"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Art collector?

When you grow up in the home of an artist, you don't think much about collecting art.

I've gone to art shows for years, and always compared work with that of my Dad's. His work still hangs in our house, so it's an ever present standard of quality. So you pass up collecting art for three reasons. I'm pretty critical of what I consider quality. The really good work as at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum Prix de West for example, I can't afford. And as I've begun to paint in these last few years, there's simply not much room in the house for art. I even have some work hanging on the walls of the garage.

But in the past few years I've bought just a few pieces in New Mexico and here primarily because I liked them or they were watercolors or things I could afford. I don't consider them investments. I consider them inspiration and stories.

As I was thinking about this, I started taking photos of them, and actually, we're a bit overwhelmed by art in our house--Dad's, Mike's,  others, mine and Susan's. So what was going to be a short post will have to several.

I have three favorite pieces--and it's interesting that two of them are sculptures.

The first I bought at the Palace of the Governors five years ago was from a Sioux named Earl Eder, http://secretwindowgallery.com/earl-eder-bio ironically who had been one of my uncle Mike's students at the Institute of American Indian Arts http://www.iaia.edu/ years ago. It's a beautifully carved red hawk from red cedar and he incorporated the grain of the wood to enhance the foot-tall sculpture, so the bird looks almost alive. He's added two drops of turquoise ad a Native American symbol to the art.

Unframed watercolor of the Palace of the Governors pinned to my studio wall, 9 by 22,  300 pound d'Arches paper
Where I bought Earl Eder's red tailed hawk.
http://www.palaceofthegovernors.org/index.php Everyday I look at the hawk and travel miles and years in imagination. Every time I go to Santa Fe, I walk the long porch at the Palace of the Governors and see the jewelry and other art sale. The last time I was there Earl's wife (a Navajo, I think) was tending his and her art, and he had more sculptures. I also noticed that the prices had gone up, so I guess I'm investing in art after all.

But more importantly, the art invests in me. Our collection has pieces from coast to coast, and from overseas. More stories to come.

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