Balloon Fiesta has started, and that means bright colors in blue skies.
A jaunt to Quebec last week to visit with family was a chance to escape and explore. In Montreal – great city to explore by walking - I climbed Mont Royal by following the trails designed by the great park designer Olmsted. I visited the contemporary art museum, where I discovered a helpful message scrawled on the mirror in the ladies’ room - Andy Warhol. A city unafraid of public art – almost every block has at least one statue. The weather was balmy and we ate every meal at an outdoor café. After a few days in the city, we drove up to the national park a few hours north, Mont Tremblant. It was off season - the mountain is known for its many ski resorts, and the autumn colors had only just begun to appear. We hiked to waterfalls and under canopies of tall trees. The towns had patios and we ate our dinners under starry skies.
Upon arrival back home in Santa Fe, I saw autumn had burst into full color in the Southwest. Citron-yellow apples from my tree, lemony chamisas are filling the arroyos and golden aspens are appearing on the mountains. Songbirds are migrating – I see goldfinches among the hummingbirds. Time to drain the swamp cooler and light the pinon fires. And in celebration of the colorful season, I am placing all of my Autumnal Haikus series on sale – 25% off during the entire month of October!
I brought home Maple cream cookies (which I shared with the James Joyce reading group) and a vision of bold color, which I am putting to use while working in the Railyard. I set up an easel and cut and paste while I am at the Railyard Artisans Market displaying my prints and posters. Here is a glimpse of the work on process.
If you are in town, I’d live to see you! If not, just drop me a line.
Love and Peace,
Who is Zozobra? Santa Fe’s Old Man Gloom. His fiery demise each year kicks off the Santa Fe Fiesta, a stewpot of celebrations sacred and secular, silly and serious. The Fiesta commemorates events some 400 years ago, when the Spanish colonists moved into territory of the Pueblo tribes. This mingling of cultures presents many unsettling issues, and the Santa Fe Fiesta must stretch and grow to accommodate more rounded versions of history.
But unlike the rest of the events, the Burning of Zozobra grew up out of an artist thumbing his nose at the establishment. Back in 1922, Will Shuster, a Santa Fe artist, irked by the serious, religious nature of the Fiesta, created a three-foot tall effigy, named him Zozobra, and burned it in his yard, in the company of well -toasted friends. Santa Feans quickly embraced the ritual burning as their own tradition. Stuffed with sins and glooms and miseries, the effigy is now a 30-foot marionette who moans and groans above a huge crowd (over 50,00 attended this year) before going up in flames, amid fireworks. This year’s Zozo was nattily dressed, based on one of Shuster’s designs from the 1940’s. Children dressed as ghostly “gloomies” marched across the stage with exaggerated goosesteps, to the sound of jackboots crunching on pavement. More chilling spectacle than usual.
But with Zozo reduced to smoke and ash, it is time to put aside gloom and grief, and embrace the good of the season. Apples, pears and peaches are in season. And the apricots…let me tell you, amazing. We all enjoy being outdoors, whether sipping a Boulvardier in the café, or biking along the river, or walking in the mountains. Hiking in the foothills lets me stretch my legs and my soul. On the trail up Pacheco this week, I sat on some boulders and looked out to see the plains and the distant mountain ranges. I met a couple up there, visitors from Austin, and they shared their delight with the vista. I shared a tip: where to find the best desserts in the city (try The Compound Restaurant - I am a biased adviser!)
Meanwhile, lots of art! I have been revisiting some of my autumn pieces; I’ll be showing them here in a few weeks – when the aspens show their gold. The collage that I have been working on (working in the Railyard) is a richly hued coral reef. Here is a glimpse.
If you come into town, swing by and say hi! You know I am always glad to see you.
Love and Peace,
September in Santa Fe, with its cool mornings and bright blue skies, is delightful!
I used to dread September. Too many associations with school and its rules and assignments and nasty buses and people with petty authority. My dread and discomfort would last into October before I settled into the school season. Long after I left school, I carried that seasonal dread.
But life is different now. This morning, September 1, I read one of those Facebook “memories” – six years ago I expressed joy that the moving van with all my furniture had arrived; it had set off from Chicago in July, and met with inexplicable delays. I had been living out of suitcases and boxes since March 29; I had few clothes, no computer, and no cooking gear – but I did have my art tools. Those tools, and a library card from the Santa Fe Public Library helped me survive the months while I waited for my things to catch up to me in Santa Fe.
I did not have lamps or a TV, so I rented books on tape from the library. I listened to Moby Dick while I assembled bookcases, anticipating the arrival of my book collections. The moving company never gave a reason for the delay, or a date that they would deliver, so my waiting was indefinite. So, I learned about the customs of my new town. I went to Indian Market and attended the Mass at the Cathedral which included an Eagle Dance. I made new friends. I looked forward to the Hysterical Parade of the Fiesta, and the mysterious ritual of the Burning of Zozobra. My waiting ended on September 1, with the delivery of my belongings, a signal to me that I could put down my roots, and begin to rebuild a new life. I realized today, recalling that moment six years ago, that I have not dreaded September since then.
No gold on the aspens yet, the peppers are still on their stalks, chamisa is not yet bloomed – this is not autumn, but the full fruition of summer.
I picked plums overhanging my yard from my neighbor’s tree; already cooked up into plum conserve. This is the haiku collage inspired by the plum tree; Neighbor's Plums.Autumnal Haiku
Yes, September is a time for feeling alive, for reflection and for planning. I have a lot of plans for the coming season: shows and workshops and travel. This photo is an old one – ten years ago I think. I was demonstrating my collage technique at a solo show in Oak Park, Illinois. The upcoming show in late Fall will include one too. Meanwhile, I am working in the Railyard on most Sundays, and my planetary collages are on display at Ohori’s.
Another delight of the late summer harvest: Pears! The first pears are in the market, and my home is warm with the fragrance of Pear Cake baking. Yum! I love pears: and so you reap the harvest: all of the pear pictures that I have in stock will be on sale this weekend, Friday through Monday, including original collages, giclee prints and posters, 15% off, online or at the Sunday market.
Unless you would like a slice of Pear Cake! Just let me know!
Love and peace,
D E C O
Art, news and thoughts from Santa Fe, New Mexico.