Trish Booth says she has always done art (see previous post Opening at Ghost Pony Gallery, Truchas, NM). Everyone thought she would be a writer, though, including herself. In fact her first large purchase, ever, was a “big fat fancy electric typewriter.” She spent $400 on it in 1974. “But then one day I decided I was going to be a visual artist,” she says, “I don’t really know why. My mom would always draw and somehow I just got into the visual arts. I decided I was going to do it so I did.”
Trish always liked to make things and she wonders, now, why she didn’t end up being a sculptor because she really enjoyed putting dimensional pieces together. She did a lot of assemblage at the San Francisco Art Institute where she was a student. She says her mixed media technique actually came out of an assemblage accident. “I spilled some things onto the paper and I loved what it looked like so I made a big piece and packed that around with me. When we moved here it occurred to me to use the western iconography and I found that the theme really suits the process.”
Trish will participate in the Cowgirl Up! Invitational at the Desert Caballeros Western Museum in Wickenburg, Arizona again this year. She was part of the same show last year. The museum’s curator has been very loyal to her since first seeing her work a few years back when he was guest curating at a couple of other museums. He put her in two shows then. The first was at The Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, Georgia and the second was the Rockwell Museum in Corning, New York. He felt her work confirmed what he’d been thinking: that western art is going in a more contemporary direction. Trish doesn’t consider her work to be western, per say, but understands that old adobes and landscapes of the Rio Grand Gorge do speak of a western theme.
She is currently developing a couple of new series that are not western related at all. One derives from a trip she took to Europe long ago. She spent three months backpacking over there and took a lot of pictures. In revisiting those photos, with her new paintings in mind, though, she feels she may need new inspiration, so she’d like to take another European tour. “I just love the old architecture,” she says. “It’s what I like about New Mexico too. I like the age. There’s so much history, both here and there. You can FEEL things that have gone on over the centuries, but in Europe you have lunch in a cafe that’s 700 years old! And the cathedrals—I like the whole medieval feel of it all.” She made an Amsterdam painting and a Salzburg painting some time ago and these are really the basis of the first new series. While not being western, there is a distinct thread that ties what Trish is doing between both bodies of work. I guess you could say she is painting history.
And that thought leads directly to the second series she has begun to toy with. She owns several scrapbooks that were her grandmother’s from when she was about 15 or 16 years old. There are pictures of friends and family, some of her grandfather with whom her grandmother eloped, and photos of the family homestead. This was back before tractors and combines. There’s one photo that shows a team of six horses pulling a wagon load of wheat out of the field. She’s not quite sure where she’s going with this series, whether she’ll focus more on the lifestyle of the time or portraits of the people. She says, “It will be markedly different from what I’ve been doing, though. I mean it will look like my work because my work always looks like my work, but it will be different from what people are used to seeing.” She tells about one photo of a hayfield where the hay is just gathered up in little mounds. “That’ll be a landscape. But I probably won’t focus on too much architecture. I don’t know. We’ll have to see.”
And as we were wrapping up our time together, Trish recalled an assignment she was given in the fourth grade. They were to draw a picture of themselves, of what they were going to be when they grew up. She drew herself in front of an easel, brushes in hand, with a black beret on her head. The adult Trish may not know why she became a visual artist but the child in her always knew the truth: she’s a painter, period. Always has been. Always will be.
You can see more of Trish’s work at Ghost Pony Gallery.
Love to you all,