"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons 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.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Solstice thoughts and New Mexico

Winter solstice at Ranchos de Taos, 14" by  20" watercolor, 300# d'Arches
The shortest day of the year, and the longest night, as the world turns again, and cold sets in. I dream of a pinon fire in an adobe cabin in Northern New Mexico...good books, posole and green chili stew, beverages and a loved one. No television or digital stuff...just the crackling of the fire, the still cold air outside, traveling in imagination and miles and years.
Always in my mind's eye is the iconic church of Saint Francis at Ranchos de Taos, painted by artists like O'Keeffe and photographers like Adams and Strand, as well as my Dad, back in the 1930s--I still have his drawings. We've taken students there on study tours. We last visited in October--it demands a pilgrimage.
The Franciscans built in as a mission church  between 1772 and 1816; it is a National Historic Landmark. The front includes two bell towers, but the rear of the church is a favorite view. In most works,  artists favored its smoothly sculpted adobe beehive buttresses.I've painted it in oil and watercolor, and photographed it many times. It seems to me this view speaks to this year's solstice...somehow eternal.

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