Amtrak Train Station–Lamy

If you live in Northern New Mexico long enough eventually someone you know (or yourself?) will want to travel west or northeast on the Amtrak train that stops near Santa Fe. That will take you to Lamy, a small historic village about half an hour from central Santa Fe. It has that lost historic feeling of a place that once was more than it looks and feels now, but without being falsely cute. After all, it still has a very real purpose.

I admire this old adobe house, for instance, right across the street from the train station (and its parking lot). It appears to be currently occupied and well tended. You can imagine that those who choose to live here are enjoying the remoteness, the coming and goings of the train, and the sense of history.

I think it was a year ago that I first drove to Lamy to meet the train and this historic place near the train station was closed. But this time it had recently reopened and I noticed somewhere that they were advertising evening entertainment and dinners by reservation. I believe there is also a museum attached to it. The Legal Tender has a website you can see for more information. Looked interesting for sure. I believe they’re open Thursday through Sunday.

Had to include at least one photo of the train pulling into the station. This is my “all aboard” photo. I liked the fashionably dressed, but thoroughly prepared, girl in the foreground. I didn’t count the number of folks boarding but there could have easily been 20. This train was heading to Los Angeles. My friend’s ticket cost $90. This is an overnight trip. You board mid-afternoon and arrive in the early AM.

Have to make a comment about how sad it is to realize that the big-shots of the oil industry must have had a political hand in the near-extinction of passenger trains at some turning point in US history. I’ve traveled by high-speed train in France and know that when it comes to trains we are just plain backward. Of course France was never an oil-producing country that thought their oil would never end.

A couple of weeks ago the property where I live got it’s first drink of acequia water for the season. In this photo you can see how areas are deliberately flooded. I suspect this is one of the apple trees, which at the time had not begin to bud out (smart!). Just behind it you can get a glimpse of my house. As the water continues from left to right it enters an area that has lots of wild plum bushes. Last year, due to one very cold night about this time, they, and just about every fruit-bearing tree or bush, experience bud freeze and there was no harvest of the native plums. I am not the only one keeping my fingers crossed this year.

This is a closer shot of the previous scene. It has a Monet-like beauty, from my perspective, so I included it.

I want to acknowledge that it’s been awhile since my last Taos Blog. I’m sure all bloggers like me who try to be regular in their postings have times like this when for all kinds of reasons life just doesn’t seem to allow the time to give it the required focus. The mind does suggest that it’s TIME, but the spirit does not arise. I enjoyed putting this one together today and I’m glad I waited for the blogger in me to return to what is a joyful task

Bye,bye, Mr. Cartwright. Thanks for coming.

Momma Said…Days Like This

Took this photo yesterday on my “back way” to Ojo Caliente Hot Springs. Since I live on the south end of town I’m often tempted to take this scenic route down 68 to Pilar and through the gorge then up the hill to meet the West Rim Road. It was a beautiful day for the hot springs, not that busy this time of year, and the sun was peeking in and out of interesting clouds. There was a 60% chance of snow or rain today. When I started this blog the sky was clouding up. Now it’s snowing in a light and pretty kind of way that’s not likely to amount to much but is cheering.

Last Friday I was in Santa Fe and took a stroll around the Plaza. The weather was unusually warm that day. A friend of mine is in the process of moving from Taos to Santa Fe a car-load at a time and I helped her out by taking a load in my vehicle. Anyone who’s been to this Plaza will recognize the familiar scene along one side of the square devoted to native craftspeople. I’m sure the vendors (and the shoppers) were enjoying the comfortable temperatures. The last time I took a photo of the Plaza it was around 5 degrees (with wind chill factor). There’s no logic to this warm day.

On the same stroll I couldn’t resist this shot capturing the reflections of the trees on the canvass offered by the adobe wall. This must be one of the many reasons we love adobe buildings. I think it was around mid-afternoon so the shadows were still strong.

You might ask about the title of this blog: Momma Said…? I’m just having one of those days after my soak in the hot springs that leave me upended. It does show how addicted I am to having a sense of direction, of knowing what’s important, staying on track. I did some cooking for myself mid-day, something I guess I never do. And then someone invited me to dinner. A different kind of day…

This photo was meant to go into my last blog but I’ve been having some technical trouble getting photos to load into my WordPress blog lately. They made some “improvements” not long ago that have created new issues for me. This was taken on the south side of the Overland Complex in El Prado which has great views of Taos Pueblo land, this one among them. I was there the other day and noticed a similar truck but don’t know if it’s positioned well for a photo. Will check on that.

The good news is that I was just accepted last week into the Envision Gallery (located in the Overland Complex) and two of my paintings are on display there as we speak. Hooray!

This is the Divine Feminine Quilt painting, one of the two now in the Invision Gallery. It’s 24X24, collage, oil and encaustic on a cradled wood panel. Hope you’ll stop by there sometime and check it out. And while you’re there visit April in the Tea Shop next door.

Say hello to my granddaughter, Charlotte, 7 months old.

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

Yes, Virginia, Snow Falls Sometimes in Taos

About a week ago it snowed six inches in my neck of the woods, Talpa. I took an early morning loop around the property and enjoyed the sugar coated frosting effect on the familiar landscape. It was soft and pretty and quietly peaceful. Wasn’t enough to cause trouble and hardly required the use of a snow shovel, although I had my Idaho mountain shovel handy by the door just in case. The neighbor just to the east of us keeps llamas. I think there are three there now. They like to have their pictures taken, so I oblige.

This is a pear tree on the property growing next to the driveway to my house. The house you can see here is in front of mine, closer to the road. I have photographed this tree in different seasons but this one in snow is a first and I love how the snow on the branches makes their angled shapes even more dramatic. When I came to Taos to look for a house early last spring there were no leaves on any trees. Coming from evergreen country I fell into a swoon over all the bare deciduous tree branches. They seemed to be telling a story about bridging from earth to the big sky with their expressive reaching.

Beautiful in any season, we have the old orchard with the road through it. Oddly that morning no cars had marked the road to the landlord’s house at the end. Perhaps they were out of town. This increased my sense of pleasure in the walk, the illusion that I was uniquely alone in my appreciation of this magically transformed scene. I had on my Sorel snow boots so felt free to roam around freely among the trees looking for camera stories.

I’m guessing red apples still clinging to the tree branches. Eight months ago each apple was a small flower. Interesting how we call them apple blossoms, same as “cherry blossoms.” Nice old fashioned word, blossom. These fruits were not so high they couldn’t be reached. By the end of the season the amount of fruit, especially apples, becomes overwhelming and it can’t all be picked. A couple of times toward the end of the season I picked apples and peeled and chopped them up to make a chunky applesauce, which I enjoyed for weeks out of a jar kept in the refrigerator. I guess canning would be the way to go if you wanted to get serious. I played with it, I made something good and enjoyed it while it lasted.

This I took the next day in Santa Fe around noon. I was meeting a friend of a friend at The Teahouse on Canyon Road for an astrology reading. I parked a block or so away and took photos as I walked along. As most people know Canyon Road in Santa Fe is a long and charming narrow street of old adobe homes converted long ago to art galleries.

My first experience of it was many years ago looking for the Artisan Art store. Not a great location for parking as I recall, but the finest art store I had ever laid eyes on. It’s now relocated to a less charming location with lots of parking. I bought some pastels and appropriate paper and traveled to Ghost Ranch. I stayed there on retreat for several days playing with my art supplies. I tried to see the landscape through the eyes of Georgia O’Keefe.

It was my first time going to The Teahouse. They, by the way, have a nice little website which you can easily find using Google. I watched their introductory video the night before and the owner, whom I recognized from it, was right there near the counter when I walked in. She says she really enjoys experimenting with combining ingredients for the various teas she offers. I went with “regular chai latte” and was deeply rewarded. We sat near a corner kiva fireplace that was burning appropriately for the “snow day.” Amen to all that and happy holidays, snow or no.

Santa Fe Day Trip

En route to pick up my friend at the downtown shuttle stop I ran into a halt of traffic for this commuter train. It’s called the Rail Runner Express and there were lots of cars on it. Not connected to Amtrack, this train can bring you right into the heart of Santa Fe from the airport in Albuquerque (and back) if you time it right. Sure sounds like more fun than a ride in a shuttle van. Fortunately mine was the first car at the intersection so I could get this photo.

Walking from the shuttle stop to the Plaza we passed this corner cafe/gallery. Loved the name, first of all. The photo is catching lots of window reflections so has the effect of a collage.  We walked by it again on the way back to the car and decided to go inside Friday when we return to Santa Fe. More shall be revealed…

Here I’m shooting into the same window but isolating the painted clouds, the row of windows and myself. Like a dream image. I was feeling pretty happy to be with my friend, to have found a place to park. I was on “Cloud Nine.” It had been a couple of months since my last trip out of Taos, other than over to Ojo Caliente, so that added to the excitement.

This amazing small painting was in the window of the Mother Earth & Father Sky gallery/cafe. The mosiac of material (abalone shell?) seems to have been overprinted with the Guadalupe image, but the effect was pure magic. As you change your angle of reference so do the colors. It felt alive and the essence of beauty! My friend and I were equally appreciative and entranced.

Heading back to Taos we stopped at the bridge over to Embudo Station. The cottonwoods are glowing with their yellow leaves all along the Rio Grande. We were getting back to Taos a little later than planned and losing the light. Still I was determined to show her the road along the gorge from Pilar, always so inspiring to me. A visit to the Mother?

There was still light for the river to reflect and so the day’s pattern of capturing reflections with the camera continued. Which begs the question: are reflections real? What is real, really? All I can offer is that I seem to be finding reflections more these days with my camera-eye than ever before. Perhaps they offer a better mirror for what I am experiencing as real (more a view from the inner world?). Moving to Taos can have strange effects on people I’ve heard. Could be worse.

Waxing Moon rising over the east rim at sunset