Thursday, June 30, 2016

Week 26 - 2016 in Photographs

Day 176
Aspens in the spring

And with this week half of 2016 is gone except in memories and photographs. And posts on social media. So little time seems to separate us from winter here in the highlands but in reality it is a full seven months. It is just that winter seems to linger and summer seems to speed past. Never quite understood the lazy, hazy days of summer in song.

Day 177
The Palisades in Cimarron Canyon

 Because of the crush of tourists I do not get out much in the peak of the summer season to the places they go. I have to be on my way to someplace else for a real reason. And then I stop and take a few photographs along the way. September and October are my prime photography treks. But I had to go to Cimarron and that meant going through the state park. I went mid week and early enough most everyone in the camping grounds were just stirring.

Four of the pictures this week are from that brief few stops. In the canyons and the high mountains in June the greens look so new and fresh.

Day 178
Cimarron River at base of Palisades

 It is not full wildflower season yet, though that is hard to define. With the changes in altitude and canyon vs mountain tops there are many small ecosystems. Oddly enough the wild evening prim rose in my yard has not bloomed yet but in the shelter of the canyon I was able to catch one of the early blooms.

Day 179
Evening Prim Rose 

 Below is my photograph of a deck chair. I seldom have time in summer to enjoy them except as a photographic subject.

Day 180
Old deck chair

 I have photographed deck chairs a lot and the Palisades too. Still looking for the definitive capture of both. Loved the light on the cliffs below. 

Day 181
Palisades in Cimarron Canyon

In the summer the chipmonks in camping areas pose. They are waiting to be fed by the campers or for them to move on after breakfast and leave crumbs. I used to always carry unsalted raw peanuts for them. Some, however, prefer M&M's. This one just seemed to want to catch the first sun through the trees.

Day 182

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Week 25 - 2016 in Photographs

Day 169

I promised a week of flowers. I think it takes a long winter to truly appreciate the glory of spring flowers. And here in the mountains where I live because of all the variances in altitude they bloom at different times in different yards. In the nearby town of Angel Fire the poppies are already blooming. Mine are a week away.  So this might not be the only week of flowers.

Day 170

All photography is about the light but flowers in particular are canvases for light. Finding the right light on the right flower is in part luck. And it is also about knowing where the flowers grow.

Day 171

I spend most of my garden efforts on things I can eat but I have friends with gardens of flowers. The iris above are from one of those gardens. And the one below grows wild over my valley.

Day 172

And the chives below are in another garden. Chives are an herb and also a decorative flower. I used to have my chives in my vegetable garden but It is now in with the flowers. I loved this plant against the rocks.

Day 173

This black and white is of another wildflower. It is yellow with a sage green foliage, but I loved the play of shadow and light on the flowers and that showed best without the color.

Day 174

This wildflower grew up through pallets I have stacked on my yard in prep for making a deck. I had not seen it before in my yard but without the pallets I would have mowed this area down. I need to mark its location. I already mow a lot of my acres based on when the wildflowers bloom.

Day 175

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Paintings I Have Not Mentioned

On The Edge
30 x 18 Mixed Media on Artists Canvas

I was updating information to be able to reprint my inventory sheet and it dawned on me I have finished a lot of paintings since I last updated it. And many I may not have mentioned beyond my FaceBook page. Marketing isn't easy for artists. We would rather be painting. And evidently I have been. It was in March I made a decision to do another local art fair and on a subconscious level I began painting for it.

Over the Edge
18 x 24 Mixed Media on artists canvas

Part of the paintings I forgot to post anywhere were my little ones. My trucks. And yet the trucks came out particularly nice. But it is easy to paint two or three of these.

Big Blue
13 x 17 Mixed Media on Artists canvas

Big Green
12 x 16 Mixed media on Artists Canvas

TX Ranch Truck
14 x 18 Mixed Media on Artists Canvas

But it would seem I also forgot some of the bigger ones. I wanted to do a process blog for White Rain below and realized I had not taken progress photos except on my tablet. I am going to blame it on Spring. My head obviously was into just painting.

White Rain
20 x 24 Mixed Media on Artists Canvas
Now I need to get to that inventory spread sheet.

Laughlin Peak - A Creative Process Blog

Laughlin Peak from the Ocate Side

Laughlin Peak is one of three volcanic cones in the Raton/Clayton Volcanic Field which creates the Fat Grass country of northeastern New Mexico. Its two sister mountains are Eagle Tail and Tinaja Mountain . All on private land now they can still be seen US 64 and once were main navigation points for travelers on the Santa Fe Trail.

As my sister and I four wheeled in her jeep along the ridges of the mountains in my back yard Laughlin Peak was the distant Cinderella Cone I didn't know the name of. It drew my attention whenever it was visible and I had traveled past it on my way from Ocate to La Cuerva to pick raspberries or just avoid Mora on a trip to Las Vegas.

Last summer an artist friend of mine, Carl Swanson, took me on a trip through the fat grass country and I got to see the other side of the mountain.

Laughlin Peak from the east.

It is easy to see why the travelers on the Santa Fe Trail used it as a navigation point and why some chose to go no further but to settle at its base. The grass is tall and springs abound around the mountain's base. The photographic trip I took last June inspired my fat grass series of paintings and this spring a trip through Ocate made me decide to paint Laughlin Peak from the west.

Photography has long been an instrument for me to aid my painting. So taking the picture which opened this blog I modified it to black and white to better draw the mountain. And the road which led up to it.

In black and white

Laughlin Peak is more imposing from the west but the road which seems to lead straight up it to the middle of the mountain was what in my opinion made the painting. My first drawings for the mountain made it a lot taller as if I was drawing its distant past before time and weather lowered it. Part of me was drawing its outline from the west. So the final sketch ended up being a compromise between the two sides of it.

West side colors laid in
In keeping with my style the peak ended up more colorful. I also identified more with its west face than the green east side. And no way was I going to do the pure blue sky of the photograph. There is something about Laughlin which seems stormy even on the best of days.

Raven Road
18 x 28 watercolor on artists canvas
And in the final painting it is all about the road.

As I prepared to do this process blog I found other photographs I had taken of this imposing part of the landscape of the high plains of New Mexico. And one in particular I want to paint.

Laughlin Peak from another angle

The rocks in the foreground are a volcanic burp. And in the middle foreground is a volcanic rift. Laughlin and its sister mountains look really peaceful these days.

I realize this isn't my normal process blog. But not all of the creative process is about the application of paint. Some of it is just a head trip. Why does an artist pick that subject and that angle on the subject is part of the process. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Week 24 - 2016 in Photographs

Day 162
Skunk Cabbage

This week almost became all about clouds and then it stopped raining in the afternoon. It did make all the flowers bloom so next week will be all about flowers. And all flowers. And in a few days it is going to start the afternoon thunderstorms back up so I expect there will be more clouds.

Day 163

Never totally understood why it is Montana is the Big Sky state and we aren't. Though Land of Enchantment fits. People who live here seem to be under some sort of spell. We don't want to leave. It is one way you can tell a true resident from those with summer homes here. We stay and they move back to Texas.

Day 164

 My father used to maintain you only had to drive ten miles to have the scenery change or wait ten minutes before the weather changed. Dad could have been a stand up comic. And he was prone to exaggeration. It is really more like 30 miles and 30 minutes on an average. But if you are talking skies in the spring and summer ten minutes is stretching it. You can literally sit on your stoop and watch the thunderheads bloom over the mountains and change shapes and sizes and colors.

 And if you are bored must look north instead of south or east instead of west. Recently I heard the rain on my metal roof and when I looked out of the studio window there was not a cloud. I stood in the rain and looked overhead and it was a huge black cloud. I usually photograph them when there is more color involved.

And that is not difficult to find.

Just wait ten minutes.

Day 165

Day 166

Day 167

Day 168

Hope you enjoyed the clouds without commercial interruption.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Week 23 - 2016 in Photographs

Day 155
 Spring time in the Rockies again. We do spring/winter until suddenly it is summer. But I am not complaining. There are the awesome clouds over snow capped mountains or greening up forests to make it all worth while.

Day 156

 When I lived in the south I noticed the world was all the same shade of green. My friends in North Carolina thought I would be happy to be away from the arid southwest and all the browns. Not. I really missed those reds and ochres and browns and oranges. But I also missed our greens. There are just so many hues of green in a New Mexico landscape. Southerners will never understand.

Day 157

And clouds. The south gets storm fronts. We manufacture them here in the southwest. We blend the moisture up from the Gulf of Baja with our currents over the tall mountains and produce afternoon thunderstorms. They are awesome. The moisture helps the wildflowers bloom.

Day 158

Speaking of greens there are several shades of it in the photos above and below.

Day 159

And again the snow capped mountains with clouds.

Day 160

And the cloudless sky of a New Mexico morning. No, I did not photoshop that blue in. That is the color of the skies here.

Day 161

The La Cuerva mission church is destined to be a painting.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Week 22 - 2016 in Photographs

Day 148
Last days of May moving into the first couple days of June. Artificial demarcations in time which us humans seem to require, but the land and the vegetation doesn't. More important separations are rain or no rain, morning or noon, full sun or cloudy.

Day 149
Each day and sometimes each photograph is so different from the one before during the spring.
Day 150
Some days there is just too much green and I have to reduce a photograph to blacks and whites to see past the green.

Day 151
But the blues. I wish I could keep all the blues. The blues are different in every photo of the sky of the ponds but they are more my colors than greens.

Day 152
So black and white to get past the green of spring. Even the water can be green with the growth of algae. 

Day 153
And black and white can be so seductive. 

Day 154
Shapes and textures take the center stage in a black and white. Shapes and textures that colors hide.