonials in the 20's, roofs lined with  White women in big flowered hats.  

Generally like Taos School with its strong sense of color and line, but was disappointed to only find two paintings by Dorothy Brett, both rather idiosyncratic. One was from her "dynamic symmetry" period, a kind of geometric Zen mandala. 

  The other was a picture of airplanes filling the skies, encrusted wi bits of jeweled decoration.

They also had this famous portrait of Brett.

The next Museum I went to was the Taos Art Museum, housed in the remarkable home of Russian artist Nicolai Fechin.  

Besides being a painter, he was a woodworker who hand carved many of the architectural details such as closet doors and staircases and made much of the furniture.  I fell quite in love with the room he designed for his daughter.

Next headed north to the Millicent Rogers Museum, which I had been to before but enjoyed the second time around.  They had one of Brett's more characteristic big ceremonial pieces, The Buffalo Dance. 

 Looking at painting after painting with My friend Pam in Maine, I had begun to appreciate a wonderful sense of rhythmic repetition in Brett's work --extremely musical, especially considering her deafness.

Here are a couple of other Brett's taken from web sites.

Came home through a long sunset.  Tired but happy.  
Santa Fe day 5 -- nov. 26, 2013

Woke up at 6:30, still feeling somewhat sick with scratchy sore throat, so rolled over and slept in until 9:30.   Started taking Airboune, morning and evening.  About noon, drove up to Museum Hill where I spent some time at the Japanese Kite exhibit.

 Intrigued by connections between kites and woodblock, the number of prints with kite flying as subject matter and the connection between woodcut images and images on kites. 

Had Lunch at museum cafe but feeling sick enough that I didn't eat most of it.   Went down to La Fonda for some serious shopping at Passementrie

Stopped into a store on the plaza, idly looking for a red and silver bracelet.  Started talking to sales clerk about beautiful turquoise and magenta Christmas tree in the window. Found gorgeous bracelet, but $350 just too much. She must have seen that on my face, for the more I kept silent the more she lowered the price.  Is this why prices are so high? Is one supposed to bargain?  Finally stopped her when she'd gotten well below half of the original price --didn't want her not to make anything off the transaction.  Turns out her uncle was parish priest at Taos Pueblo; she used to go with him to services, chiefly because of the baskets of food and special treats they would give him. We exchanged electronic info ; she wants to read my articles about Georgia and Virginia.

Got home abt 4:30. Spent an hour or more wii Germaine, helping her figure out to configure new modem, but needed too plug into Ethernet and she hadn't brought a computer.  Spent rest of evening watching TV ( kind of glad I don't have MSNBC at home; I get so annoyed at political idiocies)