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"Artmaking is not about how smart you are but rather about visualizing what you feel"

—Robert Zakanitch

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Tuesday
Jun122018

Land of Enchantment

“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for.” Georgia O’Keeffe

 

O'Keeffe

Cynthia and I just spent 5 days in Abiquiu, New Mexico in the high desert. Our friends and hosts Susannah and Todd shared the history and painting locations and hiking trails they learned in 32 years of trips to the area. The geology and culture and history are even richer than one expects from the exquisite paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe, who made the area hers.

Our dear friends, Sue and Cathy joined us at Casita La Chuparosa and for all the rich activities of the trip. The Casita was magical with too many hummingbirds to count, alpacas, donkeys and Buster, the horse. Jeff, the owner, made perfect choices in furnishings and amenities to create just the right comfort for us when we returned to rest from hiking, painting, reading, and photographing this dramatic desert scenery.

The first day we went to the Monastery, Christ of the Desert. The road was open but the camping along the Chama River is closed for fire danger. 2018 campers are very careless and the rangers are finding many smoldering campfires to put out. A large fire near Taos and one in Durango are ongoing.

We painted below the Dam, Abiquiu Lake, on the Chama. Beauty in every direction.

The second day, we painted at Echo Amphitheater. Sue and Cynthia enjoyed the flat rocks at the lake and easy walks. The afternoon was spent at the tour of Georgia O’Keeffe’s Abiquiu House. There is a terrific education and Visitor Center next door to the Abiquiu Inn. Our tour guide was author, Barbara Heming (Death Wins the Crown). Her presentation was excellent with all the details woven into a easy to follow narrative. We were struck by the conscious aesthetic of rich simplicity — good furniture, good food, amazing views. This Tour is a must and requires reservations ahead of your trip. I loved that I learned so many new things about the area and Georgia. I have been reading about O’Keeffe since 1976, and I was stunned at how much I learned on the trip.

 

The third day, was a full day at Ghost Ranch. Although Georgia’s Ghost Ranch house is not open to the public, The ranch’s views and history will fill you up. As before Todd and Susannah found shade and 360 degree views for the painters. The hikers went up a trail to the top of the world and looked down on chimney rock. We all met back at the cafeteria  for lunch. Nothing is slick here. All is adobe and historic. gorgeous as the paintings of O’Keefe. We saw the art center, the first casita Georgia demanded to take for her first  summer, the Archuleta’s home and hanging tree, and the Archeology Paleontology Museum. Read more about the Archuletas and Ghost Ranch before Georgia.

Our final evening was spent around a table at the Abiquiu Inn eating delicious food with a special young man, Kyle, as our waiter. The Inn has a gift shop and Gallery and a sculpture garden to wander. See more.

It was difficult to leave on Saturday because the hummingbirds and tranquility were filling us up. Crackers to Donkeys and carrots to Buster and away we went. We can’t wait to go back.  Jeff is selling the business so if you have the energy to run a Casita…check it out. La Chuparosa.

We took a beautiful route home through Chama and crossed into Colorado into the most beautiful Rio Grande Forest. A wonderful New Mexico trip and our Colorado backyard was a delight to come home to. Count me in a constant state of gratitude. 

 

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