Taos-windy day but great clouds
Taos-windy day but great clouds

This past September, I traveled for a week with my friend and fellow painter Jean to the high country of northern New Mexico. Jean has visited there many times, and she guided us to many wonderful sights around Santa Fe, Abiquiu, and Taos. I know now why New Mexico is called the “Land of Enchantment.” You just want to keep going back to see more. The area is inhabited with a mixture of cultures: Native American, Spanish settlers, and Anglo immigrants. It was home to famous writers and painters: DH Lawrence, Ansel Adams, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Mabel Dodge Luhan to name a few.

We were visiting in the season of the gold chamiza blooms and lavender asters, nature’s complements. I always love painting in Truchas from the front yard of the Hand Gallery. You can see for miles across plateaus to the mountains beyond. Bill, the gallery owner, welcomes us to paint on his property. His gardens bring native birds and butterflies to be enjoyed as well.

Abiquiu was home to Georgia O’Keeffe. The gold and  red rock canyons of Ghost Ranch and neighboring areas still inspire artists today. We painted along the Chama river as the sun was setting and sparkling of the flowing river. Taos offers vistas of the Taos Mountains and the Rio Grande Gorge from several vantage points. The afternoon clouds passing over this high desert area are worth a study or two.  Often lightning comes up in the late afternoons and watching the clouds move, with a glass of wine in hand, can be very entertaining.

During our painting expedition we put our paintings out to dry at the Hacienda Del Sol in Taos. We went off to search for painting spots, of which there were many, and difficult to decide where to set up. We finally chose a vista of Taos Mountain and the chamiza and asters in the meadows nearby. It became quite windy.  On our return, we discovered that the wind had blown dust and seeds all over the paintings. Most of them had dried so the dust was easy to brush off. My last one from San Francisco De Asis Church in Rancho de Taos was still wet with thick paint. If you purchase this painting, you get a bit of Taos sand with it.

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