We head east to The Land of Enchantment, a.k.a. New Mexico. After we cross the border, we begin to see an abundance of the Zia Sun, above. (In the long distant past wee Meredith lived in NM and went to Zia Elementary. Zia this, Zia that, but it was super cool that the sun was our mascot). We are headed to the I.A.P.S convention in Albuquerque. I am the ” back seat drawer”. I brought pen and ink, gouache and pastels and use them all…c’est la vie. Sometimes you just have to go for it and not care too much about le finished product. Also called, “mixed media”. . The view from back here is mostly car. We stop at some of the, dare I say, quirky rest stops of New Mexico, and have our lunch break at Caballo State Park, just north of Truth or Consequences, a.k.a. T ‘r C. The scenes here are full of texture of a literary sort. Reading required. I know rattlesnake bites can be awful but how about just , “Be Aware…” so we aren’t instantly freaked out? And then maybe more people would hit the “yes” button. Hello? This rest stop is toast. Why do I care about this? I do not know. Too many directives perhaps. We arrive in downtown Albuquerque to witness a typical southwest urban sunset and scoot over to the juried show to catch a few artworks. Here is the tiniest selection of my faves…it is a spectacular show, walls overflowing with pastel opulence.
I especially enjoyed Vilas Tonape’s artist’s statement because it reflects an essential creative playfulness and imagination. And his work is compelling. But, who doesn’t love museum glass?
And here is one very nice example of a still life with a simple color harmony.
Next morning it is adios Albuquerque and up the Turquoise Trail and High Road to Taos, passing through Madrid on the way. You can pick up a dog here, like lunch. Beware the impulse puppy! On to colorful Santa Fe. Georgia O’Keefe’s pastels at the O’Keefe museum. …a roadside cemetery… complete with motorcycle headstones. Las Trampas. Arriving in Taos, it’s time for green chile! Here perhaps? Coming back after a jaunt around the scenic loop which services ski country, conspicuously parked, the perfect artmobile set up complete with turquoise trim! Heading south once again to cross the Rio Grande Gorge and beautiful backcountry. (I hope you aren’t counting the days..could be two or three so far.) How many greens, oh pastelist? After a long soak at Ojo Calientes hot springs (yes, your eyes will get hot if you stay in long enough?) I overnight at the local roadhouse type motel. It is very, very picturesque, always suspicious, but, out in the middle of virtual nowhere, you take what you can get, nest pas? I’m not sure if I’m supposed to hang out in this bar, with that bear. But, oh, what a drawing! Too bad I am not nerd enough to actually draw during happy hour. Next time, or maybe I should drink more… Here we have real cow fur on the toilet seat, I really don’t know what to think. Back down to Albuquerque in time for some pastel shopping and IAPS wrap up. And then on home with my traveling companieras, Mikaela and Susan. We head south toward Las Cruces and take a turn west near Truth or Consequences to see the Black Range and Gila Wilderness. In historic Hillsboro we stop for lunch and respite. This is one happening hangout. I think the whole town must be here (not pictured). Mikaela and Susan peruse le menu, deeply. Man, those would be fun to draw. All those laces… We overnight in Silver City and have dinner at the Greasy Frog…oh, I mean Little Toad. Silver City is such an Art Town! Makes you feel warm and fuzzy almost. We walk around. It is Sunday night so nothing is open, but it’s a fine warm evening and the sun is slow to set. Hello, what’s this? Resist, woman. Mikaela in the wall art. We rise early and head up to Pinos Altos for some quick sketching, then back down for coffee at the Jumping Cactus and then, homeward. Wait! Can’t forget Le Harley Davidson, they are everywhere here…an intimidating subject but fabulous for drawing! But, then, you have to be quick, or else… Pinos Altos Opera House. New Mexico has the most amazing Opera, not here of course, but it’s world class in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. There are an abundance of chihuahuas in this town, a veritable chihuahuaville…I wonder what Jack is doing right now? And Pepe? Locals and, surprise, their chihuahua. Coffee back in Silver City. watch out for the iced mocha Coffeehouse dog, “retrograde”, (as in brain cells are in retrograde or Mars or…?) Argh, I know, I will pay for that remark. Good sweet dog. Speaking of which, I am delighted to find, upon return to Tucson, the boys have been busy. Making new contacts as usual and, behold Jacques! At the easel. He just needed a little time to himself and voila! Chien Artistique. Plus, he has the perfect perturbed yet vulnerable artistic persona, as you can see… More on Jacks fabulous art to come. Art is in the Heart! Many thanks to traveling companions and hotel companions and IAPS companions for making this a wonderful prelude to a summer full of art. Adios. P.S. Here is the full text in Latin and English of the post heading, Ars Longa, Vita Brevis: Vita brevis, ars longa, occasio praeceps, experimentum periculosum, ludicium difficile. -Hippocrates Life is short, and art is long, opportunity fleeting, experience perilous, and decision difficult.