Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Art Lover At An Early Age

Today my friend, Kathie B., took me to lunch at Vinaigrette Bistro near Old Town, Albuquerque for a belated birthday celebration and my almost three year old granddaughter Eliza enlivened the occasion.  After a wonderful lunch on their patio where everyone politely ignored the fact that Eliza was NOT STAYING in her chair, we drove the very few blocks to the Albuquerque Botanical Gardens to see what was in bloom.

What is this tiny plant going to be?
Can I throw them a penny? "NO!"
Smells good in here!
How fast can I run down this ramp?

Yikes! Everything in here pricks you!
I'm WAITING for you!
What's a "Curandera?"
 Eliza was very taken with this sculpture and spent quite a bit of time exploring what she could reach with her hands.
Kathie wondering in what direction Eliza has now run.

Eliza is now trotting ahead with her arms crossed and her "meany face" firmly in place because I wouldn't let her pick up some bird poop.


"The Rescue" by renowned sculptor, Glenna Goodacre, captivated Eliza and her anger is forgotten.  Not able to drag her away, Kathie stayed with her while I was dispatched to get Eliza a drink.  We spent the next thirty minutes with Eliza comforting the bronze little girl at the base of the tree whom Eliza assumed owned the imperiled cat.

Return of the "meany face" as Eliza is warned we are leaving in 5 minutes.

And a very happy birthday to my daughter Alethea (mother of Eliza) who is reluctantly sharing Eliza with her grandparents while she is on mandated bed rest until the birth of the twins she and her husband, Tim, are expecting any day.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Santero, Alcario Otero, Creative Lives Series

Recently on an Arts Crawl through a few Albuquerque galleries organized by my friend Katrine Stewart, we met the New Mexico Santero, Alcario Otero.  As we were admiring a bas relief retablo in the current show at the Albuquerque Museum, Visualizing Albuquerque, a friendly man asked if he might join us to look at this piece.  He shared some insights about the artist and pointed out what he thought was special about it.  We began to ask questions and he shared that he too had a piece in the exhibit.  Sonja, Katrine and I were intrigued and asked to see it. 

On the way to another room, Alcario stopped to explain several other pieces by Santero artists.
This San Isidro was one of my favorites. Sorry that I did not make a note of the artist's name.

Alcario began telling us about his dramatic visit from God when he was called to be a Santero and his disregard of this revelation until the vision came true several months later.  He almost lost his life in the motorcycle accident that he had been shown in the vision.  This sobering event turned his life around and he began to at first paint retablos (two dimensional sacred pictures) and then carve Santos, three dimensional depictions of saints.

At one point, we were all laughing loudly at one of Alcario's stories when the museum guard (not at all amused by our mirth) shushed us.  No respect whatsoever for an exhibiting artist!

 I am sure you would like to see Alcario's carving, which we finally reached...
Sonja captures the moment on her cellphone.


Santo Nino, Salvador Del Mundo, 2011
Don't you just love the face on this Holy Child, Savior of the World?

An email from Katrine confirmed that Alcario, as promised, brought his latest carving for a preview to Katrine's house.  I had asked to see the piece before it was gessoed but I am currently in Colorado.  My daughter, pregnant with twins, and hospitalized with pre-term labor, needs help with Eliza who is two and a half, so I missed my opportunity to see this Santo midway in its creation.
The legend of the Santo Nino is that he was a little boy who helped feed the Spanish soldiers who were fighting the Moors by giving them bread from his basket (that never emptied).  You can see that he also wears Santiago's pilgrim attributes: the shell, hat and pilgrim's staff. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

"Laissez les bons temps rouler" or...I Never Met A Costume I Didn't Love

Image via dreamstime.com

Happy Mardi Gras!  I am feeling blessed today as the St. Mark's Mardi Gras party is in the rear view mirror!  There are still some costumes to be put away, but as New Orleans is winding up tonight's Mardi Gras extravanza, we at St. Mark's are turning our attention to LentIf you missed out on the fun, there is always next year!

The party, organized by Diane Reese and her incredible team, was a huge success and we raised quite a lot of money for our J2A (Journey to Adulthood) class to make a pilgrimage to New Orleans for Holy Week.  Notice that we did NOT choose to take a group of teens to New Orleans for the iconic Mardi Gras!
Maren and Fr. Christopher
Girls just wanna have fun!
Top Banana and Second Banana (which David is which?)

Margaret, Charles and Katrine
Nancy and Maren

 This is the first year that I was able to attend Mardi Gras, although it has become an annual fundraiser for St. Mark's.  

Norm as a Venetian Duke and me as Frida Kahlo 
Don't you love that faux lantern I found for $5.00 at Savor's? Tres francais?

The real Frida

Usually my husband and I are traveling out of the country in January and February for sailing, scuba diving, canoeing and rafting in Belize or Costa Rica.  Some of our traveling "compadres" joined us in costume this year as well.
Left-right in back row: Colin, Jim, JoAnne, Peter  Front row, Brittany, Heather Norm, Vicki

For a group of scruffy boaters, we dress up pretty well.

As part of the decorating committee (chaired by Angela Hearron), I designed and painted the photo booth (thanks Ken and Diane Reese for the construction help!), and hung faux draperies (really plastic table clothes in the green, yellow and purple that is typical of Mardi Gras decor) in the parish hall to create the illusion of many french doors.

Fr. Bob generously donated his professional photographer talents to begin to raise funds for the 2017 Pilgrimage group.

 We decorated eighteen tables with purple cloths (sewn by Donna Aldrich in 2014) and centerpieces of beads, masks and metallic foil bursts  to seat a total of 160 people for a dinner of gumbo, macaroni, salad, and bread pudding. 

Hanging from the ceiling were large paper pinwheels in purple, green and yellow with feather masks centered on them. 

The Hiltons

Gini looking fabulous!
Little Red Riding Hood and the Not So Big or Bad Wolf

Adam and Cleo

Jeff and Karen and Norm and Heather

Many Nob Hill merchants were extremely generous with Silent Auction Items as were members of the parish who donated things like vacation time shares, a custom hoop house for the garden, a week in a casita, vintage Native American jewelry, a handmade afghan, catered gourmet items, etc. 

Ann and Ken tending bar

Dollie and Milo

Entourage Jazz had us dancing the evening away to their smooth sounds!

No one is too young or too old to love dancing.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

For The Love of Tools or "If I could be a tool, what would I be?"

I have a few blogs that I read consistently and one of them is the Floret Flower Farm blogI read it because in some other life, I might like to grow flowers on a much larger scale than my mountainside home allows.  My husband's sister, Caroline, has a small sized farm in the North Valley of Albuquerque with fertile soil, and she grows beautiful iris.  I picture her in the mornings with her cup of tea cooling on the ground as she tends the flowers among the bees that she also raises.  

Recently Erin of the Floret Flower Farm wrote about her favorite garden clippers....

Photo Via
These beauties are available in her shop.  Her post got me to thinking about what sort of tools I love.  I would really love this clipper!  Especially since my last favorite clipper has mysteriously disappeared....Lightweight, easy to find if you set it down in the garden with it's flashy red handles, sturdy enough to stand up to hard use and very sharpYes, all the things I would like to be if I were a tool. 

My sister had a copper bowl that allowed her to whip up incredible meringues with only a whisk.  I could be that bowl, round and shiny with a few venerable dents here and there.

Or maybe I would like to be my favorite Kolinsky sable water color brushBeautiful silky red hair, perfectly balanced, able to hold a lot of water, with a very fine point. Springing back to its original shape always.  Happily held by someone who loves painting. 

Perhaps I could be my daughter, Brittany's powerful Kitchen Aid mixer, plowing through batches and batches of cookies, cakes, and breads. Sitting in a pride of place on her copper counter top.  Feeding friends and family year after year.

What sort of tool would you like to be?  I never enter contests (can't stand to be disappointed) so I won't be signing up for Erin's contest, but am seriously thinking about ordering those clippers.  You may still have time to make a comment on her blog if you would like a chance to win them.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Georgia O'Keefe Inspired Silk Scarf

Sharing a painted silk scarf.
Monday morning painting sessions have resumed after a brief hiatus for the holidays.  Deborah Bentley has joined us and uses the watercolors she creates as an inspiration for painting her silk scarves.  This week she brought some beauties to show to us.  She is doing a series of scarves based on famous artists.  Of course my favorite is the poppy one "a la O'Keefe!"

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

To ski or not to ski?

At my advanced age, I am wondering if I should give up skiing.  I am on board to chaperone our upcoming Diocesan youth event, Snow Slam.  To be honest, I am well past the age of being comfortable sleeping on a church floor, so am sure this will be my last such event.
 In my early twenties and being a fairly athletic person, I believed a friend's suggestion that I could handle the blue slopes after only a morning of ski class.
(Thanks Kathy B!)  After a terrifying fall and the subsequent impact of several (also unskilled skiers) hitting me, I took off my skies and walked down to the bunny slopes.  Vowing never to ski again!  

Years later, a kind friend, Ken C., suggested that, if he could ski having suffered from polio, certainly I could ski with two legs the same length.  He undertook coaching me into being a fairly competent, though still tentative skier.  I never attempted the black runs and only a few blue, but loved the greens.  In my forties and fifties, I did not spend much time skiing because of work and family obligations (and because being an introvert made me treasure the times my husband would take the children skiing and I could have a weekend to myself!) My friend, Margaret, is still skiing and is amazed that she can ski for free at the age of 70.  She insisted she could sleep on the floor with me (although her husband is insisting they stay in a hotel!) and she may just shame me into taking my last runs down the hills!  We will see.
Maybe the fact that men have beards makes them ski longer? Image Via
For an interesting article about why women give up skiing at an earlier age than men visit the Out There Blog.

I am wondering, if you are an older skier, at what point might you decide to give it up?  When I fell (tripping on a speed bump in a rain soaked parking lot.. but just walking) and broke my arm last year, I decided perhaps I should give up my roller blades and I gave them away.  Should people on Social Security and Medicare begin to be a bit more careful?
Or should we just deal with the consequences of falling?  What do you think? 

However, a new generation is growing up to love skiing!
My two and a half year old granddaughter, Eliza, is fearless!
Eliza's first lift ticket

It is always more fun with a friend

How far down?
Are we there yet?
Okay, I'm ready!