It was 3:30 am in mid September – not quite fall enough for it to be cool, but at least it wasn’t hot – when my husband and I started on our trek east and up into the mountains towards beautiful Silver City, New Mexico. I was on tap to judge an art show and teach a workshop… my first time doing both.
Arriving in plenty of time for the 9 am judging, we met up with superstar show organizer Carolyn Paez at the McDonalds. After some confusion finding each other, we connected and headed a few miles up north into Pinos Altos where the show was being held at the historic Hearst Church. It was a beautiful drive, climbing up to over 7000 feet and cozying up to the continental divide. Among a number of other shows and events, the Grant County Art Guild has held the Purchase Prize Award Show (featuring artists from New Mexico) every year for 31 years.
The Art Show
The old adobe church, built in 1898, had some truly unpretentious old world charm and made a splendid location to hold an art show. Walking through the church itself perusing the show’s work, I was taken with the range of techniques and styles as well as subject matter. I can honestly say that every piece there gave me something to look at, to hold my attention and feel connected. It was hard to choose but in the end I felt very confident in my decisions. The reception, held later in the evening, was very well attended. It was wonderful to see the closeness of the community and the passion for art everyone had.
The next day was the start of the three day workshop, generously hosted by Cross Point Church. We started out talking about methods and all the work that goes into a painting even before paint is applied to surface. We began our work by transferring an image to our canvas via the grid method, an old school and low tech means of sketching whatever image you’re going to paint on your canvas with reasonable accuracy.
We then worked on a monochromatic under painting using burnt umber. The general idea here was to lay out a value map on which to build color later. On the second day the under paintings were dry, so it was time to start having fun with color! I had brought a stack of reference material for people to work from (though everyone was welcome to use their own) with a print of the image in both color and black & white (for the under painting). We had paintings of everything from desert scenery to wildlife to my personal fave… horses! It was a delight to the eyeballs to walk around the room!
Over the three days, we all had a lot of fun working together, helping and encouraging each other and sharing an appetite for learning. We also, at times, enjoyed the help of my lovely assistant Lemorris, aka my husband (also an artist – an amazing automotive artist). I had a lot of fun answering questions, sharing my knowledge and just talking art, something I don’t often get to do with non-artist “civilians”. Be sure to go to the bottom of this post for a photo gallery of the workshop!
I worked on a couple of pieces right along with everybody else during the workshop, so we could all feel the burn together. I finished the pronghorn piece, though I still have work to do on the cow which will be shared when it get’s my stamp of approval.
Exploring Silver City
While we were there my husband and I made sure to take time to have some fun exploring downtown Silver City when we could. Right off the bat our artist-senses were tingling and led us right to the local art store and gallery, Leyba & Ingalls Arts, a great supporter of the arts in the community. One evening we had some tasty Mexican food at the Jalisco Café, and another a delicious meal (not to mention great beer selection) at what appeared to be quite the happenin’ joint in town, Little Toad Creek Brewery.
Closer to home (or hotel), we even had a nice breakfast at Kountry Kitchen Mexican Food… yes, Country with a K, clearly Mexican 😉 . Everywhere we travel one of our priorities is to find great coffee… and we did, just off the beaten path at the Javalina Coffee House. I also have to give a shout out to the EconoLodge, it was a great stay and the friendliness of the staff and all around customer service was top notch, not to mention the fact that the accommodations were awesome!
Our drive out of town through the Gila National Forest and eventually through Safford was slower but even more scenic that the drive there (I-10 to Lordsburg). It was a nice time to reflect on the trip and talk about next year… since I was honored and thrilled to be asked back! It’s now something I can really look forward too because I know it will be great fun, rather than an adventure into the unknown (as it was this year)!
Be sure to follow the Grant County Arts Guild’s site for info on next years workshop held in September, reminder: the Art Show is for New Mexico artists only, but anyone can sign up for the workshop, space is limited! I can, however, attest to the fact that the location and weather are phenomenal, it’s worth the trip just for that alone!