Taos and Santa Fe

Taos Pueblo 1 small

Lizbet and I went travelling for a week (not counting the three days on either end that I needed to get there.

We stayed in a hotel in Taos, New Mexico and we rented a car to explore the countryside. It’s marvelous  new scape for me to absorb.  We both took our watercolours with us but we were so busy going places we wanted to see before we left that we never stopped to paint.

We spent a morning at Taos Pueblo – a world heritage site.  You can find quite a good explanation and a few good pictures of it on Wikipedia.

When we bought our entry fee, they charged us an additional five dollars per camera for the right to take pictures for personal use. They forbid publishing of them, so in respect of that, I won”t post my pictures of Taos Pueblo. I must say though, it’s a stunning place to visit.

Taos is in nosebleed country. My sister who lives on the top of Red Mountain at 5000 feet from sea level spent the first two days recovering from altitude sickness. Taos is approximately 7000 feet up.  I, who live at sea level, felt no effect whatsoever from the altitude.  Well, maybe, a little shortness of breath and a few threats of nosebleed.

The weather was hot, hot, and sunny but with a bit of breeze. The skies are a perfect blue until late afternoon when clouds take a stroll across the sky then dissolve.  At the Pueblo – the earliest multilevel structure continuously inhabited in North America – the warm grey adobe colour scintillates against the cerulean heaven.

When we got back to the hotel, after dinner, my sister retired early. I need much less sleep than she does, so I was up late with my palette of colours and I took out a big brush and painted this painting, above, trying to work from memory. I was happy, not only with the colours but with the impression of the pueblo construction.

Here’s the second one I did:

Taos Pueblo 2 small

Outside our hotel window there were birch trees with brilliantly white bark. With the sun coming through the leaves in the morning, there were such beautiful overlays of the new green leaves. It’s spring there, in the mountains. During the week we were there, the flowers in the gardens started to bloom one after the other in quick succession. It’s the heat. It brings them out much earlier than here in Canada where the succession is drawn over a two month period, not just a week.

So in the morning, before Lizbet was up, I took time to draw a section of the birch tree, trying to capture the light, the beautiful shadows and the overlay of the new green leaves.  It’s a very graceful tree. It shimmers in the late afternoon breeze. It glows with the morning sun and the afternoon sun. It was quite captivating.

Here is my version of it. I must say, I missed the precision of the shadows on the trunk, but I’m nevertheless not unhappy with the result.

Taos Birch tree small

So, there it is. My production whilst on holiday. More about the holiday later.

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9 Responses to “Taos and Santa Fe”

  1. CheyAnne Sexton Says:

    this is really quite good, the aspen painting I think. I like the pueblo too, but it’s everywhere here and the way you described the leaves on the tree is quite wonderful. I agree with the bloom rates and I never thought of it like that before.
    peace n abundance

  2. lookingforbeauty Says:

    Thanks for stopping by, CheyAnne
    We saw wonderful opportunities for painting while in New Mexico. I’d love to come back and continue with painting.
    We carried our watercolour kit with us each day, but we were so busy looking at other people’s work that we never found time for us to paint!

  3. forestrat Says:

    Me, I like the pueblo images. The sandy brown colors against the blue sky – I like the more amorphous look of the second one, it has a shifting sand dune quality. The colors and the shapes conjure the american southwest for sure.


  4. lookingforbeauty Says:

    Thanks Forestrat,
    They’re my favourites from this trip, too.

  5. Chris Miller Says:

    If the administration had known how well you painted… they would have charged even more than for carrying in a camera!

    The pueblos remind me of the village of “Aqua Caliente” (in a Clint Eastwood film)

  6. fencer Says:

    Hi lookingforbeauty,

    Wow, I sure like that first pueblo one, the chaos and order of it… great stuff!


  7. Elizabeth Says:

    Hi Lookingforbeauty,

    Love the aspen. I feel like I could reach in a feel the bark.

  8. lookingforbeauty Says:

    Hi Chris,
    We went up to Ojo Caliente which is a hot spring/spa. All of the houses are done in this adobe style and it had that movie frontier town feel to it. Perhaps it was used for the location.
    Fencer and Elizabeth, thanks for your encouragement. I’d love to go back there and paint – and maybe some day I’ll be able to do that.

  9. DreamrKate Says:

    I just got back from Santa Fe/Taos yesterday afternoon after a week. I think I’m on art/scenery/sky overload. I think it might take me a few days to just decompress and be able to sort out all of the things in my head. I think I could go back there and just sit and watch the sky. I was in awe. Your watercolors are wonderful. I, however, do not even know where to begin to paint.

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