Santa Fe – Picture Day

One thing I love to do when exploring a new place is to take photographs.  Never having been to Santa Fe or the surrounding areas, I wasn’t sure where to find the best spots for pictures.  And, if I was driving, it would be hard to stay on the road and look at scenery at the same time.  Then, on TripAdvisor,  I found a solution:  a photography day tour with Mark Schumann.

Mark suggested taking the High Road to Taos with stops at Nambe, Chimayo, Santa Cruz “Lake,” Truchas, Trampas, Rancho de Taos, downtown Taos, the Gorge Bridge, the earth ships, the Taos Pueblo, another location or two along the Rio Grande, as well as a sunset spot on the way back to Santa Fe. Whew!

Mark picked me up at 10:00 am. We were joined by Chihiro, an avid photographer who lives in the Austin area. Chihiro is much more knowledgable about photography, camera settings, etc. than I am. Basically, I use my camera as “point and shoot.” With Mark’s guidance, I began to understand some of my camera’s settings, how to “frame” a landscape for depth of field and more. But, I did “go rogue” some of the time and shot what grabbed my attention instead of what Mark was pointing out.

Nambe

We stopped to take photos of Sacred Heart Church and the cemetery. Some of the gravesites were simple but more were elaborate with plastic flowers, solar lights, photos, and toys.

On The Road

Great opportunity to learn about landscape photography:  include some close shrubbery for perspective; focus on the middle ground. But, most important: clean your lens before you start taking pictures.

El Santuario de Chimayo

Chimayo, a little adobe church in the foothills of the Sangre de Christo Mountains in northern New Mexico, is sometimes called the Lourdes of North America. Like that famous shrine in France, it attracts those who are seeking healing of body, mind, or spirit. Read the entire article here.

Pictures coming soon!

Somewhere in the high altitude

I’ll have to send a note to Mark and ask him exactly where this is. It’s high in the mountains and is a small picturesque spot. The church was open and has wonderfully detailed murals.

Las Trampas

Las Trampas Historic District is a National Historic Landmark District and is home to the San José de Gracia Church National Historic Landmark. The district and its church are located in Las Trampas, off Route 76, roughly 30 miles south of Taos, NM. We visited the church and, fortunately, it was open. The inside is beautiful with rough-hewn wood, tall ceilings, a wood burning stove. But, unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take photos of the inside.

Scenic Overlook

High up in the mountains is a scenic overlook where you can see for miles. Mark said it was unusual to see the cloud banks. Usually, the sky is a crystal clear blue. The clouds gave additional definition to the field of depth.

Lunch Break!

No pictures; I was too busy eating and guzzling water. Believe it or not, we ate at a Vietnamese open air restaurant. Yes, Vietnamese!! It was surprisingly good and affordable and plentiful. We also visited the gallery where Mark sells some of his prints. Take a look. This is just a small selection of what’s available.

Taos Pueblo

Then it was on to the Taos Pueblo, the only living Native American community designated both a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and a National Historic Landmark. It was larger than I expected with some ancient building and some relatively new buildings. Again, we weren’t allowed to take photos of the inside of the church with it’s shrine to the Madonna. It’s traditional to dress the Madonna in robes for the season. Well, this was hot pink Barbie season. The entire altar display was bright pink.

Rio Grand Gorge Bridge

The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, the second highest bridge on the U.S. Highway System, is a three-span steel continuous-deck-truss structure with a concrete-filled steel-grid deck. It was called the “bridge to nowhere” while it was being built because the funding did not exist to continue the road on the other side.

At 650 feet (200 m) above the Rio Grande, it is the fifth highest bridge in the United States. The span is 1,280 feet; two 300-foot-long approach spans with a 600-foot-long main center span. The bridge was dedicated on September 10, 1965 and is a part of U.S. Route 64, a major east-west road.

Earthship

An Earthship is a type of passive solar house that is made of both natural and upcycled materials such as earth-packed tires, pioneered by architect Michael Reynolds. Earthship structures are intended to be “off-the-grid-ready” homes, with minimal reliance on public utilities and fossil fuels. They are constructed to use available natural resources, especially energy from the sun and rain water. More informationnightly rentals

It was strange to see these upcycled homes in the middle of the desert. Notice that some have satellite dishes and some have solar panels. We could only take photos of a few of them because the main community was roped off and inaccessible.

River

Pictures coming soon!

Stop!!

Pictures coming soon!

Ghost Ranch

Pictures coming soon

Santa Fe – Clay and Glass

When my friend Allee Etheridge found out I was going to Santa Fe, she urged me to go to Santa Fe Clay. So, on Saturday morning, I headed over there. Even with a GPS, I got a little lost and then got caught up in the Farmer’s Market & Art Show traffic. It took a while, but I found a spot in a huge parking garage and then walked over to Santa Fe Clay.

What looks like an unassuming (warehouse) building houses an amazing art gallery, retail space (for ceramic supplies), studio space, kilns, and more. It took a while to look at (and take pictures of) the pieces in the art gallery. Then, I *had to* buy some supplies and a mug.

A quick visit to a local restaurant for lunch and I was off for my afternoon adventure: creating a glass paperweight at Liquid Light Glass. I’d been wanting to do something like this for a long time and this was the perfect opportunity. Fortunately, there were two experts helping us (me and 8 others) through the process. But, instead of taking my piece with me that day, I had to wait until Monday to pick it up. Apparently, after creating the paperweights, they have to be in a kiln to anneal and then cool.

Anyway, here are photos of the mug from Santa Fe Clay and the paperweight from Liquid Light Glass.

Santa Fe – Staying in an Art Gallery

The place I stayed while in Santa Fe is fantastic!! The inside has been completely redone. It’s modern, comfortable, private, quiet. It has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, full-size kitchen with a gas stove that I wish I had at home. While it doesn’t have central heat/air, the bedrooms do have mini-splits that heat and/or cool the room. Actually, it was cool enough in the mornings (50 degrees) that I opened the doors and enjoyed the fresh air for several hours. Even in the heat of the day, the temperature inside was comfortable. And I discovered that the floor in the bathroom is heated! So nice when stepping out of the shower.

Let me tell you about the art. It’s everywhere. It was like staying in an art gallery. One morning, I started at one end of the condo and took pictures.

If you’re planning a trip to Santa Fe and looking for a great place to stay, check out Casa Magdalena

Santa Fe – Out and About – May 25th

After my hiking expedition was cancelled, I opted to explore Santa Fe.  The place I was staying was within walking distance of the downtown area with its many galleries and places to explore.  Of course, my trusty camera was with me and I found plenty of opportunities to use it. (To see larger versions of the pictures, just click on the photos.)

I fell in love with this sculpture of a dog made of corrugated metal.  And, yes, that is a swing hanging from the dog’s underside.  The sculptor signed the piece on a dog tag … just in case you’re interested in ordering something similar.

The Spanish architecture amazed me:  So many stucco buildings and this amazing old tree caught my attention.

Then, to get an idea of what’s what, I stopped by the Santa Fe Visitor’s Bureau. There was a wealth of information on what to see and do in the area. And the art pieces within the visitor’s bureau were awesome.

Then, it was time to wander around the old town square where the art galleries are. I only took pictures of pieces that were outside of a gallery.

Did I buy anything? Well, yes. But not at the galleries. I browsed the Indian market that was in the shade of a building at the old square. A small piece of pottery caught my eye and is now part of my collection. The artists dig the clay, then hand form the bowl, carve it, burnish it and fire it in a pit. It’s not the best picture but shows a bit of the detail.

After a late lunch/early dinner at The Shed, I went back to my adobe home-away-from-home.

Santa Fe – May 25th, morning

Last month, I took a few days off and went on vacation in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  It was supposed to be a trip for two but, at nearly the last minute, Significant Other’s doctor said that he couldn’t go because of the altitude.  He sometimes has trouble breathing in Dallas and he would be worse off at the high altitude in Santa Fe.  It was too late/expensive to cancel all the reservations; so, he took me to the airport and told me to enjoy myself.  And I did!

Morning was cool in Santa Fe: a perfect time to go for a hike in Hyde Memorial State Park. The park was about 8 miles from the place I was staying but, because the road was winding and I wanted to savor the coolness and big trees, it took about half an hour to get there. The driver behind me wasn’t too thrilled that I was going so slowly but there wasn’t really a good place to pass me; he was stuck.

Well, the park has several hiking trails and I started on the East Trail. But, after climbing about 50 yards, I decided that this wasn’t for me. So, I tried the West Trail. It was overgrown and steep. I took a few photos and concluded that my hiking was done for the day. First, the altitude was about 7,000 feet above sea level and the steep trails go to about 9,000 feet. Next, the trails were overgrown, steep, with slippery footing. Finally, I was by myself without reliable cell service.


tree with fungi

pine cones

bird’s nest on the ground

lichen on the rocks

Yard Art (or what do you do with all that pottery??)

Seriously … what do you do with all that pottery? You can’t keep everything and you can only “gift” a few pieces to relatives and friends before they start running the other way. Unless you have a gallery or a storefront or are willing to spend hours taking photographs and posting on Etsy (then wrapping, packing and shipping), it’s hard to find homes for all the good, perfect or nearly perfect pieces.

Then there are the pieces that didn’t turn out quite as expected. Perhaps they cracked while being fired or the glaze turned out really ugly or … whatever. Some of these can be put in a box and be donated to a charity. Some can end up in the trash can. But there are those pieces that you’re still fond of.

Well … if you have a house (I do) and a yard (oh, yes), there’s a solution: yard art!! I have pieces in the garden, under downspouts, hiding under leaves of plants (pictures, below).

My Left Foot

Remember about three months ago when I broke my leg?  Well, I sure do.    After healing for a couple months and, while I was still trying to get stronger and more flexible, my doctor sent me to rehab.  That was the best thing for my leg/ankle.

The therapist worked with me a couple times a week for four weeks.  At the end of that time, there were a few twingy reminders of the injury, but I was 98% back to normal.  So …. as a “thank you” gift, I took her a small sculpture of my left foot and put a small succulent inside.

Hopefully, the succulent will continue to grow and I will continue to heal.

Art 214

In Dallas, April is “Art Month” with galleries and art venues hosting a variety of events.

This year (2018), for the first time the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA) sponsored  ART 214 Juried Exhibition.

“As part of Dallas Arts Month, four cultural centers of the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA) are hosting a multi-venue juried exhibition to showcase the works of artists who live in Dallas and the greater North Texas region from late March to early June.

Through this exhibition, OCA hopes to discover and develop relationships with new artists, provide opportunities for artists to exhibit their work for the first time ever or for the first time in one of our cultural centers, and cross pollinate artists who have previously exhibited at one cultural center by exhibiting their work at a different center. Another goal of this collaborative project is to draw in new audiences who have never been to (or even heard of) our Cultural Centers and to share audiences who frequent a specific center but have never experienced the others.”

More than 750 entries were received and, when the jury process was complete, 192 pieces by 137 local North Texas Artists were selected to be in the exhibition.

I’m honored that my entry, “Uncommon Stones,” is included in the exhibition at the Latino Cultural Center.  Here’s the description that was submitted with the entry:

Finding an actual geode is a rare experience. They look like common stones but, when cracked open, they reveal their hidden beauty. So, I wondered, could I take clay and glass and create faux geodes? These Uncommon Stones are close but don’t rival the real thing. Clay and glass; reduction fired

Not My Circus … Not My Monkeys

Way back in early 2017, when the new administration in Washington D.C. was transitioning, chaos reigned.  My heart sank.  But, instead of railing against them on social media or crying constantly (as many of my friends did), I went to the studio and created a new totem with a circus theme.  All the while, “not my circus … not my monkeys” ran through me.

This piece took some digging to get appropriate photographs; then, incorporate them into a monkey graphic; and, finally, send them off to have decals created.  Originally, I wanted a three-ring circus, but the rings kept cracking/breaking during firing.

The finished piece is not symmetrical.  It wobbles somewhat.  And it stayed in my studio for well over a year until a friend was having a “meet the Democratic candidates” gathering at her home.  I offered her the totem as a sort of door prize for anyone who would have it.  She decided to turn it into a fund-raising opportunity and give attendees the opportunity to bid on it.  And, someone did and took home the totem.  Hope it lives a long and happy life in her home.

 

 

Whoops!!

 I’ve avoided posting about this little mishap for over a month now because I don’t want to admit that I’m actually that clumsy.

Backstory:  We were on a cruise to Hawaii and, on the third day of the cruise, I was innocently reading in the cabin.  When I stood up to go get some water (or something), I barely noticed that my foot was asleep.  And, when I took a step, my foot/ankle sorta “rolled”.  Before I could correct it, I heard a loud “POP” and instant pain.  Turns out that my fibula broke, right at the ankle.

Ship’s doctor was great … x-rays, pain pills and a cumbersome “moon” boot.  Ship’s customer service was too:  finding us an “accessible” cabin so I could take a shower instead of crawling over the edge of the tub.  Needless to say, I spent most of the cruise in the cabin … watching movies, reading books, watching others go on shore excursions.

After nearly two weeks, we finally arrived back home and I went to see an orthopedic doctor here.  He took more x-rays and fitted me with this walking boot which is a lot more comfortable than the “moon” boot.  That was three weeks ago.  Expecting to stay in the boot for two more weeks and then, possibly, rehab.

Let me say something about the swelling … I never expected it to last so long.  In fact, my ankle, leg, foot are still slightly swollen.  And bruising?  There was the requisite purple, blue, greenish yellow and the bruising is still evident.

Lesson learned?  Don’t walk (or try to walk) on a leg/foot that are asleep.