Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Other Side of the Mountain - We Need A Home

Backside of the Mountain

I am one of the artists who live on the wrong side of the mountain. Taos, known for its arts, artists and art galleries is on the other side of that mountain. We are not allowed to enter their shows or be considered for their galleries or exhibits. We are the Cinderellas. But we have wonderful artists and a dedicated arts council (Moreno Valley Arts Council), the Artistic Vistas and Treasures Art Trail and the Artists Guild of Northern New Mexico. We just have no home outside of our cluttered studios and exhibit space graciously provided by the Angel Fire Visitor's Center. We beg, and borrow workshop space for children and adults; residents and visitors. We hunt for space for exhibits, fairs, and competitions. MVAC does the same for its children's theatrical groups and musicians it brings in for the enrichment of the community.

Work by Jennifer Caven

We take our art on the road like Jennifer Caven, who does 18 art fairs around the country.

Bob Cat by Carol Rupp

Or we accept every offer we get to hang our work in local businesses or the Angel Fire Chamber of Commerce. Or we open our studios to visitors we hope can find us even when Google Maps has it wrong.

Janet Sailor of Gallery and Gifts

Pottery by JoAnne DeKeuster of Enchanted Circle Pottery
Loretta LaMothe 

Lost Souls at Binford-Bell Studio

This is just a small sample, but we have the artists. Very talented artists on the backside of the mountain. And most of us out of necessity have developed a marketing that works for better or worse. What we lack is ample space to give workshops and hold events and have meetings. We are constantly asked by clients and visitors if we give lessons. Depending on the size of our studios most can handle one or two. Some are working out of suitcases and closets. And there are workshops we would also like to take. Artists from other places we would like to invite in to give a workshop which locals and visitors alike can participate in.

We are tired of running to the other side of the mountain. We are a viable and creative community and we need a home.

The MVAC is launching a campaign to secure funds establish a permanent location for them and the arts they support outside a post office box. An Arts Activity Center in Angel Fire to be a creative space for all the communities on our side of the mountain - Angel Fire, Black Lake, Eagle Nest, Cimarron - a central location for all seeking creative activities.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Week 21 - 2015 in Photographs

Day 141

Definitely a landscape week. Rains washed everything clean and even the aspens looked more starkly white. I think I like aspens without leaves even more than when they are a glorious gold in the fall.

Day 142

Aspens in a grove are almost always one huge plant. So different groves will have different features. Those in the small grove pictured in Day 142 are very tall but not as straight as those in Day 141. I love the quirks in the trunks of Day 142.

Day 143
Coyote Creek winding its way south

The rains made everything green and they filled the streams and the wetlands and ponds. And the rains provided the noisy skies which I favor in a landscape photograph over the wonderful blue of New Mexico skies on most days. After several years of drought green is a wonderful color too.

Day 144

I have taken this view before but the clouds, light and green made it special this time. And I have taken and posted several pictures of the wintered over cat tails in this wetland. But the rains raised the water level more than a foot, and the clouds reflections in the water add an extra dimension.

Day 145

One of he first plants to bloom here in the highlands is the currant. I was drawn to the mix of colors between the aspen trunks, the adobe walls and the intense spring green of the current bush in blossom.

Day 146

And frequent viewers will not doubt recognize where the Montana scenes of Lonesome Dove where filmed. I do not know if there is a bad picture that can be taken of Black Lake cienega. The current Black Lake lake is off to the left in this photograph but I am told in prehistory all this meadow was a lake. And with our spring rains the Coyote Creek spills over and creates little ponds through this whole peat valley. The clouds cast wonderful shadows and even obscured Wheeler Peak which often steals the show.

Day 147

Great week to have a camera and the time to tour the neighborhood.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Left Behind, a Magpie Tale

Still Life 1907 by John F. Peto
Visual prompt provided by Magpie Tales

this earth
Leaving behind
his hat
and umbrella.

He left us
the remains of his life.
We are 
what we leave behind
in others.

Left behind
a hat, umbrella 
and bag of memories
of the little things.

J. Binford-Bell
May 2015

John F. Peto painted still lifes.
He was largely unrecognized in his lifetime.
He died in November 1907 and this may well have been his last composition.
He left it behind.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Week 20 - 2015 in Photographs

Day 134

A few of us were debating about whether a photograph is always a moment in time or whether, like a painting, it can speak of the eternal of infinite.  Yes, the camera more than a pencil or brush can capture that moment in time and hold it still like it does the ripples in the water in the photograph above or the bubbles before they burst in the photo below. But if it touches a cord in the memory of the viewer than it transcends that snapshot of time.

It is one thing to digitally capture an instant and another to capture an emotion or speak of a time past. A pleasant walk at dawn along a still pond with a beloved friend or favorite dog.

And even the bubbles below can cause the viewer to remember a bath as a child or a party with bubbles blown into the air.

Day 135

Garden gazing balls always fascinated me as a child. Three of my aunts had them in their gardens. I thought they were what Alice must have walked through in Alice Through the Looking glass. I am not sure why I have never bought one for my own garden. I seem so drawn to them when I find them on my photography explorations. The photograph below is another SLR Selfie with dog and the aid of a gazing ball.

Day 136

And the photograph below is the same gazing ball but taking myself out of the picture as it were. A different angel and you get a different world reflected. Convex to concave arcs.

Day 137

The geese are back. No goslings. I do not know if they have made another nest or not. The pond's inhabitants seem all jumbled up this there. There are four male Mallards and no females. And today I saw six ducklings paddling like mad and not a parent in sight. Can ducklings make it without a devoted pair of ducks. Will the geese have a late set of goslings. So the photograph below is not just two geese swimming on a silvery lake but a bookmark in a disrupted season of water fowl.

Day 138

Where as the snow capped Sangre de Cristos are beginning to all seem a like. So many snows this year. So many opportunities to attempt to capture the ultimate snow capped photograph.

Day 139

But when I found these four chairs on a brick patio my mind began to work on the opening lines of a short story. Such nice wooden chairs but much in need of new paint. Used wooden chairs. Which four friends sat here and watched the rain in the pines. Or surveyed their work in the garden terraces below them. Have all four of them been used at once lately? When I first came upon them one was collapsed upon the brick. Unneeded or just blown by the winds of winter now retreating.

Day 140

Photographs should be more than I was here on this date. And yet there is much to be said for the posed family before the rim of the canyon. I saw a story where a couple fell off a cliff at Yosemite trying to take a selfie. My macabre mind wants to know if they snapped other shots as they fell.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Week 19 - 2015 in Photographs

Day 127

This week of photography is a hodgepodge. I went out with my camera with the only purpose being to see if I could capture something - anything - find a picture. Flowers, even in winter, are always available to pose.

I hate flowers - I paint them
because they are cheaper than models
and they don't move.

Georgia O'Keeffe 

I love flowers but not so much as something to photograph. They seldom make a statement about life beyond their prettiness. And sorry, Georgia, but they do move. The slightest breeze can make them tremble. But taking photographs of flowers was a challenge, and like I said always available in my studio or a friend's greenhouse or at a store for purchase. In fact, the first article I read about how to photograph a flower suggested buying them and setting them up in your house with just the right light. Actually the right light composed the majority of the article. In your house or studio you could also control the background. Flowers bloom outside in such clutter. Ergo focal depth.

Which becomes a bit tricky as flowers themselves often have such depth. The fancy geranium above has great depth. Which brings us to the other problem with photographing flowers; somebody always wants to know the name. This one is a pelagonium or more commonly a Geranium Martha Washington.

The photograph below is of a daffodil, which when I looked it up on Google to make sure it was not a jonquil, I found to actually be a Narcissus. They are all of he family Amaryllidaceae.

Back to the photography issue. The daffocil was outside and there was breeze. And just beyond the bed of daffs was the wall of the house. I wanted the flower and the feeling of the whole bed but not the house. And that leads to the eternal question of how much of a photograph has to be in focus?

Day 129

Landscapes are easier. Especially when nature adds a coating of snow to two Volkswagens serving as lawn ornaments and rabbit hutch. I didn't know the rabbit was there until back in the dry darkroom (computer).

Day 127

The melting snow created wetlands so I decided to capture a few reflections of lessor things than pines and aspens. I liked the delicacy of the grass and dried seed stalks from last summer. But it had the same problems as the daffodil - breeze and focal depth and how much of the photograph can be out of focus.

Day 130

Ponds and wetlands mean geese. The two below I have been trying to condition to my presence with camera before they have goslings. This isn't this pair's first season with me but they are always a bit on edge when they begin to lay. A coyote had gotten two of their eggs just a day before so they were even more flighty that normal. I took five quick frames to get this one takeoff shot.

Day 131

Day 132 below was a palm leaf tossed out. I liked its shape but it not enough to leave it alone. I photo processed it into a mirror effect of itself and came out with a pagan mask.

Day 132

The last photograph of this week was back to seeking the "little" reflections. And a natural mirror effect. This willow on the shore of a pond raised high by the spring melt had its feet in the water. And with reflections like this the question becomes if there is too much in focus. Should you ripple the water to provide a visual dividing line between the real and the reflected.

Day 133

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Week 18 - 2015 in Photographs

Day 120

Spring time in the Rockies. One day snow and the next day melt. We have been in a prolonged drought so every bit of moisture, even if it is the white fluffy stuff, is welcome. February 7th our snowpack was 87% of the 30 year average, but since that date we have gotten lots of snow. And lots of melt. I have photographed both.

Day 121

It is nice to see ponds and wetlands full of water. A spring with a reduced wildfire risk needs lots of water to keep the remains of last fall damp and foster new green growth.

Day 122

Spring is a season of contrasts and the photo above of the dead aspen and the live aspen represents that to me. So does the first photograph with patches of snow and green grass side by side. Or Day 121 with hints of new green showing through the dried grasses of last fall.

Day 123

And then there is the contrast between Day 123 and Day 124 taken just a couple days apart. The heavy, wet foot of snow pictured in the photos below was beautiful even if it dropped power lines and put us in a blackout for more than twelve hours. But it melted within a day filling our streams and ponds.

Day 124

Snow works well with black and white. But I loved the gentle colors of the photograph below with the soft dawn rising through thinning clouds.

Day 125

Spring snow clings to everything creating sculptures and bringing down fences and power lines. The photo below is by back yard. One winter we had five foot drifts and the dogs could walk over the fence so I topped it with chicken wire. This snow clung to it and bent it into an interesting snake along the fence.

Day 126