Saturday, April 27, 2013

Taos Plein Air Painting Retreat – Day 5

Farewell to Taos!

We had rain in the night, but we awoke to a full moon setting in the west and fog-wrapped mountains in the east.  The morning air was filled with the fragrance of sage.  Sage is everywhere, but it's not until the rain bruises its tiny leaves that you really understand the spirit of Taos.

After breakfast and critiques, we headed out.  We went back to Arroyo Seco, which has become one of our favorite painting spots.  Although we'd gone there a couple of days ago, that day was overcast; today we had a lot more sun, and it gave the town a whole different aspect.  We set up in the parking lot of the church and went to work.

L to R: Robert, Tara, Me (vacant easel), Jim, Nancy (not pictured, Linda)
This was a pastel day for me.  When I'm traveling, I like to keep the last day for pastel.  This gives me some time to wash and dry my oil painting brushes before packing them away.  Also, in many ways, taking out a box of pastels and some paper is a lot simpler than wrestling with the oil gear.

Arroyo Seco church 9x12 pastel
Caveat:  Perspective looks "off," but this not a plumb structure
I wanted to paint one more picture of the church.  Today we had some nice shadows, which let me see all the "wonkiness" of the structure – askew eaves, tipped cross atop the belfry and so on.  Then, after a quick stop at the Taos Cow for a cup of decaf, I went back and painted a small picture of the mountains and the wonderful clouds that were building up.

Arroyo Seco clouds 9x9 pastel
We then spent the afternoon organizing, packing and taking some last photos of Taos.  We're not sure when we'll be back.  Next spring, I have my Zion National Park plein air painting retreat, which is full, followed by a month in Santa Fe for a series of four, back-to-back painting retreats.

We had a really great week with wonderful comraderie.  Thanks to everyone who came!  Here are the happy campers:

L to R:  Nancy, Linda, me, Robert, Trina, Jim and Tara
Now we bid farewell to Taos and hit the road.  After stops in Colorado and Nebraska, we'll get to Indiana, where I have two workshops waiting for me.  One is in Valparaiso at the Art Barn, and there is still room left in that one; the other is in South Bend, and that one is full.

I'll write more from Indiana.  Till then, happy trails!


Linda Flanagan said...

Michael and Trina - and Saba! Thanks so much for a fantastic week. You made Taos come alive, despite the weird and sometimes frigid weather. Have a safe and wonderful trip east. - Linda

Michael Chesley Johnson, Artist / Writer said...

And thank you so much for coming! We're glad you and Tara were able to join us. It was a great time!