Monday, April 23, 2018

Road Trip: Painting Retreat, Part 2 - Santa Fe, New Mexico

Our location for the Santa Fe portion of the retreat:  Casa Rosa, or the Pink House

After Ghost Ranch, we headed to Santa Fe for the second half of our painting retreat and settled into a spacious home just a short stroll from the galleries of Canyon Road.   Built in 1920, the "Pink House" is still owned by the family that inhabited it for many years.  Filled with antiques and fine art, and surrounded by apple trees in full blossom, it was an inspiration for many paintings during our time.

My setup for painting the Pink House

Spring Comes to the Pink House
(Purchased by the owner - thank you!)

Unlike Ghost Ranch, which provided us with three meals a day, in Santa Fe we were on our own.  Trina and I provided  a hearty breakfast each day; lunches were sandwiches or something quick to avoid interrupting the day; dinners were a communal affair with everyone pitching in as either chef, sous chef or dishwasher.  We certainly could have gone out for meals, but it was much more enjoyable--and less expensive--to dine in.




Ann, Mary, Bev
Our happy group

Randall Davey's House 9x12 Oil
by Michael Chesley Johnson.
I was channeling perhaps one of the Santa Fe "Cinco Pintores" for this one.

With galleries being so close, we made that our first order of business.  Having been to Santa Fe and Canyon Road many times, I gave guidance on my favorites.  Over the years, there has been a great deal of change among galleries; some closing, some moving, some opening for the first time.  One tendency I've noted is the gradual migration to more "decorative" art.  Although you can find fine representational here and there, it is in the minority.  Still, I always enjoy seeing what the artists have come up with.

Visiting the Master in his Studio
Albert Handell

We also paid my friend and master painter Albert Handell a visit while in town. Albert enjoys visitors in this studio.  These days, he is doing some teaching there, rather than being on the road constantly to teach.  It was a pleasure for us to see his new work and to hear his ideas for the future.  As a special treat, he pulled out some of his very, very early work from his youth.  His painting style certainly has changed, but even then, 60-some years ago, he was a master of his craft.  (Albert said, "I've never had another job.")

And of course, we painted.  As I mentioned earlier, our house was very paintable, so we spent some time painting views of it.  (There is something so lovely about adobe and the way sunlight makes it glow.)  On Saturday, which just happened to be Earth Day weekend, we visited the Audubon Center and the Randall Davey House.  That was a rather cool day and, in fact, we had snow flurries at breakfast time.   This  didn't  discourage the birders, who were there to celebrate Earth Day by viewing the songbirds that have recently returned; nor did it discourage the painters, and once the sun warmed up the day, it became very pleasant.

Now, Trina and I are spending a few days more in Santa Fe on our own before continuing our eastward trip.  Next stop:  Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, which is to be followed by a second painting retreat in Brown County, Indiana.  Stay tuned!

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