Visitors entering the historic Taos Plaza are likely to encounter Ed Sandoval, a Don Quixote character as colorful as the landscapes he paints. On most days, he can be seen painting under a large red umbrella in the parking lot of Ed Sandoval Gallery – much to the delight of sightseers.
Ed was born in Nambe, NM, and grew up on a small ranch. When he was still young, the family moved to Los Alamos so his father could work on the Manhattan Project. He graduated from Los Alamos High School, where he later returned to teach art classes. He also lived in Tesuque and Truchas before settling in Taos.
Ed’s paintings exemplify his deep reverence for the New Mexico of his boyhood, when rural life was slow and peaceful. After priming each canvas with a red undercoat, he outlines the rugged Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ) Mountains pulsing with energy and warmth. Sagebrush, chamisa and majestic cottonwoods surround his weathered adobe casitas – their wine-colored roofs contrasting boldly against a blue sky. El Viejito (the old man) walks solitary or with a companion down a dusty, winding pathway.
Inspired by New Mexico’s ever-changing symphony of color, Ed captures “a feeling of impressionism and expressionism with bold movement.” When he’s not painting, Ed rides his Arabian horse, Patron, through the plaza – often dressed as Zorro!
In 2012, Ed received the prestigious Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. He has been featured in leading publications such as New Mexico Magazine, Cowboys & Indians and Southwest Art, and has been the commemorative poster artist for the Santa Fe Wine Festival and other celebrations. President Barack Obama chose one of Ed’s paintings to adorn his official thank you cards for New Mexico, and he was recently filmed by the travel channel.