Last month I took a week long trip to New Mexico. It was a bit of an artist retreat. Nothing inspires me more than travel: seeing things for the first time, learning about other people, histories, legends, and trying new foods. This trip had it all.
I start off my travel sketchbooks before I even leave home. This time, I began with a page outlining the itinerary and a short to do list to get ready for the trip.
And I did a little homework to learn about New Mexico. I really enjoy doing this sort of studying before a trip. It adds dimension to my trips and to my sketchbooks.
I landed at the Albuquerque International Sunport Airport and rented a car. I decided to drive the national scenic byway, the Turquoise Trail, to Santa Fe. Along the way, I had lunch in the artsy town of Madrid where the waitress suggested looking on the ground as we walked around. She said we would likely find turquoise. I was skeptical but she was right! There were little tiny pebbles of turquoise mixed in with the gravel. That was a bit of magic!
The Turquoise Trail ends at Santa Fe, a perfect stop on the way to Taos, my final destination. In Santa Fe, I explored the amazing galleries along Canyon Road.
Arriving at Taos in the early evening, I was surprised by how small and lovely and inviting it was. Small shops, great restaurants, walkable, and interesting. Lots of galleries and museums and historical landmarks.
On the way to Georgia O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch, I pulled over for the Classical Gas Museum. I loved all the old cars and trucks, old gas pumps, vintage diner, toys, signs… some rusted out, some cleaned up to a shiny new glow. Amazing! I took about one hundred photos and I’ll be painting a new series of Love of Americana from these objects.
At the Ghost Ranch, I did the Walk in Georgia O’Keeffe’s Footsteps tour. It was fantastic!
This walking tour takes guests to the restricted area of Ghost Ranch where O’Keeffe lived, painted and found inspiration. Our small group walked through what O’Keeffe called “her red hills” – the Chinle formation. Our guide was a great story teller while she showed us O’Keeffe’s painting sites by comparing prints of her paintings to the land forms around us. She also told us about the geology of the area, the High Desert (Upper Sonoran) flora and fauna and history of Ghost Ranch.
Back in Santa Fe, I went to the O’Keeffe Museum and several more galleries. Art art art!
My last sketchbook spread from this trip covers a great day spent at the New Mexico State Fair. Colors, rides, animals, dances, fair food. It had it all. Look for some paintings from this day too.
Thank you New Mexico for all the inspiration!