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This gravel pathway winds through a lush garden and over a bridge across the koi pond, to approach the lovely patio of the Farmhouse Café. Aspens lay down a dappled shade and a stone bench invites you to rest in the peace and tranquility of the garden. I joined the Taos Plein Air group to paint in this wonderful setting. A fellow painter working under her umbrella, rises out of the plants like another flower in bloom.
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I began to paint as a way of entering back into the creative process that had been such a strong part of my life, after working as a potter for 18 years. When I had to stop working in clay because I developed tendonitis in 1993, I started painting again, which let me continue my artistic expression with less strain on my arms. I had studied painting, drawing and printmaking as an art major in college and I fell back in love with painting, entranced by learning to see all over again. Gradually, I am finding my own way in the realm of composition, light and shadow, color and value.
My paintings are intimate views from my immediate world, often painted within miles from where I live in Valdez, north of Taos. I begin a painting out on location and return to it later in the studio to sit with the image, allowing an awareness to evolve before finishing the painting. The main colors, shapes, design and fleeting moments of light are captured on the spot in an immediate impression, but the feeling in the image often takes time to emerge. I strive to develop a quiet stillness in the painting, while maintaining energy and vitality in the brushwork and movement of paint. Many of the still life paintings I have done are of flowers that I have grown in my garden freshly picked and arranged that morning, sometimes in a vase that I have made.
Painting on the spot is a great joy, a total immersion into the natural surroundings where everything else drops away except the present moment that seems to hang on the tip of your brush. Looking carefully, making each stroke, the sense of self merges with the subject, the sun, the wind and the place until there is no separation. Painting becomes moment by moment, opening up new ways to love this world.
The Overland Ranch
Beside the Overland Ranch, just north of Taos, is a beautiful vegetable garden, with neat and orderly rows planted in a wild array of leeks, cabbage and kale, accented with bright colored flowers. Cosmos and calendula rise from the greenery and the Taos Mountain stands as a backdrop, with the iconic old Taos 50's truck giving a splash of turquoise to the scene.