Water Is Life

water acequia

Water Is Life (“El Agua es Vida”): Acequias in New Mexico

Water is life everywhere in the world. The peoples of New Mexico readily express this truth. “El agua es vida” signs and banners appear in many places, such as floats at the annual Marigold Parade.

New Mexico is in the Desert Southwest. The Rio Grande River blesses the state. Albuquerque, the largest city in the state, grew up around the river. But many different peoples populated small settlements close to the river for hundreds of years.

Communal irrigation canals, acequias, remain important even in the 21st Century.

Recently, on a rather chilly and definitely dismal day, I got to have a wonderful visit with Tim and Laurie In Corrales. Because they live right along the Rio Grande, I have walked the ditch bank with them many times. We have photographed the acequia from which they get water to irrigate their land. I have photographed this many times, and never got images that I really liked. Those other times, the sky was blue, the sun was shining, the leaves were green, and water with reflections was in the acequia. You might think that could make a nice picture. For me, the overcast and dismal sky, dry acequia, and brown leaves made images I liked better.

water acequia
A Bridge Across the Upper Corrales Riverside Drain, a “clearwater ditch.” Sandia Mountains in the Background.
water acequia
Acequia at Corrales
water acequia
Mechanism for Controlling Flow in the Corrales Acequia

Walking along the ditch bank, you often meet other people. A gentleman passed by with this beautiful German Shepherd!

water acequia
Beautiful German Shepherd Walking Her Owner along the Ditch Bank

After a wonderful afternoon out photographing many interesting things in the bosque, we came back to a warm home and fabulous dinner prepared by Laurie and Tim! Great friends, photography, and food – what more could anyone ask?

Friends and Photography

Friends and Photography

Friends and photography are not the first combination that comes to mind for many serious photographers preparing for a day of creating photographs. Photographers like to spend their time looking at things, from all angles, up close, from a distance, etc., often things that many people find less than interesting to begin with. But, if you are really lucky, you might find friends you really enjoy being with for a day of exploring what’s out there in the world to enjoy and to photograph.

Many readers here know Tim and Laurie from their blogs, Photo of the Day, and TandLPhotos. Over the years, what began as an occasional friendship around one hobby interest (roses) became a multidimensional friendship in many aspects of life.

We’ve done a variety of “photo excursions” and “photographic expeditions,” days that start with a general plan and always evolve into just going with the flow, seizing what the day had to offer. Tim and I share the same birthday, and we’ve always tried to plan an outing for the weekend closest to that day. It just didn’t work out for many reasons in 2015, and yesterday was the first day in some time that Tim, Laurie, and I were out to capture the moment together. It was not at all planned as a “photo excursion.” But, as many times in the past, the day became a photo excursion.

Over the next few days and weeks I plan to post a variety of images from yesterday. But this post is to honor a day of friendship, of being with people who honor the joy of living each day fully.

The “excuse” at the start of the day was the 3rd Annual Corrales Rose Society Dr. Huey Tour. But, the day became so much more.

Laurie, the artist

Tim, the photographer

The Old San Ysidro Church and Cemetery

At Tim and Laurie’s

Spunk, one of Tim and Laurie’s seven cats. He looks so sweetly innocent, but don’t be fooled. 🙂 He is an extremely intelligent, curious cat, which has gotten him into a bit of trouble. He has destroyed enough things that he has a running tab and has to model to help pay down his debt. He is very accommodating as a portrait model. 🙂

friends photography
Spunk, One of Tim and Laurie’s Seven Cats. Don’t Be fooled by That Adorably Innocent Look

Yesterday was a wonderful day with friends and photography.

2015 Fine Arts Show

Opening Reception at the 2015 Fine Arts Show at the Old San Ysidro Church, Corrales

The 2015 Fine Arts Show at the Old San Ysidro Church in Corrales is so typical of the many things I love about New Mexico. The show is very eclectic, with a variety of art. The artist is free to exhibit his/her art in any style he or she wishes. This is in contrast to the shows that require a specific gallery style (I enjoy those shows also!). The setting is a beautiful old adobe structure from 1868. As I have mentioned here over the years, adobe takes a lot of upkeep, and one of the purposes of the show is to raise money for the maintenance of this beautiful old adobe. It sustained a lot of damage in the 2013 “desert hurricane” that swept down the Rio Grande, and at the 2013 and 2014 shows the building was in such bad shape from that I wasn’t sure that much could be done. Some major repair work in the interim had the Old Church looking great this year.

Two dimensional pieces are hung using strong twine with attached hooks, the twine going over hooks in the large beams. Nothing can be hung in any way that harms the adobe or any other part of this historic building. The Visual Arts Council has worked with this for so long that they have no problem hanging the show with the various constraints.

The opening reception is wonderful from the standpoint of seeing old friends, making new friends, and also being delighted when new friends made in the past year come out to the show. That’s the kind of night last night was.

View walking in to the Old Church:

2015 fine arts show
Inside the Old San Ysidro Church, Opening of the 2015 Fine Arts Show

Friends Tim and Laurie Price have come to the reception every year I have had pieces there. Both had had pieces in shows long before I started entering. This year they both entered pieces, and I personally was happy to see that the show committee hung their pieces in close proximity! Tim’s is the photograph, Laurie’s is the watercolor.

2015 Fine Arts Show
Tim Price with His Photograph and Laurie Price with Her Watercolor

Laurie’s watercolor is her view of the crowd waiting to see the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. It’s whimsical, which shows she has a sense of humor and does not get stressed out by things that are unimportant in the big scheme of life. Later in the evening I was showing Laurie’s piece to a young woman I met this year, Jacque, an exercise specialist from the gym (thank you for coming out!!!!). A woman who overheard me called her husband to come take a second look. They had seen the watercolor earlier and had liked it, but did not pick up on the scene. She said, “Oh, right here is where we were when we were waiting to see the Mona Lisa. This is such a great depiction. I didn’t catch that when I first saw it.”

2015 Fine Arts Show
Laurie Price with Her Watercolor, Showing Crowds at the Louvre Trying to See the Mona Lisa

Tim with his photograph, made with film, of a view through a window that no longer exists. New construction destroyed the building with the window in this image. Tim developed it in his own darkroom, and it is a beautiful image.

2015 Fine Arts Show
Tim Price with His Film Photograph, Developed in His Own Darkroom, of a View That No Longer Exists

Thanks to Tim for the next two images, of me at the show.

This is me with the two little pieces done on aluminum. This image says so much about New Mexico in general and this show in particular. Note the thickness of the adobe walls. Note the trees outside the window still have green leaves. Note the colors of the image on the wall behind my head – the colors of Ne Mexico. Note my little pieces sitting on pedestals instead of hanging. A requirement for this show is that all two dimensional pieces must be hung on the wall, and these pieces do hang. At most shows this would be a big thing. At the end of the evening I was told that the people hanging the show thought they looked better that way. Fine with me – this is a “friendly” show. I did not own a pair of jeans until I retired. For the first couple of Old Church shows I attended (I was still working), I dressed up. I felt out of place, really. Jeans – pretty much what I live in these days, and I don’t feel out of place at all in the Albuquerque/Corrales area.. 🙂

2015 fine arts show
Me, with the Two Small Pieces.
There is so much New Mexico in This Image – Look at the Thickness of Adobe Walls!

“The Observer/The Observed.”
Some photography acquaintances who had not seen this piece before said it was beautiful but that they didn’t know I did art besides photography. I thanked them, and said, “but this is a photograph. Well, it began as a photograph.” I was really happy that they liked it, and also that they took it for a painting.

(The hummingbird is an oil done by Paul Rodenhauser.)

2015 fine arts show
Me, with “The Observer/The Observed”

I have the best neighbors anyone could hope for. Like Tim and Laurie, Burton and Rosemary come to any shows in which I have pieces. This is Burton with Tim. Rosemary had a baby shower for a new grandbaby to attend! Happiness all the way around! I first met Tim and Laurie through the Albuquerque Rose Society. Tim and Burton first met through the local bonsai society. Lots of different overlapping networks in this community!

2015 Fine arts show
Burton and Tim with “The Observer/The Observed”

For me, it was an enjoyable evening all the way around, and I will be out several more times before the 2015 Corrales Fine Arts Show closes Sunday, October 11 at 4:00 pm. If any of you are in the area, think about dropping by.

Corrales Fine Arts Show

27th Annual Corrales Old Church Fine Arts Show, October 3 – 11, 2015

The opening reception for the Corrales Fine Arts Show is, for me, the kick-off event for a very busy week in the Albuquerque area, that of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the largest hot air balloon event in the world. Many events apart from those of the Balloon Fiesta itself occur in the coming week, in and around Albuquerque and surrounding areas. The Corrales Fine Arts Show has always held a special meaning to me.

This year I was pleased to have all three of my entries juried in.

“A Delicate Balance” will be shown as a small dye-infused aluminum piece:

Corrales fine art show
A Delicate Balance

“Nature’s Rhythms” will also be shown on dye-infused aluminum:

Corrales fine arts show
Nature’s Rhythms

The third piece, “The Observer/The Observed,” which many of you have already seen several times, will be shown as an archival pigment print on fine art canvas:

Corrales fine arts show
The Observer/The Observed

I have to once again thank friend, fellow anthropologist, and writer Jim Stallings for the fact this image is being shown at all. I created this image during a very dark time in this year’s winter, and showed it to only a very few people who were extremely supportive at that time. I had no intention at the time of showing it outside that small circle. Anthropologists, among many others, are aware of myth and ritual around the world involving birds of the crow/raven family. Jim wrote a short poem as a gift to me and my family at that time.

Spontaneous Poem from a Treetop Crow

In the lofty life of a wise old crow
Swaying in the topmost backyard branches
Like a magical clock counting down mortality’s coil,
May it not be in some secret way
We the awed observers
Have all along been honored by a wiser watcher?

– Jim Stallings

After Jim wrote the poem, I decided to show it to others. It has been juried in to every show to which I have entered it. Thanks, Jim.

The opening reception is always a special evening for me, but this year will be even more so. Friends Tim (photographer) and Laurie (watercolorist), who have always come to the opening reception to support me, each have pieces in this year’s show! Tim Price will have “Through the Concrete Window,” a photograph done on film and developed in his own darkroom. Laurie Price will have “La Joconde,” her view of what waiting in the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa was like. You may preview their work on Tim’s blog, and then see it this week at the Old San Ysisdro Church in Corrales.

Times for the show:
October 3 – 10
11:00 am – 5:00 pm
October 11
11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Admission is free, as is parking.

A portion of all proceeds is donated for the preservation and care of the Old San Ysidro Church. Deconsecrated some years ago, the structure is important in the life of the community. I hope my friends in the Albuquerque area can visit during the show, and also those coming to Albuquerque for the Balloon Fiesta.

Autumn on the Rio Grande

autumn on the Rio Grande
Autumn on the Rio Grande
autumn on the Rio Grande
Autumn on the Rio Grande

Autumn is the most glorious time in New Mexico, for so many reasons.

As 2014 draws to an end, a winter storm is bearing down to ring in the New Year. This seemed a good day to revisit one of the spectacular autumn days on the Rio Grande.

The large trees are cottonwood trees. Cottonwoods are found along the Rio Grande, but not far out from it. They are some of the major trees of a southwest forest along the Rio Grande, a forest referred to as “the bosque.” New Mexicans love the bosque, and Albuquerque has miles of bike and walking trails through and along the bosque.

This particular image is from Corrales, New Mexico, and the Rio Grande is just out of the image to the east. The mountains you glimpse are the Sandias.

It was a glorious day!!

25th Old Church Fine Arts Show, Corrales, New Mexico

25th Old Church Fine Arts Show

The 25th Old Church Fine Arts Show presented by the Visual Arts Council of the Corrales Historical Society opened on Friday, October 4 with a wonderful reception for artists and their family and friends. The 2013 Exhibition of Fine Art is open daily from 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM, closing on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 4:00 PM.

Fine Arts Flyer
Fine Arts Flyer

Net proceeds and donation from Artists’ sales go to the preservation and maintenance of the Old Church. Visit the Visual Arts Council on the web at corraleshistory.com.

The Old Church is a beautiful venue for a Fine Art Show, as these images from this year’s show indicate:

25th Old Church Fine Arts Show
25th Old Church Fine Arts Show

All adobe structures require constant maintenance. The Old Church is a much-loved historic structure, and this spring it received its annual “mudding.” On July 26, 2013, the Albuquerque metro area along the Rio Grande River was hard-hit by a strong, severe storm, eventually described by the National Weather Service as “hurricane strength.” Odd for the desert, but it did happen. The north side of this beautiful old historic building was severely damaged. A lot of time and money will be required to restore it to its condition before the storm.

Old Church north wall
Old Church north wall

Winners were announced at the Opening Reception on Friday, October 4. Congratulations to Frank Dobrushken for Best of Show with his black and white photograph, “The Dancers.”
Cheryl Cathcart was awarded Second Place for “Suspended in Air.”
I was very pleased to received Third Place for “Floral Fireworks.”
Thanks to Jurors of the Show, and to the Visual Arts Council.

Floral Fireworks
Floral Fireworks

I have a second piece in the show, “Cycles of Life: Sacred Datura:”

sacred datura
sacred datura

25th Annual Corrales Fine Arts Show

25th Annual Corrales Fine Arts Show

The Corrales Fine Arts Show, held annually during Balloon Fiesta at the historic Old San Ysidro Church in Corrales, New Mexico, is set to kick off the fall fine arts show season in the Albuquerque region. This will be the 25th Annual Fine Arts Show held by the Visual Arts Council to raise money to support the upkeep of this beautiful old adobe church. This is a venue in which I love to show my work. The show has all kinds of work in it, not just photography. While there is photography, there is also painting of all varieties, especially oils and watercolors; textiles; pottery; just a great variety.

I would like to thank this year’s jurors for selecting two of my pieces for inclusion in this show: ‘Floral Fireworks’ and ‘Sacred Datura.’

corrales fine arts show
Floral Fireworks – Gladiolus that always blooms on the Fourth of July
corrales fine arts dshow
Life Cycle of Sacred Datura – an iconic plant of the Desert Southwest

The show is open 11:00 am – 5:00 pm daily, October 5-12, 2013, and
11:00 am – 4:00 pm on Sunday, October 13, 2013.

You may find more information on the Old San Ysidro Church and direction to it at this link.

If you live in the area, or if you will be visiting during Balloon Fiesta, make the Old Church and the Fine Arts Show a stop on your visit. There is no charge, and parking is free. The church is a part of old New Mexico, and part of the proceeds for the sale of artwork goes for maintenance of the Old Church.

A big thank you to the jurors of this year’s show.

“Mudding” an Old Adobe House

Mudding an Adobe House

As I have said many times before, preservation of true adobe structures requires regular and time consuming maintenance, something for which many owners of adobes have neither the time nor money. I have also talked elsewhere about the community effort that goes into maintaining the Old San Ysidro Church in Corrales, New Mexico.

Corrales, New Mexico is geographically contiguous with Albuquerque, but it is its own Village with its own unique history, governance, and pride. Main Street, Corrales, is lined with adobes – businesses and homes – in various states of repair. It is charming, and the Village intends to keep it that way.

In 2012, the Corrales Historical Society and Corrales Main Street, with the hard work of volunteers, teamed up to “mud” or replaster with adobe the old Martinez House, which sits right on Main Street in Corrales. This house is not made of adobe bricks, but rather of terrones, which are essentially squares of sod. It is closely related to adobe. The traditional mud plastering is the same. The Martinez House Project is described in detail by Mary Davis in Corrales Historical Society Newsletter.

This is the north wall, and you can see the state of the adobe. For those of you not familiar with the use of color in New Mexico, blue is frequently used in the wood and other trim of adobe structures.

adobe house

This is the east wall of the Martinez House, and you can see that it sits right on the street. It has already had one coat of mud plaster applied, and Daniel Esparza is smoothing it and adding a little more plaster.

Martinez House
Daniel Esparza “Mudding” the east wall of the Martinez House

Before any “mudding” could begin, a formula for how much of what kind of earth and straw would be right had to be determined. Then, the ingredients had to be prepared and mixed.

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