“Santa Fe Studio with Picture Window” © 2014 Jessica Wesolek
I didn’t quite meet my challenge to create six paintings this week. I only made it to four so far, but so many good things have come of the effort, that I’m not even disappointed about it.
I have gotten my garden room cleaned up and set up as a working watercolor studio.
I have unearthed all the wonderful tubes of paint that have been waiting such a long time for me to come back to them, and I have spent a LOT of time painting.
Because of a puppy dog tummy ache, we got up at 5am yesterday, and I painted for 4 hours before going down to the gallery.
Found out that early morning is a wonderful time to make art – putting it first before anything else but coffee (and dog walking, of course).
I love the studio in the painting above and wish mine was that pristine.
One of the really fun things is incorporating some of the style details that are so unique to Santa Fe, like saltilllo (sal-tee-o) tile floors and vigas (vee-ga) and latillas (la-tee-ya).
The vigas are the large telephone pole-like beams that go through the walls and hold up the ceiling.
Latillas are the smaller sapling logs that cover the ceiling on top of the vigas.
When I have my Santa Fe Retreats, this is the stuff that charms the chile (yes – spelled with an “e”) out of my students because it is so “arty” and fun to sketch. I can still fit a couple people into the September Retreat if anybody else wants to come see for themselves.
Here is a little “reading room” I painted with a Kiva (kee-va) fireplace in it . . .
“Casita with Kiva Fireplace” © 2014 Jessica Wesolek
Kiva fireplaces are patterned after horno ovens (orno) which are adobe brick ovens, usually outside, in which the Pueblo people bake bread. They look something like this . . .
First, you build a fire in the oven in the early morning. When the kindling burns away, you clean out the ashes, put your loaves of bread inside on pieces of stone (so they don’t get sooty) and the retained heat in the adobe bricks bakes the bread. Makes you appreciate our oven’s pre-heat feature, doesn’t it?
I have eaten bread freshly baked in an horno when visiting a friend at one of the local pueblos. It was really delicious and different.
I have never seen a fireplace like this in any kiva (ceremonial room), so who knows how that name came about.
And my fourth painting this week was an outside view . . .
“The Note” © 2014 Jessica Wesolek
Many exterior patios and porches are flagstone or brick. This time, you see the ends of the vigas sticking out through the adobe wall.
And we also have a chile ristra (ree-stra). Fresh picked chiles are bound together and hung on an outside wall or portal (porch) to dry. The cook then grabs one from the ristra whenever needed.
Blue doors and gates are considered good luck and they are thought to ward off evil.
This morning, I built a web page for my prints, and put them in the Shopping Cart . . .
You can see all four paintings together, and you can purchase the prints.
Thank you so much to those who purchased the first print last time.
It is really fun to share the style and culture of Santa Fe with you – and it’s REALLY fun to be painting again!