Monday, July 22, 2013

Santa Fe Plein Air

" When setting a scenery, the tableau, if placed in the country side, should be abundant with animals to suggest well being. One should also populate the yarde with powltry as well. This will enliven the display and attract the Patron." - 'Treatise on Content and Composition' by the Compte de Roget, 1745.

I recently took an adventure trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico. I went there to participate in a plein air event sponsored by the Plein Air Painters of New Mexico.

The event featured a week of painting on-site in and around Santa Fe and culminated in a show at the Gary Kim Gallery. At this posting you can still view the show digitally by going to the Gary Kim Gallery website.

What I value about well-planned plein air events is that they promote and acquaint artists to key scenic areas in the regions in which they are held. I found out that even in places that I thought I knew well I was directed to some scenic spots that I didn't even know about.

I had been visiting Santa Fe for decades and was pleasantly surprised to find intriguingly beautiful vistas unknown or overlooked before.

These group events also present many opportunities to paint with and collaborate with a variety of other artists. Although I do not consciously study other painters' techniques there is always an osmosis that occurs when painting with others. I also consider it a sort of cross- pollination. Whether it is through observation or critique I am always surprised and pleased when new insights and inspiration emanate from these associations.
I was graciously invited to stay with my friend and artist Roger Williams and his great setup on the outskirts of Santa Fe. He has a great house, great view, attached studio and greenhouse. All the comforts any freeloader could hope for!
Roger was able to come out and play.
We had great times acting goofy and painting on location. I picked up a lot from Roger during my visit. I am a visceral painter and often end up with subconscious visual traps such as repetitive shapes and annoying linear aberrations. Roger is more analytical and his discerning eye helped repeatedly in my paintings. He reminds me that although the trip may be exciting, it also has to make sense.

Here are a few selected pieces (survivors) from the Santa Fe trip.

"Cienega Morning" oil on linen 9x12
We painted this in the early morning from Louisa W. Martinez's veranda. La Cienega is west of Santa Fe and I found it a very enticing area. This is an area of juniper- studded arroyo hills above green laced river bottoms. This piece offered an opportunity to paint the intriguing dry hillsides with early morning tree shadows.
" El Zaguan Garden"  oil on linen  12 x 9
I had wandered by these enchanting grounds along Canon Road for many years and never new the story behind it - or had the opportunity to wander around and paint it.

" Cienega Hills" 9 x 12
This was my first painting on the trip and was a " find" while motoring aimlessly about on the back roads. A local realtor stopped to admire my work- and to try and sell me the house that is opposite this view. I offered a straight trade for my car- he declined the offer.
" Ranchos from Under the Cottonwood" 9 x 12
I explored Ranchos De Las Golondrinas on a very hot afternoon and found this view of the old walled compound from under an ancient and shady cottonwood. I brought the piece back to Roger's and thought it lacked something. I mentioned that the latia fenced structure was a chicken coop- so we decided that a fowl or two would spice up the scene (see quote at the beginning). I put several birds in the piece but because of the small scale I felt the one rooster was sufficient and took the others out.

Lots more to paint in Santa Fe!

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