Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Break from Painting Adobes

"The Road to Pilar"
9x12, oil


As much as I love painting architecture, today I decided to go back to the pure landscape. Trina and I drove out on County Road 110 from Ranchos de Taos with the intention of going to Pilar. Now, according to all the maps we have, this was supposed to be a continuous paved road. But after about five miles, the pavement ended abruptly in a pile of boulders. (A gravel road shot off to the west, and perhaps that was a continuation of 110. I didn't feel like driving a dirt road after last night's five inches of wet snow. It'd probably be mud.)

Curious, we parked the car and walked past the boulders. The pavement continued, but two Jersey barriers made darn sure you didn't continue with a vehicle. After the second one, the road became a one-lane gravel road that took us to the very rim of the awesome Rio Pueblo de Taos Gorge. Looking over the edge at the 200-foot drop made me weak in the knees. If you fell, you'd probably never make it to the water; the steep canyon walls are made up of fractured lava that looked about as sharp as a set of Ginsu knives. The road eventually ended down near the Rio Pueblo in a landslide of lava blocks.

We hiked back up to the top of the gorge, and I painted the view.

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