As most of you know I’ve begun a new series of paintings I’m calling The Micaceous Series. A reader of the blog, Grace Kane, calls them my earth paintings and she is so right. I am making them with earth and straw, the recipe for adobe. The longer I live here on this land, the more it finds its way into my art. Truth be told, the longer I am of this place, the more it finds its way into my soul.
It is hard to describe or explain, this deepening relationship I am experiencing with New Mexico, with Truchas. I’ve never encountered anything like it before. William deBuys says in his lovely book, The Walk, “… New Mexico, the words of which name enchant me beyond reason…” That is precisely how I feel.
It is not just because of the land itself and its beauty. It seems to spring from the remarkable culture and heritage, both ancient and modern; Indian, Spanish and Anglo, and the sense of profound magic that seems to dance in my imagination. I FEEL this land like no place I’ve ever been. It is a presence, a friend, a character in my story.
I share this place, it is certain. But it does not feel haunted, rather “enchanted” as the license plates say. The spirits of those who went before, those who still dwell here, seem to welcome me. I have never felt safer or more nurtured. I have never been afraid. I walk alone in the dark of night moonlit or not. It’s as though the elders are taking me by the hand and saying, “See, look at this; consider this.”
The other day I was ready to plaster some new canvases but was out of straw. The morning had dawned still and clear but by the time I was ready, a huge storm had blown in. I couldn’t do anything without the straw, though, so Kelee and I headed out into the gale-force wind. And you know what? The storm that seemed so menacing from inside the house was actually quite beautiful once I was out in it (a great example of how art really does enhance our lives).
I wandered and gathered, out in that powerful energy I was now a part of and, I swear, it was almost spiritual. The land was offering herself up to me, giving me her grasses, her mica, participating in creating, as the crows danced and banked on the wind. I tell you what—it was very different from driving to an art supply store and buying the stuff.
I am very grateful to this land that is guiding me, inspiring and teaching me; grounding me. Somehow we are in this together. I am part of the magic. I am becoming a piece of her history, too. Perhaps one day, when I no longer walk this earth, I will be one that nurtures and guides those who, like me, are drawn to this land—to write about it, paint it, sing it, dance it… Look for me in these mountains and hills, in the arroyos, on the llano, the fields of grasses, riding the storms and rising with morning. I will be there.
Love to you all,