“I found out that the sunshine in New Mexico could do almost anything with one: make one well if one felt ill, or change a dark mood and lighten it. It entered into one’s deepest places and melted the thick, slow densities. It made one feel good. That is, alive.”
-Mabel Dodge Luhan, from Edge of Taos Desert, Escape to Reality
The weekend before last I went on an amazing journey out west to visit a long time friend of mine who has relocated to Denver, CO. I spent almost 5 days taking in as much as I could of the beautiful and strange landscape that is The West. Below are a few of my highlights from Denver and Boulder CO and especially, Taos, New Mexico. It is all too much to cover in one small blog such as this, and I don’t plan on trying. I am still working to get it all into my sketchbook! But I hope my list of highlights, and the accompanying snapshots are enough to encourage a visit out there yourself. They call New Mexico The Land of Enchantment. I found this to be true. I plan to go back. Hopefully, sooner than later…. I’ll keep you posted.
Denver & surrounding areas:
~Colorado Horse Rescue Farm (I got to spend a morning with my friend Sheila volunteering at this amazing, warm hearted place)
Taos New Mexico, etc:
Adobe! It’s everywhere and so earthy. Like buildings just sort of grow out of the ground there. Which I suppose they do. I get the sense that living in these earthen buildings must give the folks who live there a sense of being at one with the earth.
Mabel Dodge Luhan House (also of Adobe) – I’d love to teach a travel sketchbook workshop here someday…. it would be a wonderful excuse to get back to Taos!
Old Trucks: Fun, fun fun to draw! These old beauties are almost as common as subarus…
Pioneer-like ingenuity: From breathtakingly high bridges to houses built from recycled materials, people out west somehow seem to make it work. Check out these Earthships!
Below you can see how they dot the landscape.
Here’s a view of the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. Dizzying, to say the least:
And then there’s the guy who has been adding to his house with recycled materials for years. I think he may actually be located in a little town in Colorado which we drove through on route back to Denver. Our guest house owner/ operator Judith Duncan told us about him and said some people think he’s a little off. I have no idea, but either way, he’s an artist at heart…
Yep, those are hubcaps.
Speaking of Judith Duncan, Amy and I stayed at a magical place called Duncan House in Taos. Our host was welcoming and full of ideas of things to see and do in Taos. Her place is a lovely little oasis garden that we thoroughly enjoyed. I highly recommend it as a place to stay, just off the beaten path.
In Taos there is plenty of shopping to do. My favorite place was a vintage cowboy themed shop called Horsefeathers where I picked up some cool postcards and souveniers that couldn’t have been found anywhere else. The owner Lindsay, and his doggie ambassador are always ready to greet new guests.
Orlandos.… best chili in town!!
The vast sense of space and landscape is overwhelming.
I have been thinking a lot about a top down notion of landscape as inspiration for my encaustic painting imagery. Somehow it fits my recent time spent on and around rivers. Getting a view from the airplane reinforced my excitement about these ideas and I am thrilled to be back in the studio where I can begin the distillation of all that I took in out west.
In the end however, no matter the beauty of the landscape and charm of the buildings, or all the interesting things to fill my sketchbook. What has really been a blessing on the trip to Denver and Taos, and my subsequent whirlwind trip to Rochester NY just this past labor day weekend is the opportunity to be a friend to people I treasure. I had the gift of time in the car with girlfriends as we traveled the miles in between destinations. Travel fills my art cup, surely, but more importantly I get to spend time with my far flung friends, and that for me is the real gift of travel.