Monday, September 16, 2013

In Adoration of Art

"Sirens of Rutino" by Adrian Arleo

I'm at the halfway point of my month-long stay on Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico. The landscape is stunning and ever-changing and the library on the ranch never closes (they operate on the honor system). I am inexplicably drawn to its hallowed shelves almost every day. 

Legend is, in the early days, because the landscape is so captivating and full of surprises, people couldn't get to sleep at night, so the librarian decided to keep the library open for 24 hours, everyday...and that means, forever. 

People could get their reading and indoor explorations done at night, provided they could pull themselves away from the celestial displays in the heavens right outside their windows. 

Sounds familiar. I couldn't start working on my writing project (which is why I'm here) for 4 full days, the stimulation of the landscape is so compelling; I couldn't take my eyes off the spell-binding, ever-changing sky, the blue mountains, the multi-colored spires and buttes, the red dirt beneath my feet. 

So far, I've flushed out nine hares from their hiding places under antelope sagebrush as I hike the two miles on my way to dinner each day. Splendid surprises! 

I think it was the facial expressions of woman and birds that attracted me to the clay sculpture (above) by artist, Adrian Arleo. She brilliantly combines human and animal imagery which alludes to the primal relationship between the two worlds. Constructed of clay, glaze, wax encaustic and gold leaf, it immediately elicited an astonishing emotional resonance for me. I love how the hands are folded in unassuming, humbled poses.

Another piece of art I enjoy is Lindsay Pichaske's ceramic piece titled, The Long Thaw.             Here is a quote from Lindsay re: her work: "What separates human from animal? What borders exist between real and imagined, beautiful and repugnant, animate and inanimate? Through the act of making, I swim in and around these margins, exploring how slippery the answers to these questions are." The eyes of the animal in this piece caught my attention. Sad human-like eyes; longing, pleading, expressive eyes.

The Long Thaw  

I found the work of Adrian and Lindsay perusing Ceramics Magazine in the "forever open" library. On my walks at the ranch, I see women creating and expressing themselves in a wide range of genres and mediums: oils, pastels, ceramics and clay; watercolor, charcoal, pencil sketches. How could you not in such an enchanting environment?

Gradually, I make my way back to the casita, pull up a chair and revel in the view. Putting pen to paper, I begin to write...nourished and inspired by women artists everywhere.


  1. I wish I was with you there, just in the landscape. How can I arrange that for next year? I am beyond curious. So happy to hear from you. xooxox S

  2. Next year I plan on coming from mid-Sept. to mid-Oct. to take advantage of the turn of fall colors. You can go to their website and view the many workshops that are happening; I'm not at a workshop, just a personal retreat. Let's meet up in 2014, Suzi...

  3. I feel as if I'm with you . . . every step of the way. Well, vicariously, at least. Seeing this experience -- what things particularly move you to share and post -- through your lens is a gift.

  4. It moves me to meet others equally interested in the beauty that sustains us through art and landscape. The fact that everyday we can learn something new and be inspired is so satisfying. Thank you for chiming in, Deborah.

  5. The beauty is remarkable. The opportunity to live inside it must be equally remarkable.

    In two minutes, the fall equinox will arrive. Right on time, a front arrived, dropped the humidity and stirred some cool breezes. Every window in the house is open. I imagine it's not unlike the experience you're having there.

    Happy equinox, happy change, happy opening.

    1. I have just made it to the ranch by the seat of my pants...torrential rains and rumbling thunder!
      May your yellows and reds be splendid...