Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Plein Air Adventures- or- What Do Ya Think Yer Doin?

Quite often in painting on location, I set up in places that at first appear to be out of the way and quiet.
Many times, although they may not seem to be so, I have set up in spots that turn out to be on private land (or perceived to be private land) and thus am "challenged" as to- "what da you think yer doin' ?" One painter related that he would load up 5 pound bags of potatoes (being from the San Luis Valley, major Potatoville) as bribes to soften property disputes with skeptical natives.

This painting site was off on the right of way along a county road in Conejos County, Colorado. It is on the way to my friend and painter Charley Ewing's home and I have traveled it many times. I have been drawn to this old adobe set off the road nestled in some fine mature cottonwoods and check it out every trip I take. The adobe has been a repeat subject matter for me, painting it several times.
So I set up for a larger plein air panel - 16 x 20, and, as anticipated, it took two days to capture the scene. I did not have any territory issues and being within the San Luis Valley, the potato bribe thing wouldn't have worked anyway. Like trying to sell ice to an Eskimo.
What did transpire- and a partial reason it took me two days to complete- was a steady stream of folks curious as to what I was doing. They would pull over and we would blab about the area, the many adobe remnants in the neighborhood and the verdant bottom lands saturated by the acequias coming off the Conejos River.
Several of the visitors were from the Espinosa and Mestas clans, two families that pioneered this area coming up from what is now New Mexico in the 1800's. So here are some other historical tidbits that I learned during both painting days:
- The county road CR 17 is known as Espinosa Lane, named after the now-sixth-generation community that peppered the area with farmsteads, many older homes now abandoned and melting back into the earth.
- There was an attempt to renovate the adobe closest to my paint site, although not the subject of the painting. There was such an infestation of "water" snakes (garter) that they gave up.
- The subject of my painting was an original Espinosa family building, now vacant. One of the informants grandfathers was around when the Espinosas took in a frozen company of Mormons who had trekked over the Sangre de Cristos in the dead of winter. Of the 40 that left Pueblo only 17 arrived in desperate need at their doorstep. The Espinosa's harbored the travelers and butchered a calf. Shortly thereafter, the survivors helped found the town of Manassa just a few miles north.

All in all it was very poignant for me, and I hope for my visitors as wells, as we passed a pleasant day sharing the bounty of the acequias with stories and appreciation for the vibrant and verdent bottomlands along the Conejos.

- A short distance to the south of my painting spot is the community church known as La Capilla de Santo Nino which served the Espinosa community for over a hundred years. It collapsed on October 21, 2016 from old age. Very sad.
"Bounty of the Acequia" plein air oil on linen, 16" x 20"
This painting will be part of the Plein Air Painters of New Mexico 8th Annual Juried Members Show opening with a public reception at the Sorrel Sky Gallery, 125 West Palace Avenue, Santa Fe, NM, 87501 from 5 to 8 pm on Friday, Nov. 4, 2016. The show will be open for regular business hours until Nov. 27. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

C.Waters Annual Artist Showcase and Sale, Creede, Colorado

Chere Waters has nurtured a family of artists whose work populates the walls of her newly reopened C. Waters Gallery in Creede, Colorado. She will feature this select group in the second year of her newly relocated and named C. Waters Gallery after six previous years in a space attached to her home on the hill overlooking the town.

That's me on the left at last year's grand opening. Chere is in the center in black. Paul Stone, recently deceased after contracting ALS, is in the wheel chair in front. I call him Dr. Boom. You can check out the trailer for a project about his life at this link:

The reception and sale will be on Saturday, July 16, 2016 from 3 to 7 pm in the gallery next door to the world famous Creede Repertory Theater on Main street. My fellow featured artists are Suzanne Reed Fine, Kristian Gosar, Aaron Brown, Brownie, Hanna Waters, Colleen de Santos, Peggy Stenmark, Randall LaGro and Alicia Hess.

Here is one of my paintings - " Threshold to Loch Vale" 24x30" oil on linen

Chere's receptions are legend- great fun, food, artists and libations-and I am sure this one will not disappoint. If you are in the area, Creede is a hoot with the theater, dining and the magnificent San Juan Mountains. Come on by.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Taos Lilac Festival, Painting the Blooms

"Crabapple Pond" 16x12 oil
Available at the Copper Moon Gallery105 Kit Carson Road. Taos,NM, 87571
I will be painting blooming trees in front of the Copper Moon Gallery in Taos on Saturday, May 21.
For the past three years Taos has celebrated the blooming Spring with a festival of lilacs. This year the town has scheduled the Taos Lilac Festival from Friday, May, 20 to the following Friday, May 27. Part of the festival is walking tours around the historic downtown district. Near the junction of the Camino Real and Kit Carson Road within in this historic zone sits the Copper Moon Gallery.
I have had the privilege of showing in this gallery for the last couple years and will be painting outside the gallery on Saturday, May 21.
I will be manning my plein air accoutrements- French easel, sun hat, paints, brushes, sunscreen, umbrella, water, coffee.
However, I an anticipating fresh cookies may be lacking.......

I am also the current featured artist in the gallery and have a copious collection of recent paintings on display and for sale.

I hope you will find the time to hang out in this magical town in blooming brilliance and stop by to chat and visit while I paint a rendition of floral Taos. Besides lilacs, there are assorted fruit trees and bushes from apricot to cherry to one of my favorites- crabapples.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Great Painting Spots Show and Reception

You are all invited to come and see a collection of paintings that I have produced over the years.
When hanging the show in this panoramic space on the mezzanine in the Alamosa Hospital, I was wondering what to call it- it seems art shows are supposed to have clever or enticing titles.
Being a wordplay fan, I was trying to find a unifying theme for the collection as it was going up.
There didn't seem to be a commonality beyond two or three pieces in groups.
There was a grouping from Ireland, one from California and another about trees in general. One impression for me was that the show was a travelogue, sort of tourist snapshots in places that I had  painted- all over the map.
That's when GPS came to mind- the global positioning system. I could use GPS to fine tune the exact place on the earth's surface where each piece had been painted. But I had not done so in the past, although I might start.
Instead, I acknowledged that each art work was executed from a particular vantage point that offered the optimal attributes of a great painting- they were all great painting spots- also GPS.
Wordplay: enticing and painfully brilliant!
So please come on by to San Luis Valley Health Regional Medical Center, better known as the Alamosa Hospital at 106 Blanca Ave. from 4 to 7 pm on Friday, April 8. The show is in the Artrium which is on the 2nd floor.
See you there!