Taos in July–Pow Wow & Fiesta

I went to the Taos Pow Wow on the opening Friday night. I’d promised to deliver a small drum I’d recently painted to the Sweet Medicine Drums’ booth. By the time I took this photo around 7:00 PM the cloudy sky and the lateness of the hour began to compromise my ability to take good photos. This is one of the few that I can share. It shows the dancers circling the large dance area in a kind of random parade. In the foreground are the spectators sitting in their portable chairs under the shaded area built for the occasion with poles and tree branches.

Scattered at intervals inside the spectator circle are groups of drummers sitting around a large shared drum. These groups take turns according to some unseen plan and seem to know just how long to drum as well. Later they will be drumming for the various dancing contests which are the focus of the three-day Pow Wow. It is interesting to observe these drummers. They are very focused and use a lot of strength when hitting in unison with their drumsticks. The heart-beat sound penetrates the entire Pow Wow grounds and unifies everyone who is present in a non-ordinary world.

A week later we have the annual Fiesta in the Taos Plaza. Note the clouds that help keep our monsoon season temperatures lower and provide humidity, normally hard to come by here. My garden loves it and behaves differently, compared to the dry heat of June. This event is all about the Hispanic community. I’ve been told that families that are spread around the state and region use this Fiesta as an occasion to come together, like a family reunion. I don’t have a photo of it but there is a performance area with constant entertainment provided throughout the event. Lots of live music a la Mexico.

This Fiesta vendor is dishing up grilled fresh corn on the cob. Looked and smelled yummy. At the top of this photo you can see the top of the very large white tent that covers the performance area of the plaza, likely both for shade and for rain.

How nostalgic is this carnival style merry-go-round with it’s old fashioned wooden horses? Who has not experienced this somewhere, sometime? For me it brings back memories of the free one in Golden Gate Park back in the 70s. I took my young daughter there on trips to the city from Mendocino County where we lived. It was an institution at the time. I hope it’s still there.

Took this at last Saturday’s farm market. I admired the artful arrangement. I asked the farmer for a card and I think he handed me one but where it is now is a mystery. I promise to try him again. The apricots are perfect now and the harvest won’t continue for long. Apples are just getting warmed up, along with peppers.

I took this photo in Solstice a week or so ago. The piece on the far right is a Hopi kachina that was new to the store at that time. The other three objects are small art pieces of mine. Two of them are altar pieces, the far left made of wood and the Corn Mother made of paper mache with a 1/4 ” wood base. The framed piece in the center is 5X5″. I like to talk about Solstice because it’s a new store and my small art pieces really seem to sing among the other beautiful art the owner, Sheila, selects. I continue to invite my friends and acquaintances to stop by and give themselves an aesthetic treat.

Borage blooming in my garden

The Siren Song of a Santa Fe Gallery

Yes, my fine art has now found a home in a gallery in Santa Fe on the landmark street, Canyon Road. Friends from Ketchum, Idaho, who have seen my emergence as a fine artist these past 7 years or so will love seeing the logo of this gallery since the image of a heart found its way into much of my early work.

The owner, sculptor Heidi Kujat, considered the paintings on my website and liked my flowers for her gallery. Since roses are her favorites I agreed to paint four of them, all 12X12 oil paintings with a final layer of encaustic. And she thought November would be a good time to introduce my work so I had only a couple of weeks to complete it. But what’s a little drama when you hear the “siren’s call?”

This photo shows the entrance to the Gallerie Corazon, which is set back from the road, but easy to find if you follow the pink signs. In a blog three weeks ago I used a photo of the charming gateway to this courtyard. I remember the day I took it I was prepared to be impressed before I opened the door. I asked Heidi about this close-to-nature energetic feel to the space and she acknowledged it was all her doing.

Here’s a detail from one of the four paintings: Pink Rose #1. Years ago when I started making these flower paintings, which all have in common this “macro” perspective, I was just figuring out that I could make a close-up photo of a flower into a painting. I managed this by printing an enlarged version on rice paper in sections and then gluing these together on a wood panel. Some of these first paintings were small enough that it only took a single sheet of printed rice paper and many of these older pieces are now sold or given to family members who admired them.

We all know that the be-here-now present is where the magic lives and so I’m sinking into the present reality that a dream has manifested and I am changed by that, whatever happens next. Sing on seductive Sirens!

 As I write this blog we are having a wild weather day here in Taos. The winds are howling and some version of wet snow, sleet or rain is being whipped around on its way down from grey skies. Trees that had beautiful fall colors yesterday are bare now thanks to the high velocity of the wind. I am one of those people who love the summer garden time of the year best of all so this kind of weather feels like the combined forces of destruction (cold and wind) are tearing apart my ideal world order. Such is life on cyclical planet earth.

 Those who have lived around me closely know that I always grow borage. This last summer I bought a package of seeds and was determined to carry on this personal tradition. Only a few plants came up and those that did grew slowly. I pondered this and figured out that because of the succulent nature of this plant it did not like the dry heat of the Taos summer. With the rain we had in September and the days getting progressively shorter my two borage plants performed a seeming miracle and suddenly grew like weeds.

The lovely blue flowers can be lifted off their sepals and eaten (or added atop a special salad). They have a sweetness that is pleasing. Borage is considered an herb and is know to impart courage.

I’ve been admiring the last stand of this late blooming sunflower in the back garden and finally took a photo, which captures its surprising color combinations.

Pink Rose #2