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

Farm Market Hums Along

There were more incredible flowers this week at the farm market brought by the couple who had those first-in-market sunflowers a month ago. This week they had giant zinnias and an almost purple rose, plus pink Echinaceas. The husband, who’s handling the sales, says it’s all his wife’s doing, that she is the queen of flowers. I’m convinced of that. She is sitting in the back, but enjoying the praise.

This brings back memories of my garden in Ketchum, Idaho, that had a lot of Echinaceas. I do have the cosmos you see in the upper right starting to bloom now. It will eventually dominate my front flower garden.

Jeff and Tanya at Talpa Gardens had these adorable Rhode Island Red chicks for sale, a big attraction at their booth. Of course I wanted to take them home but my landlord has forbidden keeping chickens. Don’t ask me why. I’ll wait for a better situation…but it’s one of my visualizations. I had them when I was living in the California back-woods back in the 70s.

I loved seeing this wild arrangement decorating the Hanuman Temple’s produce booth. The dark red is amaranth I’m pretty sure. The temple property has a huge garden area, not surprising since they focus so much on cooking and feeding people. You can bet this time of year their meals are full of really fresh ingredients, plus their secret ingredient, love and devotion.

The most exciting discovery of the day was meeting a farmer, Juan Sebastian, who’s part of White Mountain Farm in Mosca, CO. He explained that this was his first trip of the season down to the Taos Farm Market. What caught my eye were these 1 lb. bags of quinoa. He also had 5 lb. and 25 lb. bags. He explained that his farm is now specializing in organic quinoa crops and they were the first in the country to grow marketable quantities back in the 80’s. If you visit their website, linked above, you can learn more about the history of this San Luis Valley farm. Interestingly I’ll be passing by Mosca on my way to a family reunion in Colorado tomorrow.

Juan Sebastian also shared that he came here from Huehuetenango, Guatemala. He had a wife and son with him but he seemed to be the only one in the family who was speaking English. The farm also specializes in organic potatoes and is shipping their quinoa and potatoes through the site. If you’re lucky enough to live in Alamosa his farm sells produce weekly there. I’d like to see how the quinoa crop looks in the ground and take photos but not sure I’ll have the time this trip. He showed me some leaves from the plant and they looked very much like lamb’s quarters or the red-leaf orach, which I have growing. The quinoa leaves are edible raw or cooked as you would spinach.

If you haven’t cooked quinoa I highly recommend it. It is one of nature’s most perfect foods. It is not a grain but rather a small round seed, similar to millet. It cooks quickly (15 – 20 minutes) and has a delicious nutty flavor. I eat it now more often than rice and it substitutes well for it. It is amazingly high in protein and is especially helpful for those who do not eat meat, or not much of it. I felt we were very fortunate to have this helpful ancient plant growing so regionally. Sadly they can’t compete with the grocery store per pound price of quinoa, but for those who can pay more it would be a wise thing to do, to support this endeavor.