Sunday, July 29, 2012

Mabel Dodge Luhan house

Another highlight of the Cincinnati Art Academy Sketchbook trip was staying at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House.  If you love historic adobe architecture and you are visiting Taos then Mabel's is the place to stay.  The house is gorgeous with lots of quirky, wonderful details and the food is out of this world.  I love when food is both healthy and tasty, not to mention lots of local flair.

There is also quite a bit of interesting history regarding Mabel.  I am just now starting to read Edge of Taos Desert which is her autobiographical account of her move from New York to the Southwest in 1917.  She grew up as part of New York's avante-garde so it was quite a transition moving to Taos and falling in love with a native American of the Taos pueblo named Antonio Luhan (Tony). From what I know so far, she and Tony built the house and had quite a roller coaster relationship.  When I finish the book I will post more.

Below are a few photos of the rooms and the grounds.  The friend I traveled with was lucky enough to stay in Tony's room which has a wonderful balcony and a crazy bathroom painted by D.H. Lawrence.

Tony's room balcony

D. H. Lawrence bathroom

Gatehouse Entrance

Entry doors to Mabel's

Sitting Area off Lobby


Mabel's room


Monday, July 23, 2012

Earthships -Taos, NM

One of the more memorable places we visited in Taos was The Earthships. These structures are described on their website as "radically sustainable buildings made with recycled materials."  They use solar panels to generate electricity and rainwater for drinking water, sewage, and food production.  They are essentially designed to be self-containing units with the rare use of propane.

As you can see in the photos below the walls of The Earthships often incorporate either glass bottles or aluminum cans.  I loved the color in the glass and the repetition of all of them.  Oh, and FYI, I added a little lens flare to the photo above for dramatic effect.  I usually don't like to alter my photos like that, but I thought it added a little "alien flare."

When we were there you couldn't help but feel you were on a different planet.  And I don't know which came first, the earthships or Tatooine, but they certainly resemble each other.  I thought I might see C-3PO and R2-D2 around the corner at any minute.

The building below was a particularly fancy Earthship under construction.  I wonder how many crushed cans go into a building like this.  If you are ever in Taos, it is certainly worth the time to stop at the visitor center and watch the movie and to walk around the buildings.  But don't forget your hat and sunscreen (or your lightsaber!). 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

San Francisco de Asis Church

I am finally getting around to posting some photos from my Cincinnati Art Academy sketchbook trip to Taos, NM.  One of my favorite places we went was San Francisco de Asis mission church in Rancho de Taos historic district.  The church was built between 1772 and 1816 and made famous by several Georgia O'Keefe paintings.  She made the back of this church as famous as the front.

We woke up at 5:30 so we could arrive at the church before sunrise.  I was excited to capture the sunrise on the beautiful odd-shaped adobe walls on the back of the church.  My favorite drawing in my sketchbook is of the back of this church.  I'll do a post later with some sketches from the trip.

I love this quote from George O'Keefe about this church:

"The Ranchos de Taos Church is one of the most beautiful buildings left in the United States by the early Spaniards. Most artists who spend any time in Taos have to paint it, I suppose, just as they have to paint a self-portrait. I had to paint it—the back several times, the front once. I finally painted a part of the back thinking with that piece of the back I said all I needed to say about the church. I often painted fragments of things because it seemed to make my statement as well as or better than the whole could. And I long ago came to the conclusion that even if I could put down accurately the thing that I saw and enjoyed, it would not give the observer the kind of feeling it gave me. I had to create an equivalent for what I felt about what I was looking at—not copy it."

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Scandinavian Napkins and Tablecloth

I bet you thought I was done with the whole red, white and blue theme, eh?  Well I couldn't resist posting these beauties.  I found both the napkins and the tablecloth at Punzel's in Michigan last year.  I already posted the beautiful red, white, and blue linen table runner I bought there last September and I have been itching to put these up ever since.  

According to Wikipedia, the horse you see here is called a "Dala" horse.  The Swedish started carving wooden horses long ago as toys that then became a popular item for trade. Different locations had differing styles, but the red horse with the detailed harness in white, green, yellow and blue became the most widespread and is now a popular symbol of Sweden.  

Originally the horses were just carved from wood and not painted.  According to legend a wandering painter came across a plain horse and painted it in the kurbits style.  What is kurbits you ask?  It is "an invented, fantastical symbol of vegetal fertility based on a gourd or pumpkin of biblical legend, principally used for ornamentation in Swedish folk art and on painted furniture and domestic objects."  I had to google it and it is totally awesome!  I am totally crazy over kurbits and I didn't even know it!  You must google image it!  When I bought these I knew none of this...I just thought they were super cute and beautiful.  Now I like them even more!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Vintage Tablecloth - Happy 4th of July!

I had such fun making the image above.  When I was looking through all my tablecloths I realized this one was perfect for making a nice square 4th of July card.  The tablecloth didn't really have that message in the middle (you can see it in full below), but I Photoshopped it in there.  Wouldn't it be awesome though to have a great big 4th of July party and to print your own tablecloths with that in the middle?  Maybe some day...but today I am content to put out all my red, white and blue tablecloths on the porch tables and sip lemonade.  Stay cool and HAPPY 4th of JULY!!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Pennsylvania Dutch Pillow

This pillow is one of my favorite flea market finds of all time.  As soon as I saw it I knew it was coming home with me.  Of course I was drawn to the red, white, and blue, but just look at that cute lady churning butter! 

Honestly, I'm not quite sure if it is officially "Pennsylvania Dutch", but it had that air to it so I went with it.  If anyone out there knows more about this pillow please let me know.  Oh, and it appears to be made with high quality dyes because it is the only thing on the porch that has not faded from all this sun.