Well, we’re not going to open our new gallery space the first week of June as hoped, obviously, since today is June 3rd and there is still so much yet to be done. Our landlord is terrific and he’s doing a ton of the work, but he lives in Albuquerque and can only be here on the weekends. He’s plastering the walls where we took out the false ceilings, and there’s just no getting around it: that’s a very labor-intensive job. There is only so much we can do until this is done and dried. So, like many things in this artist’s life, I am being offered another great opportunity to practice patience–to accept that we cannot control or force things; that they will, indeed, unfold as intended, no matter what I may wish or say or think or do. It’s looking like mid to late June for an opening date now. And that will be just fine. In fact it will be perfect.
These old adobes are very funky, which is a huge part of their charm and beauty. They’ve been around, some of them, for going on 300-years, so they have a right. I think Patrick, our landlord, said parts of this structure are 250-years old. All around it are the ruins of his family’s complex–those buildings that were allowed to go back to the earth. It makes it much easier to work on them, this funkiness, (especially when we’re not planning on living in them) because nothing can come even close to being perfect. Everything is patched and pieced together. Rooms have been added over the centuries, windows and doors put in or taken out, old “mudding” here, water stains there, mottled old plaster walls–all quite rough, and gorgeous in the roughness.
In fact these old buildings bear witness to the lives lived in them over the many decades. This one, in particular, emanates warmth. I feel the family dinners of the past, the many births and Christmases, when I walk through the door. This old house has a soul and its heritage asks that we honor it. So we try to, as best we can, by letting much of what is, remain. And, where we can, we make our new work look old to match the age of the place–like the two colors of blue trim Anna mixed with linseed oil, turpentine, and oil paints–made to be thin, on purpose, to stain the old wood with a mix of colors rather than to cover it with one.
I’m aware of a shift in me regarding this new gallery space. Where I’ve been overwhelmed by, or driven by, the tasks ahead of us, seeing only what needed to be done, I now stand in her rooms and see her grace and beauty. I no longer see the rubble. I became aware of this change when I took some visitors by recently. Standing in the center of the main room, which is still deep in at least two inches of dirt from pulling the false ceilings down, I said, “Isn’t it beautiful?” And then I became aware of stone silence. I turned around and saw them staring at the mess that still is, mouths open, and I knew–I can no longer see this place with anything like true sight. I gaze at her through a mother’s eyes. She is my beautiful baby and I no longer see what others see. Perhaps it’s a mercy.
I so appreciate the affection and connection I feel for her now that didn’t used to be. And it has come about BECAUSE of the work we’ve had to do. It would be very different if someone else had come in and swept through the place making it ready. And, while I certainly wouldn’t have minded it being done like that, I’m finally grateful that wasn’t an option. Because I feel this place now. It is part of me and I’m part of it. I am its history now, too, and it is mine. Do we ever get to receive grace like that when we don’t do the work? I, personally, don’t think so.
So here’s to having had no choice in the matter and for doing the work ourselves. We may be opening late but we’re opening, now, with heart.
Love to you all,
Jeane, Anna, Bill and Craig