The year is ending. Only a few more days left. For some reason it seems I want to pull my life back into focus. It has been a small and limited year. One of naps and toilet paper famines. One of quiet times and Netflix. An unfortunate lapse in willpower and motivation.
This morning opened to a blanket of white on the chamisa fields around my home. The snow has transformed the bone grey trees on the horizon to a ghostly band of branches dusted with subtle white sparkles. I am thankful for the warmth of my sturdy stucco clad home. Sitting in comfort and safety is a luxury I cherish and occasionally wonder at. What a time to be alive! Such things are remarkable in our history. I may have been fine 100 years ago, but any further back in that handful of generations … things would be distressingly different.
Framing artwork is pretty important. It can set off a painting and really help it command attention. Framing artwork in a way that supports the subject and intention of the artist. The right frame is part of the story.
Framing can also be very expensive. As an artist, it can be a struggle to frame work well. The right frame makes an impact on the likely sale of a work. No one wants to invest extra time into framing something after they purchase art. I don’t.
I am trying to move into appreciating the landscape with my work. That traditional “Taos” look is pretty specific when it comes to a frame. They tend to have a lot of hand carving and are usually gilt. This is challenging to find … and pay for these days.
These frames mix the style of the day with some southwestern accents that have been embraced by collectors and galleries. While I really don’t know much about the history of these frames, they are very easy to identify. A painting with this sort of frame suggests that it is part of a museum collection. If you want a contemporary painting that will have that New Mexico flair, you pretty much want to go this direction.
I realize that most of the associated designs fall within the “Impressionist” classification of frames. You might also consider them Plein Air frames. These frames could also be from Newcomb Macklin out of Chicago.
I have tried to put together a list of online resources for similar less-expensive frames. This is what I could come up with today.
With the 2020 world, I was doing pretty well. There was a lot of adjustment. Things are constantly shifting between good and bad in the world and life. At the moment, I seem a bit listless. Maybe it isn’t depression. A bit of a lul.
What does this mean? I am not quite sure. It is something. It is probably dog paddling in a lake until I decide where I want to swim. Directionless.
It is trying to come to terms with bills, organizing my life and setting off on doing.
It is winter. Sitting in a grocery store Starbucks shop. Eating honeydew chunks out of a plastic cup. Sipping a grande Earl Grey. Wearing a houndstooth driver’s cap. With a shiny Casio Illuminator watch on my wrist. Typing at a MacBook Pro that is plugged into the wall because it mysteriously drains power while off.
The plan for the day is to take care of a newsletter that invites everyone to vote for the Taos Pride board elections. We need to get people to show up and be involved. I also need to update the website for Taos Pride. Make it much more beautiful … hopefully. Then it would be great to get a little sketching or painting done. It would also be great to take some photos of the snow and streams. May go up to a trail in Cañon. Want that stream/snow look.
Oooh! I need a haircut too! That may actually make me a bit more energetic. That might do the trick! Just need to get a few dollars out of the bank. Need to get that Poe Dameron look. Use my wiggly curls to some sort of advantage.
Thoughts About A Long Life
Life. I wonder what it holds from here on out. The likelihood of finding a partner is super low. Some people with happy partner periods of there life, find it valuable. Maybe I am lucky in being spared the eventual loss. From there, life is about doing something with it. Anything really. At least that is my take. I want to paint. I want to produce. I want to share. I want to explore. I want to exchange. I want to communicate. May as well get started on that now.
The Atlantic produced a nice little profile on Herbert Fingarette, a philosopher from California, who is asked to reflect a little on his life. One of his books deals with death.
Maybe I need to work on a legacy. Something about life and living in this age. Some sort of interpretation. Some sort of correspondence with an unknown reader. An attempt to unravel the strings of motivations, circumstance, needs, disappointments, hopes, and feelings. I am not sure if it is for me, or for others. Probably for me. Who are we really kidding.
Over the winter break I hope to branch out and create a bit of a video blog. This may be a bit too much, but I hope that it will stimulate me to address local issues, history, and aesthetics.
What does that mean? It means staking out a weekly idea to explore. It may be a particular artist or gallery. It could be a place or tradition. From there, I would ask people about it, write a bit of a script, record and edit the sucker together. It is an opportunity to explore. There may be moments of recording my own artistic work.
An example may be “Mis Crismes“, a local tradition of visiting homes on Christmas to receive snacks. Children would knock on doors and hopefully the resident would give them a few nuts, candy, or other items to fill their bags. It is a tradition that has died out over the last 40 years.
I have heard stories of it from a few significant people. I also attended a Taos Historical Society event that covered the tradition.
It is the first snow of the year in Taos. The white stuff is coming down strong. Visibility is low. People driving slow. Here we go again!
We will see if this year is as snow packed as last year. WE have had a bit of a snow drought for a while. Last year, the snow returned with a bit of a vengeance. Which made building my home a bit of a hassle.
Here is a sketch from yesterday. You can see that they sky is a bit gray. The day before, winds were strong. There was definitely a sense of changing weather. Something was coming our way.
I am bracing for a cold winter. I hope I can afford to heat my new place. Let’s hope for the best! Gotta pay my bills today and cancel internet.
As the start of school draws closer, a sense of panic sets in. I look out at the tall and slender hollyhocks that line the road and notice that only the blooms at the top are left. They act almost as a measuring stick for the Summer. During the mid-Summer, they are thick in the belly with blooms, but as the hot days lag on, their belly fades. It means that I have to focus on work. The school year cycles. I need to pick classes. Student orientation is around the corner. Panic that I have let the Summer pass without enjoying it.
I am so lucky to be alive! I am also pretty fortunate to live in a beautiful place like Taos, NM.
We don’t have any control over where we are born. Some are born into difficult situations, others are born with advantages that are hard to imagine. Being born here is somewhere between the two. Taos is a place that is protected by a benevolent mountain that nourishes the people that sleep all around it. The rivers and streams that wash down make this island in the high desert bloom with life. It is also a place with hard financial realities. A place with scarce housing, seasonal jobs, tight budgets, and few opportunities for advancement. Because it is a community filled with amazing people, there are small shining responses to challenges like scarce housing, jobs, and advancement. In a place like this, you need to be resilient and positive to survive.
A small town is a tough place to live these days. The world is migrating to larger cities where there are jobs, schools, and outrageously expensive housing. Well, the jobs are pretty attractive. The rest of it is nice, but brings complications.
Would you like me to write a bit about the place and the people in this quirky little paradise? I might do it … if you beg. 😉
I came across a great blog post by “Girl Gone Travel” that highlights the people of Taos. There are some really nice photos and interviews with a few of my friends. Fantastic stuff!
I don’t consider myself a writer. Why am I thinking of doing an essay on the people of Taos? Why don’t I do a video? Well, a video is more complex. It takes more time, skill, and commitment. To make a good video, I have to write, plan, schedule, interview, light, arrange, scout, file transfer, compose music, record music, edit, create titles, render, upload, and probably promote. Gaak! I guess that is why the video thing is hard to deal with.
A year or two ago I was at the Fechin House which is the Taos Art Museum and really enjoyed a show that included several Ralph Myers paintings. At the time I was into the color use and the way many of the early Taos painters tended to render the sky. They used a pointillist technique where salmon pinks and warm oranges would mix with the usual blues to create a vibrating sky.
At the moment I don’t know much about his life other than he came to Taos and opened up shop. He was self taught when it came to painting. He was also not part of the Taos Society of Artists. I will probably post again when I have more details on his work and his life.
Other bits that I know about him mainly relate to his family. Ouray Myers is a son and ran a gallery or two out of his father’s properties along Paseo del Pueblo Norte. Ouray was also an artist and friend of my father. There are also a few descendants of Ralph that I only glancingly know.
In Ouray’s last years, my dad would stop off at one of his shops across from Michael’s Kitchen to chat. I tagged along one time. It was nice to see them interact about stories from the past. Ouray had several photos on his wall of his father’s history. My dad does the same thing in his shop. It is a little museum of Taos’ past.
I just need to keep painting thick and with a bit of spirit. Cheers!