The magic of Santa Fe

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People have been telling me for years that I would love Santa Fe. They told me all about the art, the galleries, the adobe architecture and the artists. But what I wasn’t expecting was the magical landscape, the azure skies and the spiritual feel of the craggy snow-capped mountains and desert scenes.

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Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) is practically synonymous with the art of New Mexico, but to be honest I find her passionate romantic relationship with photographer Alfred Stieglitz more interesting than her paintings. However, after spending only a few days in New Mexico, I can now understand why she spent most of her adult life there and drew such inspiration from the land. In 1984 she moved to Santa Fe and died there two years later at the age of 98.

Flower of Life II by Georgia O'Keeffe
Flower of Life II by Georgia O’Keeffe

Today, Santa Fe is a major art destination, boasting hundreds of galleries concentrated in a very small city center (I would not recommend it for those of you prone to gallery fatigue). There is a huge range of art offerings for every taste, high brow and low brow.

Within the first hour I had my fill of turquoise, red chili peppers and pueblo pottery knock-offs. Fortunately there were plenty of top notch contemporary galleries and the offerings were extremely eclectic. Here is a sampling from the hundreds of works I saw:

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My two favorite galleries were Nüart (they represent one of my favorite artists, Erin Cone) and Chiaroscuro. I discovered a third generation American Indian ceramicist, Rose Simpson, at Chiaroscuro. I was immediately drawn to her contemporary figurative works (below). Both her mother and grandmother were traditional potters, and Ms. Simpson is on the hot artists to watch list.

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Exhausted yet? I certainly was after a full day of gallery hopping! So take a seat, relax and welcome in the New Year, Santa Fe style!

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All under one roof

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This weekend I dropped off my artwork ‘The Golden Egg’ for the upcoming Small Worlds exhibition at the Target Gallery inside the Torpedo Factory.Goose that Laid the Golden Egg

Every time I visit this art center in Alexandria VA, I get inspired. The Torpedo Factory doesn’t get nearly as much attention as it deserves – it houses six galleries and over 82 artist studios, which means that you get an awful lot of bang for your buck if you’re looking for a one-stop art destination.

Third floor galleries
Third floor galleries

You can find glass art, fiber art, ceramics, photography, jewelry, painting,  fine art prints, and a lot more besides. It’s also a chance to schmooze with the artists, who are exceptionally accommodating to the public. I discovered the works of Alison Sigethy, and eco-artist who transforms glass, once destined for the landfill, into magical sea creatures suspended in water.

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I was really mesmerized by the soothing bubbles floating to the top of these uplit glass cylinders with their oceanic contents. I could see putting one in a bedroom for a zen-like ambiance.

It’s that present-giving time of year again, so the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria (a stone’s throw from Washington DC) might just be the place to start looking for unusual gifts and supporting the arts at the same time. Oh, and pooches are welcome too.

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