Sunday, April 26, 2015

Santa Fe Painting Retreat - Part 1

Springtime in Paris Santa Fe

Every year, I lead a weeklong painting retreat for advanced painters.  I try to make it a true immersion experience in which the only language spoken is Art.  We paint, and when we're not painting, we talk about art, or we visit museums, galleries or the studios of other artists, and we critique each other's work.  I limit participation to just a few painters who have studied with me to ensure a compatible, cohesive group.  Everyone tells me they grow a lot during these retreats.  And they're popular, too;  it's not unusual for them to fill just days after I announce them.

This year, we're in Santa Fe.  The "City Different" is, in my opinion, at its most beautiful in April.  Yesterday, as I walked down Canyon Road, famous for its many galleries, all my senses jumped into high gear.  Lilac and wisteria put out a heady scent; cottonwoods displayed their lacey, spring-green foliage; birds courted with song in the apple trees.  I could almost taste this bountiful spring on my tongue.

Our house is only a few blocks from Canyon Road.  This is a real treat, because many of Santa Fe's galleries are within an easy walk.  Museum Hill, which hosts many of the city's museums, is only two minutes away by car.  And restaurants?  You could eat at a different one for every meal for a month and probably not eat at the same one twice.

But I personally like our location because we are near many of the city's historic adobe homes.  These old structures are beautiful because, if they're done right, they are full of organic curves and seem to be part of the landscape.  They don't seem to be "built" at all, but grown.  Often, they're constructed to accommodate some of the huge cottonwoods and may have walls that bend around trunks or are even attached to them.  Finally, if the light is right, these homes glow with golden light that is a painter's dream.

Our first day, Saturday, was Arrival Day.  Participants came from far distances (Maryland and Massachusetts), so everyone was pretty beat.  Still, in the evening, we had time to walk around, look at painting possibilities, and also drive out to the Santa Fe ski area.  We're all looking forward to an exciting week!

Snowy Sangre de Cristos

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