Enchanted New Mexico
In September I made my first, but most certainly not my last, real visit to New Mexico. True, the occasion that took me there was my wedding, so at the very least we’ll return to celebrate an anniversary now and again. Had we, however, gone for any other reason, my conviction to return would be as strong. Everywhere I turned it seemed I found inspiration. New Mexico is a magnet for artists and it’s easy to see why. The sky, the light, the colour, the architecture, the art and of course the chile, all contribute to artistic inspiration.
I’ve been puzzling this past month over how to turn the experience into a post. At last I decided to just show you a little bit of a lot. This doesn’t come close to covering our week long journey or to explaining just how inspiring this corner of the world is, but it’s a start.
The New Mexico sky was the most beautiful cerulean blue usually contrasted by fluffy white clouds, but also by whitewashed adobe structures like this freshly painted archway. This is part of the wall surrounding the San Francisco Catholic Church in Golden, NM on the Turquoise Trail from Albuquerque to Santa Fe.
We found ourselves drawn to visiting many of the omnipresent churches, most of them hundreds of years old. Above is the Santuario de Nuestro Señor de Esquipulas in Chimayo. Dirt from a back room of the church is claimed to contain powers that can heal physical and spiritual ills. This is highlighted by the massive parking lot with the majority of spaces being “handicap” parking.
The churches we stopped into were all adobe structures with hand crafted woodwork both inside and out. This is the exterior balcony of the Church of San Jose de Garcia in Las Trampas on the High Road to Taos.
You likely recognize San Francisco de Asis Mission Church in Taos from Georgia O’Keeffe’s many paintings of it. Is there any wonder that she was inspired to paint it?
The interior is equally inspiring.
I fell in love with this little building near the church. There’s something so sculptural about the way it was boarded up, it’s difficult to believe it wasn’t done with art in mind.
Inside the churches was an amazing array of folk art; some of it beautifully crafted, some adorned with delicate painting or hand carved embellishment, some with plastic angels or flowers. It was also interesting to see icons and imagery containing Christian, Pagan and a combination of influences. This example is from the Church in Golden.
Of course the churches with a ‘tourist’ following are flanked by shops and galleries. This funky establishment is near the the Santuario de Nuestro Señor de Esquipulas in Chimayo.
The High Road to Taos is also a great route for finding art and artists. In addition to the churches, the adobe buildings returning to the earth and the sculpture of abandoned metal work there are a number of art galleries including the Anna Karin Gallery in Truchas where I had a very inspiring conversation with Jeane George Weigel.
The whole region is rife with art. This is the Shidoni Foundry north of Santa Fe were we were able to watch the creation of some glass pieces.
Yes, it was as hot as it looks.
This is a cool shop in Albuquerque. I had to post something with a ristra after all.
OK, so I’ve turned this into a travel-log, but I hope you find it inspiring as well. So inspiring perhaps that you’ll come back for Part II of Enchanted New Mexico to be posted in the near future.