Saturday, January 9, 2016

Churches - 2015 in Review

Church tower in Las Vegas, New Mexico

 I love the lines of complex architecture. And the best examples of that are in old churches. To me one of the worst things the fundamentalists did was turn the church into a plain box. In the wonderful cathedral days of the middle ages the church was suppose to raise you up from your humble existence and lead you to aspire to heaven. Flying buttresses, fan vaults, bell towers and Gothic windows of stained glass was the language they used.

Las Vegas, New Mexico has some grand old churches with complex roof lines, towers and windows. But even the simple churches of the old settlement days aspired to a loftier goal. On Johnson Mesa near Raton, New Mexico is a simple rock church. I had the privilege of going inside this building and finding the Gothic arch windows of plain glass captured an amazing sense of spiritual light. The photos below have inspired two paintings. Once future paintings were the only reason I took photographs.

Piano in Church at Johnson Mesa, New Mexico

I am currently working on a painting inspired by the photograph above. And I recently sold the painting below which was inspired by the photograph below it. Paintings allow the artist to take a certain license with the photographic image. To me the light and sense of light was the key to both the photographs and the paintings.

Empty Pew

Empty Pew, Johnson Mesa, New Mexico

I do not know if I ever take a photograph of a church without thinking I may once day render it in paint. But thus far it is only the simplest of religious buildings I have attempted. I wanted at one time to be an architect but when I was in college women were not allowed in architecture. Did not stop me from doing complex drawings of buildings. Now I just do photographs of them. Hoping to transcend the engineer rendering aspects. 

Bell Tower of the Methodist church, Las Vegas, NM

The Methodist Church in Las Vegas lures me back with its complex lines. I began by cursing the trees and buildings around it which prevent unobstructed views and ended up being enthralled with the bare branches and shadows against the brick. I tell myself I want to go back and take pictures when their are leaves on the trees but I would probably hate it. One of those trips where you look through the view finder a lot and never snap a picture.

Transept Window, Methodist Church 

And it is to be noted the photograph above is not about the window but the shadows of the trees. I may paint this one. It tickles the back of my creative mind a lot. And the black and white view of the back of the bell tower also lingers in my mind as a possible painting. But it would be done in wild colors.

Wild colors like those I brought out in the photograph below. I took this photograph in 2014 bit revisited it this year because it had been neglected in a huge upload to my computer.

Door to Ranchos Mission, Taos, NM

Need to visit more churches in 2016. And paint more of them.

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