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Museumspiration

May 5, 2019

20190501_183741_resizedI had a three-museum weekend. First, I went up to Taos, about an hour from Santa Fe at 6200 feet elevation. Taos is a gateway to a ski area, a home to many artists and musisicans, and a tourist destination.

It’s also just gorgeous. The dark blue sky, the wide-open spaces, the mountains, the sage-covered plains. I mean.

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The Harwood Museum of Art

Harwood Museum of Art

I wedged Gladis into a parking space at the first museum, the Harwood Museum of Art. It is a small museum housed in a historic building with classic New Mexican architecture. The collections feature mostly Taos and local artists. It was a good introduction to the area.

Taos Art Museum at Fechin House

Next up: The Taos Art Museum at Fechin House. I had no idea why it was important to mention Fechin House in the name until I got there. Fechin House was small home that was expanded and remodeled by a Russian artist, Nikolai Fechin, in the late 1920s. He hand-carved all the woodwork, and he was a master. The design of the home is so lovely that it seems to be modern, even almost 100 years later.

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Some of Fechin’s woodcarving

The museum houses art exhibitions and the adjacent studio hosts art classes and events. It’s worth coming to just to see the home, though, and to sit in the pretty little garden.

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Fechin’s graceful doorway

Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

Back in Santa Fe, I visited the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum on Sunday. I do love a museum devoted to the work of one artist. Getting the lifespan view of Georgia O’Keeffe’s art allowed me to see the flow of her work – from early learning to experimentation in abstraction, to the more familiar surrealist or fantastical work, then back to abstraction.

The painting that stopped me in my tracks and made my heart pound wasn’t one of the more famous ones. It was this:

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That green leaf. It caught me because just the day before, on the way back from Taos to Santa Fe, I had been captivated by that same color in a patch of spring-leafed trees on a hillside. I jerked Gladis over to the side of the road and jumped out to try to get a photo, but the moment was gone by the time I got there.

It struck me that that is the work of artists and creative people – we get possessed by a thought or image or feeling, then we just have to try to get it.

When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not. – Georgia O’Keeffe

Sometimes I question what I am doing, running around the country in Gladis. Someone accused me of trying to avoid “real life” and that stung a bit.

But Georgia’s leaf painting – it made me proud to be someone who, in my own way, wants to do what Georgia did. Someone who lets themselves be caught by things and tries to express them as best I can.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Christine Voth permalink
    May 5, 2019 08:14

    Really appreciate your capturing experiences and moments then sharing them with the rest of us! You are a true adventurer!

  2. Carolyn Stephens permalink
    May 5, 2019 08:36

    Great piece. New Mexico and Utah are probably my two favorite states.
    You can’t “avoid life”. It is where you are, doing what you are doing. My mother would say, “They’re just jealous.” And that’s probably right.

    • May 5, 2019 19:50

      Part of me wants to abandon the plan to head east and just go to Utah!

  3. Barbara permalink
    May 5, 2019 17:27

    This IS real life. I mean, you’re out there experiencing actual things and places and people. What’s more real than that?!

    I think some people get anxious when we don’t follow the same schedule or life plan they do.

  4. May 6, 2019 13:22

    There is no “real” life, just life. Just like there is no “normal”. Just be.

  5. May 6, 2019 19:12

    This is real life. Thanks for sharing yours. I had plans to go to New Mexico last fall and then as I say, “Life got in the way.” or rather something more important. But the Georgia O’Keefe museum was on my list. Last summer saw some of her works on loan at New York Botanical Garden and now I want more of that and White Sands National Park and Carlsbad and a million other stops on the way. Keep traveling and writing, and I’ll keep following.

  6. May 13, 2019 10:12

    People who say things like that are sadly jealous. I am SO enjoying the way you are sharing your travels, and totally understand that moment when an artwork recognizes you and the clouds lift and you just stand there feeling all the feels. It’s wonderful. You are doing such a wonderful thing by being you, kindly continue. We love being along for the ride!

  7. May 22, 2019 02:33

    I’m totally loving your posts. Taos is a favorite of mine. Thank you and know that I’m sending you and Gladis love and hugs.

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