Quick Draw Art in Taos

Richard Nichols was focused on his job when I passed by his location in the 10th annual Quick Draw Art event that benefits the Taos Center for the Arts. He has a studio over on Ledoux that you can reach through the Blumenschein courtyard.

Leigh Gusterson was making great progress on her painting here around 2:00 PM. This year there were about 40 artists, in a diversity of media, invited to participate. I understand this year’s Quick Draw was well attended and raised a good amount of money for the TCA. The work, begun at noon, is auctioned around 4:00 in the afternoon to the highest bidder.

Ed Sandoval was working on a larger canvas and I noticed his painting style was very active. I believe his painting turned out to sell for a nice high price, benefitting everyone.

Honestly by the time I arrived at the Quick Draw I had been taking my time through the Saturday Farm Market, the Taos Fall Arts Festival painting exhibit (lots to see there) and had looked up a friend selling wares at the Arts & Crafts festival at Kit Carson Park. I was running out of steam. Next year I will make this event more of a priority. I really would have appreciated the opportunity to put faces to the names of well-known Taos painters and other artists.

This photo taken at the farm market says it all about the time of year. Nature’s ability to come up with colors and forms for the humble squash seems infinite. My own garden is still producing tomatoes, zucchini and lemon cucumbers at the front of the house. The salad greens I keep fenced in the back are perking up at the cooler weather. And there are lots of last minute annuals in both locations trying to make some seeds before it’s too late. The birds are enjoying the sunflower seeds while they’re abundant.

This aging sunflower plant is my first photo of fall colors in the landscape around my home in Talpa. I’ve heard there are lower-elevation areas that have already had frosty nights, but so far not where I live above the Rio Chiquita River. I’ve checked the 10-day forecast for temperatures at night and it looks like our warm weather will continue on.

I just looked at the clock and it says 2:10 PM. Normally I’d be thinking I just have time to make it to Cafe Loka for an afternoon break, but sadly that business, my heart’s favorite, closed last Friday. I will really miss that place and I’m sure I’m in good company.

I am in love with this sign that greeted me on the way to the parking lot at the Hanuman Temple Sunday. Great wisdom, at least for a Sunday.

June Full Moon

The garden grows.

The sudden appearance of this zucchini blossom happened right around the Summer Solstice. Well, I’ve been working up to this moment since I arrived back in early May. Pioneer gardening I call it–take the soil situation that comes with the place and build up from there. Seemed like the soil was lacking in humus basically. I found an old compost pile hidden in the bushes and started with that, then added amendments from a nearby hardware store. Looks like I got it mostly right, judging from the results. The tomatoes are looking eager to get huge and are blooming as well. Gotta love the way Mother Nature will come through if you give her a hand.

Another proof that summer has arrived in northern New Mexico is the harvesting of the alfalfa. This field is part of the property I live on and all that’s needed is an annual mow down and bale up. I think you’re looking at 30+ bales. Forget the total. This field, and indeed the entire acreage, is watered by the acequia system. The main ditch is just at the far end of the field. The header photo at the top of this page was taken from the orchard a month or so ago, looking south from our edge of Talpa along the Rio Chiquito.

Ran into these lovely girls in Taos the other day along the main street through town. These are a perfect specimen of Georgia O’Keefe’s favorite variety of hollyhock–Black. There might be a more elaborate name, but anyway I admit I also like them and was able to grow a few in my last garden in Ketchum, Idaho. I will probably make a mental note to pick up some seeds from these plants come fall.

The one thing that came back this spring to greet me here, growing next to the house, was a hollyhock. I asked the one who planted it if it was a double or a single. She thought a double. We’ll be seeing soon, which it turns out to be.

The Taos climate suits the hollyhocks. They are just now starting to bloom all around town. I love to paint them–the singles anyway. You can see the results on my Flower Paintings page (see Gallery).

Took this photo Friday, the day before that June Full Moon. I was in the parking lot where Ranchitos Road meets La Placitas looking northeast toward the traffic, which I cropped out. Shows the big and often interesting cloudy sky that Taos is famous for and, of course, the dramatic nearby mountain range.

As I recall there was a little light rain that evening. Last night there was real rain for a while and this afternoon it’s been spilling down some big drops from time to time. And the temperatures have dropped dramatically for daytime here. Could this be the beginning of the much-longed-for monsoon season?

Since I arrived in May it’s been mostly warm to hot and at the worst, windy in the afternoons. Not much in the way of rain, but I think that’s the normal weather pattern. In Ketchum, they had a very rainy May and June. I was glad to have escaped that. Tried not to feel too guilty, or brag about the weather in Taos, when talking to Ketchumites.