Friday, May 1, 2015

Santa Fe Painting Retreat, Day 6

Springtime at El Delirio 11x14 oil by Michael Chesley Johnson

Earlier in the week, we discovered a location that seemed extra special and secret.  The School of Advanced Research (SAR) is behind a gate off Garcia Street, and from the road, it doesn't look like much.  What you can't see from there is the several acres of exquisitely-maintained gardens and historic buildings that the SAR occupies.

The grounds were created in the mid-1920s by a pair of wealthy New Yorker sisters, Amelia Elizabeth White and Martha Root White, who were daughters of financier Horace White.  Local artist William Penhallow Henderson created the eclectic estate under their direction.  The estate was called El Delirio ("The Madness") and became a gathering place for Santa Fe's artists, writers, anthropologists and archaeologists.

Today, El Delirio is home to the SAR, a 100-year-old organization devoted to the study of anthropology and related fields.  Elizabeth White donated her estate to the SAR upon her death in 1972.  For us, it proved a rich ground for painting.  We all focused on the main house, which was based by Penhallow on the Laguna Pueblo church.

Ford Dashboard

After lunch, we all took a break.  Some went to the Plaza; Trina and I went to take photographs on Canyon Road and its side streets.  This area of Santa Fe contains many alleys, dead-end streets and quiet neighborhoods where you can still find a bit of old Santa Fe.  I should note, however, that many of the homes aren't owned by "locals" anymore; they are second-, third-, fourth- and even fifth-homes owned by the extraordinarily well-to-do.

Not Your Usual Turquoise Blue Santa Fe Gate Door

Late in the afternoon, as the sun began to tip toward the west and the light became richer, we headed up to Fort Marcy to paint the view of clouds building and virga dragging across the Sangre de Cristos.  I painted a quick one, interested in more the effect of color than anything.

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