Friday, April 20, 2012

I had so much fun today! 
Goldie and I left early for my paint out and interview at the Puye Cliff dwellings, outside of Espanola. It was cloudy almost all day and we even got rained on a little. We stopped and had breakfast at our favorite place, the Tesuque General Store. Then we headed to the cliff dwellings, got a little lost in Espanola, and finally made it for the painting and the interview. The dwellings were amazing. I wish I had taken more photos. The holes you see in the photo above were where the dwellers carved holes into the rock. Then they went inside and made holes over that for vigas to hold up rafters for their house dwellings. I always thought they lived inside the cliffs. I  brought home some brochures so I can read up and be better informed. 
 After taking a few shots, I set up my little plein air spot and you can see my canvas below. 
As soon as I started painting, the clouds started gathering. I worked fast, did the interview and then it started raining. We gathered up all of my painting supplies and climbed into the cars and were off. I will have to finish this at home. But I like what I have so far. If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can see one of the forty foot ladders that leads to the midway point.    
Those cliffs are high!

 My rough sketch. I'm using a canvas that I had intended to paint something else on, but I ignored those old lines.

 Blocking in the darks (there aren't many!), the lightest lights, and more notes of color.

 The sky (it changed as it thundered and lumbered over us), and color notes on the cliffs.
This is what I will be bringing home to finish in the studio.

Other photos from the trip: the gathering storm

 Low rain clouds over the mesa

 This is so New Mexico. We loved it!

 We actually drove around a little bit and found this big beautiful plateau. I wondered if it might be Black Mesa. The only reason I know about it is because someone once asked me if I had ever painted it. This plateau is big, beautiful, and very mystical. We saw it, and went inside the gas station to ask what it was called. The lady goes, "You mean that big old rock out there? That's Black Mesa."

San Idelfonso. 
This is one of the most beautiful little churches in New Mexico. To go to Mass and have the Black Mesa as your backdrop - that would be fantastic. I have painted this church only once from a friend's photo and now I can paint it as many times as I want!  
And I also love the white crosses in the landscape.
What I want you to also notice is the range of blues in the mountains on the left.

 Another view of the church. 
This is from the other side and it has the prettiest turquoise windows.
Look at the hills behind it and the mountain range. 
Pictures just don't do justice to what we saw today.

 I have to say that the clouds were pretty spectacular.
As a painter, I would prefer clouds over solid blue sky any day. 
The ever-moving and changing clouds make for great photos and even better painting.

Another view of the range of colors in the landscape. I love the different shades of green in the foreground, the meandering shades of oranges and browns in the middle ground and all of the blues of the mountains and thunderclouds in the background.

Headed back home - it was a GREAT day! I am totally inspired now.


  1. I once spent a morning sitting next to the highway painting Black Mesa. A simply wonderful spot.

  2. I want to do that too!And soon!