Saturday, July 14, 2012

Spirit Ladder

Spirit Ladder by J. Binford-Bell
18 x 18 mixed media on canvas

My first major painting of 2012. Yes, it is July. Painting block? Possible. Bunches of other things going on like gardening and photography. Far more likely. The first quarter of 2012 I worked extensively on photography and putting on an a two month exhibit of my photographs and those of my sister, Deborah Binford Baker. The show consisted of almost 30 matted and framed photographs many of which had won prizes in juried exhibitions including the Ralph Solano Photography exhibit at the Old Pass Gallery in Raton.

Once that show was installed I devoted my time to gardening, which this year was major. I moved raised beds and developed a poly tunnel system to compensate for the fickle weather at almost 9000 feet altitude. Painting, and the art fairs I did for years, always got in the way of gardening, a hobby I very much enjoy. Yes, artists have other interests. Perhaps too many. A creative mind is hard to corral. Rather like herding cats. And the muse seems to get spooked at the least little thing.

But I have been painting in my mind. I can mentally work on a drawing and then the colors I want for the painting for quite some time. And I will sit and do little sketches in my sketch book on the details. I will go through art collector magazines and clip out and paste in works that inspire me. And I will play around with mediums on lessor works.

Poppies in Blue by J. Binford-Bell
11 x14 on cradled artist panel

For instance my Poppies in Blue painting was my first to use oil sticks. After laying down my basic colors in my usual watercolor I heightened certain areas of the poppy with oil sticks. I liked the look and so the mental paintings I was working on moved forward with the knowledge that I would use this combination of media - watercolor, ink and oil - on them. I am currently working on Route 66 and Poppies in Green.

 I think I am going through a metamorphosis not unlike a caterpillar to a butterfly. And if that is the case then this winter of no painting was my chrysalis. Every artist needs from time to time step back and contemplate what is on the easel. I think mine was overdue because my fair schedule kept me too busy.

Note on Spirit Ladder: The people of Acoma Pueblo were forced by the Spanish occupation of their mesa to "hide" their Kivas, or spiritual houses, from the Catholic priests that built the mission San Esteban del Rey. They made them square and put the entrances on the top and built ladders to allow entry. The ladders are painted white, and the four major kivas have ladders with three upright poles and what is called a cloud bar at the top.

In my painting I put the bell towers of San Esteban del Rey in the background and enlarged the chief spirit ladder which seems to reach into the hole in the sun caused by the moon during the recent annular eclipse.


  1. Love the Spirit Ladder painting, Jacqui.

  2. Jacqui - these are beautiful. I am especially drawn to the spirit ladder. Really quite gorgeous !


I appreciate all kind comments on my art and poetry.