We had a sprinkling of snow in Santa Fe this morning; although many of you have been socked with heavy snow and plunging temps, we have enjoyed a mild winter so far. We have been longing for the white stuff, just a bit; when snow comes to Santa Fe, the mountains are bold against the crystal blue sky; the air is crisp and fresh. So I left my studio this afternoon, promising the work would wait till my return. I strapped wire coils (yak trax) to my hiking boots for traction, and I drove to a trail in the foothills. I love the quiet of the pine woods. Despite the bright sun and the mild air, I was one the few that went exploring today. My footprints marked a pristine trail (although I saw bobcat paw prints occasionally); Mount Taylor, over a hundred miles distant, was clear on the western horizon. Yes, the excursion takes me from my scissors and paper, but I returned refreshed, ready to tackle new projects.
New for the Year
I have listed some of my work on an online gallery. I love the name of this gallery: Art of Santa Fe. I have several items listed and I will add more. It is easy to use this new site for purchases because it links to PayPal. The site is www.ArtofSantaFe.com and my work can be found under DECO//fine art collage.
Two days into the New Year, I received some exciting news. I was selected to create the art for the 2019 Poetry Out Loud recitation competition state finals. This national competition was conceived by the Chicago-based Poetry Foundation to encourage the reading of poetry. The State of New Mexico’s Department of Culture, New Mexico Arts conducts the event. The state finals are held in March, so I will have most of this year to prepare the art for 2019. I am thrilled, and I already have ideas for it.
What else is new?
I am continuing work on my Coral Reef series; I started the eighth one a few days ago. I will be working on it in the studio and at the Santa Fe Railyard Artisans Market on Sundays.
Coming up next month, I will be conducting a Collage Workshop at the Market on the Sunday before the holiday. I will post information about this event both here and on my Facebook page.
New shows are in the works as well! stay tuned!
Love and Peace,
Is there a day in the year filled with more hope? Winter’s grip, with grasping fingers – Marley’s talons, Scrooge’s claws – tightens, and the icy whistling wind seeks tiny clefts: under the door, down the shaft of the range hood, through the cracked clerestory window. Insidious and insistent, cold creeps in. Where are my gloves? I need warm slippers! Let’s hunker down. We need warm food – tea, green chile stew, lasagna. Let’s gather together: drink deep, tell old stories, laugh in the face of the dark night. Light the candles, all of them! Put twinkly lights in the trees! Against the encroaching gloom, Solstice arrives: the first dawns are not encouraging as the sun appears stuck in its lowest arc; but then its arcs grow larger and the days lengthen. The tables are turned, the long night is vanquished, we welcome the return of light. Yes, yes, thank heavens for the solstice; we have hope for our days in the approaching new year.
I am thinking of family and friends now; I listen to the aches and sorrows of the year, I weep for the untimely passing of the ones we have loved, and I celebrate all the goodness and greatness as well: new babies, weddings, new homes, new cars, new schools: bold steps in an uncertain future. Hooray for the courage and the blessings to fortify the new year.
I recently added a few pages to the website, under the new tab “Buy Some” in order to make greeting cards and posters available to readers who would like to purchase small items. Of course, originals and giclee prints are always available for most of the images on the site.
Greeting Cards Collections
These Greeting Card Collections have 5 collage designs in each set - click on each one to see the collections. Six collections are available at $20 for each set of 5 cards and envelopes. Cards are also available singly - seventeen card styles to choose. See Greeting Cards.
In addition to these two full-size posters, ($25) look on the Posters page for six additional Mini-Posters: only 11" x 17" and so affordable!
Large, 18" x 24" $100
Medium, 16" x 20" $75
Small, 12" x 16" $50
See you next Year!
When a rose blooms in December, it captures my eye and I am stopped in my tracks; I have to go and regard the bloom with wonder. I am drawn not because the rose is lush and fragrant, nor an element in an abundant display of splashy flowers. No, a December rose is usually a solitary bloom, smaller than its summer siblings, with only the mere hint of fragrance. The tender rose petals are the only bright spot in a winter-blasted garden, when the brightness of autumn leaves has been bleached by frost and stripped by wind. The pale rose appears fragile in this setting, but I see its strength and its graceful stubbornness.
At least that is how it appeared to me in Decembers in Chicago.
Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin had an experience of roses in December that was entirely different than mine. He had visions of the Virgin Mary and reported them to the archbishop of Mexico City in 1531 with the instructions to build a church, but the bishop sent Juan Diego back with an order for proof. The beautiful maiden of the apparition agreed to provide miraculous evidence and told Juan Diego to gather flowers from Tepeyac Hill, normally barren in December. He found Castilian roses, a flower not native to Mexico, and he gathered them up in his tilma, his cloak. The Virgin arranged the flowers, and when Juan Diego opened his cloak in front of the bishop, the roses fell to the ground revealing an image of the Lady imprinted on his tilma.
Juan Diego's tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe is preserved in a shrine in Mexico and has become an icon, appearing everywhere from key chains to bumper stickers. A representation to this image appears over my booth at the Santa Fe Railyard Artisans Market, and one Sunday I looked up and I knew that I needed to create a collage of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I worked on it eagerly – I wanted it complete before the Feast Day, December 12. I am pleased to report that she is ready. I have titled it “Our Lady of Peace in Love.”
I will display the original of “Our Lady of Peace in Love” throughout the month of December at the Market.
The Market has added extra days and the schedule is printed to the right. It would be lovely if you could come see the original of “Our Lady.”
I have also made high-quality giclee prints of this collage, reproduced on archival art paper. I have three sizes available: small (12” x 16” for $50), medium (16” x 20” for $75) and full size (18” x 24” for $100.) Of course I ship, and each giclee is signed and numbered and comes with a certificate of authenticity.
Our holidays are often manic and sometimes lonely, but my wish for you is that you find peace in stillness, and that you find grace and strength in solitude, like a rose in December.
Peace and Love,
A walk in the woods this morning astounded me with color. I arrived at the trailhead (near Big Tesuque) just as the sun was lifting over the mountain, and the topmost branches of the aspens caught the slanting beams, as if they were radiating light themselves. The area around Tesuque Creek is known for the aspen groves gracing the mountainsides – every year visitors come to walk under the quivering amber leaves – some even ride the ski lift to view the trees from a hawk’s perspective. Often I like to walk alone in the aspens world – the sunlight filters through the leaves, bathing everything I see in a golden glow. Today, however, I walked where the aspens were fewer, and they mixed in with the Ponderosa Pines and the gambel oak – their splashes of bold yellow: canary, marmalade, saffron - appeared all the brighter in contrast to the firs surrounding them.
Harvest season had produced an abundance; squashes are piled high in the markets and bushels of pears and apples are waiting to be chaperoned home: cakes, pies, and cider. (Have you ever tried perry? A pear cider! Special pears go into perry – they are called wildings!)
I have been busy producing new collages and I have brought new items to the Market. I debuted 4 new greeting cards and created a new collection called Fine Ladies Dancing. I now have over a dozen individual cards and 6 card packets (collections of 5 blank cards and envelopes).
The “Perfectly Pear” and “Fine Ladies Dancing” collections feature five different images, while the others - “Dragon’s Lair” “Have No Fear” “Pluto” and “Loosen Your Soul” have feature one image for the five cards.
Many of my customers find these collections make lovely gifts; if you would like to purchase, click here to go the Contact Form to reach me. Yes, I do ship!
While Harvest is a celebration of what we have, it is also a practice of hope and expectation. We are grateful for what we have and we look forward with faithful hope.
Hope. Something that Chicagoans are familiar with.
I am still thinking to a Road Trip: I think I will. I will report back with my adventures.
Love and Peace
A recent jaunt out of town brought me to the lovely small city of Spokane, Washington. The weather was autumnal, crisp enough in the mornings to appreciate a scarf, with balmy sunny afternoons. Trees were beginning to tip their leaves with red and gold, and the last harvests of the fruit trees were fewer but sweet. Flower gardens were vivid in bright hues: I saw dahlias with blooms the size of my head, koi soaking up the sun, a Great Blue Heron contemplating stillness. Nearby mountains framed the views, and Idaho was just an hour drive away.
Being “away” is so restorative – as if just breathing different air makes a difference in my being. Of course, more than fresh air contributes to renewal: meals with unusual flavors, new dialogues mix with old family stories; a slower pace lets lazy hours spool away untroubled by the cares of home. Like a retreat with intentional moments, I found I was calmer and stronger, able to handle the madness of the world, which shivered like a crashing cymbal on my return to “real life.” But not right away. My return flight took me over the snowy peak of Mount Rainier, near sunset. Like the mountain asana in yoga, the promontory was solitary and wholly at rest. I thrilled to see it – first in front of the wing and then behind it. I like to sit in the window seat when I fly; sometimes the reward is the mountain, and the reminder to grow in stillness.
And then home. Autumn is beginning to appear in the High Desert Plains – we have had record breaking rainstorms in the past week. Snow sparkled on the ski basin. Before the harsh days prevail, however, we celebrate the clear brilliant skies in New Mexico by adorning them in gorgeous color: The Balloon Fiesta! Look up! Balloonists from all over the world come to Albuquerque, and aficionados rise before the sun to see them launch. The festival lasts for ten days, and[D1] includes a variety of celebrations. When they are not watching the balloons loft away into the mountains, many fans come to Santa Fe to while away their hours. We artists at the Santa Fe Railyard Artisans Market would like to invite these visitors to come see our wonders too, so we have added an extra day to our schedule. Not only will we be open on Sundays, but we will also set up on Friday, October 13, 2017, in our usual location, The Farmers Market Pavilion, for our usual hours, 10 am to 4 pm.
Portraiture is a time-honored expression in any medium, but I find that using cut paper collage to be especially challenging. For me the gaze of the subject is key to capturing the soul of the piece. Not every artist would agree with this assessment. One only had to think of Van Gogh’s quickly rendered portraits of the townsfolk of Arles (I am thinking especially of “La Berceuse” and the woman’s averted eyes): the lack of engagement with the artist, and thus the viewer, tells its own story about the subject, and can be powerful. On the other hand, in his self-portraits, Van Gogh fixes his gimlet gaze on us and compels us to engage with him. His expression may be confrontational or melancholy, or simply at ease, but his gaze, rendered in those powerful rapid brushstrokes, demands we engage with him as a fellow human.
I have created only a handful of portraits, but I find them to be profoundly rewarding. My first collage portrait was of John Lennon on his wedding day. Dressed in his signature white attire, he stands with his hands on his hips, letting his jacket tail behind him. To my eye, he looks nervous; not the confident performer, nor the cocky activist, but a bridegroom contemplating a significant moment in his life; no family and few friends surround him; perhaps he is thinking about the press waiting outside the door, and what controversy his marriage would create. I used copies of newspaper clippings about the wedding to create the collage, keeping to a monochromatic theme.
I belong to a James Joyce reading group, and we celebrate “Bloomsday” every June. On this day, Joyceans around the globe gather to commemorate the day that the fictional Leopold Bloom lived life in Dublin, on June 16, 1904. I wanted to create a portrait for our Bloomsday event, but Bloom is not described much in Ulysses. However, while I was in the Joyce Museum in Trieste, Italy, I glimpsed a drawing of Bloom - a scribble really – that Joyce himself made while visiting an artist friend in Montparnasse. The drawing showed Bloom in a bowler and overcoat with absurdly large white buttons. I based my collage on this scribble, incorporating slivers of the text, both the 1922 and the 1963 versions, in the background.
Another portrait in which I used text as the background was the one of Abraham Lincoln, “So Costly a Sacrifice.” I wanted to depict a leader who understood the cost of the people during a war. During my research, I found a facsimile of the original condolence letter that Lincoln wrote to Mrs. Bixby of Massachusetts, who lost 5 sons in the war. This was a treasure to me, and it required careful slicing of the letter, line by line, and arranging the minute fragments around the head of the President. The title of the portrait is taken from the text of the letter. Three of his generals are to the left of his face. This portrait was on display in the White House for a few years.
My latest portrait “Mr. Googly Eyes” is more whimsical than the others, and is pure fantasy. I wanted to render this one in swirling carnival colors, and yet convey a sense of uneasiness. Sometimes people ask me what is the meaning behind him and his ambiguous gesture, and I reply, with a wink, as Shakespeare might, “Oh, what you will.” At this point, Mr. Googly Eyes is not telling.
I recently brought these four portraits to the Market one Sunday, and had them on display together. It was fun to see visitors interact with the portraits.
These collages are available as originals and as giclee prints; click here with your inquiries for these or any other pieces.
I would love to hear from you.
You will find me at the Railyard Artisans Market most Sundays, although some days I play hooky. And with the change in the weather, the blooming of the chamisa, and the glory of the aspens emerging, I am thinking of going on a road trip. Hmmm. We shall see. I’ll let you know. Till then…
Love and Peace,
What’s out there.
As far back as I can remember, I have been fascinated with the universe beyond our atmosphere. I love to see a full moon rise, and in the morning near dawn, see the full moon set. I get a thrill when I see the merest sliver of a crescent in the early evening in the western sky. I remember the first time I saw the remnant slice floating above the desert just before dawn; to me it was a promise of serenity and perseverance.
Naturally, the realm of outer space has appealed to me as subject for collage. I have depicted scenes from within our solar system, including portraits of our neighbors. Venus Unveiled shows the planet as it would appear without its wrap of dense clouds, and Mars Unleashed shows the red planet as viewed by X-rays. In Cast Out, we view remote Pluto, looking over its shoulder so to speak, forlornly orbiting the distant Sun.
A favorite subject for me are galaxies, whether real as in M101 or Take A Flying Leap (Andromeda) or imaginary, as in Freedom, Passion, Love. I have collaged images inspired by Hubble photos, as in the magnificent towers in the Eagle Nebula, the dying stars and starbirth clouds in Carina allowed me to contemplate the circle of life.
On Monday, I plan to be viewing the eclipse (safely of course) and I hope you will too, even if you are not in the optimum zone for seeing the total .
Our little planet has been experiencing eclipses like these for eons, but this will be the only one that most of us will see.
Chaos and terror may seize us, but I hope that for this one moment we know peace and know that peace is worth achieving.
Love and Peace,
I moved to Santa Fe seven years ago, beset by circumstances that prompted a hasty departure.
I did not bring much as I was expecting a truck to follow me and deliver essential possessions, like clothing and kitchenware.
I was mistaken. I got a phone call just outside Springfield informing me that my boxes had been “taken off the truck” and that they did not know when the delivery would take place. (In fact, the truck would not arrive for more than a month).
As I was speeding along I-55, I had to choose my direction. Return to Chicago? But there was not even a bed for me. Run forward to create a new life in New Mexico, uncertain and alone, to a town where I knew not a soul? Forward I went.
I had a place to live in Santa Fe, I knew; unfurnished but bright. I had a key, I had a cooler, and I had the clothes on my back.
The house had windows and let a lot of light in – that is why I chose it, and I designated one of the rooms to be my new studio, even though my easel and supplies were in some unknown Midwestern warehouse with the rest of my boxes.
I did have my scissors and glue, and continued to do art work, while I was settling into the new place.
Although the home suited my needs in many ways, it did not have a view. Yes, in Santa Fe, with blue skies and mountains in five directions, and I could see none of it.
My yard was enclosed with a tall fence, painted chocolate brown; and the yard…tall tough and gnarly weeds grew everywhere the stony hard-baked gritty dirt allowed.
So I pulled weeds, enriched the soil, and started my garden, creating an oasis of peace and fruitfulness.
So seven years later, my home is surrounded by healthy xeric-appropriate trees and shrubs and flowers. I delight in the garden – it provides a respite and a gathering place for friends.
But one area that I puzzled about was the long stretch of brown fence abutting a sidewalk along the house – a gangway, we called it in Chicago. Not much space to plant, and exposed to shadeless heat all day.
One day the tenants north of the fence decided to brighten their side by planting old-fashioned sunflowers. When they moved, the owner, not fond of things natural, cut down the flowers. The next year, one plant volunteered; last year there were three – this year they are abundant.
And for the first time since arriving here, I have beautiful flowers outside my bedroom window.
I may have to trim them back at the end of the season, but for now, they are a celebration of serendipity – you never know when, or where, beauty is going to emerge.
Recently, I had a request for prints of one of my most popular images, coincidentally the one I was working on when I first arrived in Santa Fe. The picture, Loosen Your Soul, is available as a large poster, a journal, and greeting cards, (individually and as a set of five). As of this week, giclee prints of the image are being produced in two sizes, using archival ink on fine art paper. They may be purchased through me directly, on this site (click here for Contact Form) or at the Sunday Market.
I am going to sit in my garden, glass of chilled vino in hand, and contemplate the next collage.
When you come to town, give me a call - we will sit in the garden!
Love and Peace,
Dragon Season in Santa Fe!
Drakes and dragons of all sizes and colors have descended upon our city. Sharp-eyed visitors will spot the slithery winged serpents in unexpected places. They are on street corners, in shops, and lurking from rooftops. Draped over the façade of a gallery and glaring menacingly at the cathedral across the street, this metal sculpture intimidates locals and tourists. And why have dragons invaded ...?
Celebration! Dragon aficionados are welcomed at the Jean Cocteau Cinema. As in previous years, the theater is showing all of last season’s episodes as a lead up to the new Game of Thrones season premiere on Sunday. Some of us are willing to take on the Iron Throne! I have been a fan of dragons for decades. I created a series of monoprints of the fabulous beasts years before I discovered the wonders of collage.
My dragon in collage (pictured above) was created more recently. I had been thinking of the dragons described in Tolkein's stories, as well as George R.R. Martin's Westros versions. I have my own take on the beasts, somewhat drawing upon the ones I had created as monoprints, decades ago. I found the medium of collage suited to the depiction of shiny scales - the jewel-encrusted torso was fun and challenging.
The original collage is now in a private collection, but I have produced a series of giclee prints, and they hot off the press. They are signed and numbered, printed with archival inks on fine art paper, the image is 8” x 12” on a 11” x 15” page, ready for matting or framing ($50). The dragon is also available as a 5” x 7” greeting card, singly ($4.25) or as a set or 5 ($20); each is blank inside and comes with an appropriate envelope.
In honor of Dragon Season, I am offering all Dragon products at 20% off the pre-tax price. I will be at the Sunday Market with the prints, but I will honor online orders until midnight on Sunday, when all good critters should be abed, even dragons!
Click here to find the Contact Form to order a Dragon Print or any other product.
Meanwhile, I have been working on new autumnal collages. This one was inspired by a storm seen on the road from Albuquerque. In Santa Fe, we are still waiting for our monsoon storms – they usually start around July 1; dark clouds pile up every afternoon threatening to pour, but not a drop falls. Hmmm... maybe I will have to call on the Daenerys Stormborn to provoke the rains to fall.
I have to get back to the easel now and complete some pictures before Sunday (I admit I have been distracted!)
I have no fear of the rain, nor dragons, or even cats. I have sat on the Iron Throne and survived!
I will enjoy the Dragon Season in Santa Fe, and I hope you do too, wherever you are. When you fly into town, give me a call and we will share old tales beside the fire.
Love and Peace
And it is Summer! the cholla is in bloom. These are a few shots of my walk along the Rail Trail this week. The photos capture the brilliance of these blooms on their waxy yellow buds. The sight brings back memories of when I went cholla harvesting with the crew from Santa Fe Spirits. That was during a drought year so the blooming of the cholla was late, but we found fields of it on a ranch south of Santa Fe (where they were also filming a Seth McFarlane movie). The day was in the 90s and cloudless. I was using a vise grip wrench to twist the blooms off the cactus. I was given a pair of leather gauntlets but I found them too bulky to be effective, so I braved the cactus spines with bare hands. And what day of playing in the desert would be complete without a rattlesnake? That’s the rancher poking at one with a ten-foot pole. Such ventures call for volunteers, but they rewarded us with a bottle of Wheeler’s Gin, which was distilled with the essence of the cholla blossoms, and other Southwestern flavors.
But most days in Santa Fe are not so herpetological. Recently we celebrated Bloomsday, for which fans of James Joyce descended upon the Jean Cocteau Cinema (thank you, George R.R. Martin!). We feasted on seed cake and gorgonzola sandwiches and all manner of cocktails, before regaling each other with pungent selections from the novel Ulysses. Some of the passages were quite intense, requiring a sizeable cast sharing the microphones (Cyclops episode) and some were breath-takingly bizarre (Circe). And all good fun. I was delighted to be invited to show some of my work at this event; in addition to the Joyce-themed Bloomsday at Molly Malone’s and Leopold Bloom, I displayed Too Far Out and Loosen Your Soul. The curator for the theater was excited – and perhaps more opportunities are coming down the pike. You will hear it here first!
Right on the heels of this one-day show, I got more exciting news: I will be presenting a workshop on poetry and collage at St. John’s College here in Santa Fe. I am thrilled! The date has not yet been determined, but it will be during the next academic year. I will be sure to announce it on this page.
On the home front, the family chefs and I have been experimenting with a wood-burning pizza oven. I have nicknamed it Jonah’s Bane. On its first ”trial-by-fire”, we cooked spicy shrimp, eggplant, and hand tossed pizza. More to come.
I will be in the Railyard Artisans Market for the next few Sundays, working on my Coral reef series. The market is indoors and air conditioned, with live music, so I enjoy doing my work there.
See you soon!
Love and Peace,
What Goes On:
Deco will be at the
Railyard Artisans Market
one last day this year: Friday December 22
10 am to 4 pm
Demonstrations of collage technique and fun things for sale
"Our Lady of Peace in Love"
small (12” x 16”) $50 medium (16” x 20”) $75 full size (18” x 24” )$100
shipping via carrier of your choice
available for purchase, on line or at the market. How Prime!
Prints, posters and cards make beautiful gifts
When you are in Santa Fe:
Listen to ArtFusion,
Thursdays at noon on KVSF, the Voice of Santa Fe, 101.5 FM
Enjoy the selections at Santa Fe Spirits - the new tasting room is open on the south Side, off Airport
Relax and nibble at Fire and Hops Gastropub, 222 N. Guadelupe
Shop at the Railyard Artisans Market
Farmers Market Pavilion
Paseo de Peralta & Guadalupe, Santa Fe
Something to celebrate St. Valentine's Day
Sunday, February 11, 2018
Studio Visits in Santa Fe:
by appointment and with a smile!
And, as always:
Follow me on
Deco - Artist