Many of you may wonder where I’ve been since the beginning of July, so I have decided to do a few summer wrap-up posts to share with you all my adventures with regards to work and seeing. In the middle of July I took a trip to the southwest: to Santa Fe, the New Mexico desert and to Sedona, Arizona.

Canyon Road, Santa Fe

Canyon Road, Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a lovely little town full of a mix of cultures and down to earth people (save for the tourists I suppose). It is also a place where artists thrive, where it seems that everyone is an artist of some kind. Talking with gallery owners there – they don’t skip a beat when you say you are an artist. They ask what kind, what your work is like, if you show, if you want to show and if not, what you want to do instead. It was an extremely refreshing change of pace from that of the East Coast. The art is also not all southwest inspired – there was plenty of general contemporary work – paintings, sculpture… although a definite and mysterious lack of performance work and video from what I saw. I ran into an artist whose work I enjoyed very much named Peter Burega — his work definitely has had an impact on my recent paintings.

Peter Burega Bright Waters 74

Peter Burega
Bright Waters #74
Oil on Panel
60 x 60 inches

I also visited the Georgia O’Keefe museum while I was there, and was reminded of what a total bad-ass she was. As a woman in the mid 20th Century she decided to strike out and live in the desert by herself.  She went camping with friends – to paint in nature. I can only imagine the solitude in those vast expanses. I particularly enjoyed her Black Place and White Place images.

Georgia O'Keefe: White Place

Georgia O’Keefe: White Place

Georgia O'Keefe: Black Place

Georgia O’Keefe: Black Place

The desert of New Mexico is big sky country – you can drive down one of a few roads into the middle of the state with nothing in sight – just sky and flat land punctuated by sandstone bluffs and tumbleweeds. It is big rancher country out there. Some of the land is volcanic – specifically we came upon the Zuni-Banbera lava field… when shot from high sandstone bluffs you get to see a wonderful contrast of light to dark land.

Zuni Banbera Lava Flow, New Mexico

Zuni Banbera Lava Flow, New Mexico

Sedona, Arizona is red and stark – with bright blue skies in the mornings and storms rolling in in the afternoons. It has been a place that has attracted creative types for ages, along with mystics and outdoors people alike. There are state parks everywhere – you cannot hope to do even a fraction of the hikes available. It was my second trip there and I was no less affected by the rocks and how they met the sky. We even happened upon some Petraglyphs at one point – marks made years and years ago by another artist in another time.

Petraglyphs: Sedona, Arizona

Petraglyphs: Sedona, Arizona

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