The paintings here are from two trips to Santa Fe, one in December 2006 and the other in May 2010. The former was quite magical. We had rented a little casita on the outskirts of town. There was snow everywhere, Disneyesque icicles, and on Christmas Eve the whole town was illuminated with only hundreds of farolitos – tealights in brown paper bags. Yes, farolitos sounds better! We cooked a turkey and saw a Native American ceremony on Christmas day. But the highlight was a trip out to see Giorgia O’Keefe’s House in Abiquiu – arranged through my former colleague Lucy Belloli. A couple of drawings were made just down the road.
When we returned in May 2010 the different rental property was not so nice. We knew there was an issue on discovering that the Christmas decorations were still up! I felt a compelling need to put everything through the dishwasher. Then I decided to vacuum. The bag in the ill-designed “Shark” model split after a few minutes and a decade of dust was pumped into the air. This, combined with the huge amounts of pollen – a natural byproduct of spring, effectively sealed my nasal passages for the rest of the stay. Nevertheless, when eating out – which we did all the time, since the dish-washing and vacuum cleaning were insufficient reassurance – I chose rich, indulgent food as if I could still taste it, and in quantities that led me to put on 5 lbs.
Despite not being able to breathe and the surfeit of dubious, southwest decor, howling coyote trinkets and turquoise, the trip was not a washout. We actually saw a real coyote, skinny, grey and ghost-like, slink across the road one evening as the light was fading – a beautiful and melancholy vision. And the landscape is assertively authentic, resisting all attempts to reduce it to triteness or cliche.
For more paintings click here Santa Fe 2006 & 2010
Reservoir, Santa Fe, (PHOTO Mark Powell)
PHOTO Mark Powell
Bandolier National Monument (PHOTO Mark Powell)