The Nature Journal

Above Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, journaling

Although I’ve kept a written journal for many years, after I moved to Santa Fe, a friend introduced me to what is usually called nature journaling. A nature journal is a kind of sketchbook and written journal. It’s a place for you to record observations made during your outings, or your travels, with drawings and sketches, and hand-written notes. Generally, the drawings dominate. Some people love hasty sketches made spontaneously in the field, in a cheap notebook, while others make lavish, multi-media illustrations that run over the pages of their hand-bound books, and make the entire journal a work of art. No two nature journals are, or ever will be, the same. If you begin to keep one, you will be creating something utterly and uniquely yours.

I have to say this has been one of the most enriching and rewarding activities I’ve ever undertaken. And I admit I was resistant at first, for the same reason you’re probably feeling right now: I didn’t like the way I drew. Quite a few early attempts were discarded, journal and all, in a childish dissatisfaction. I even tried adding drawings to my written journal, where they lost themselves in the verbiage. But as it says in “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain“, if you can sign your name, you can draw. It’s true. You have to learn to draw what you see and not what you think you see. You have to learn what to exclude, as well. With just a little perseverance you’ll be on your way.

The materials you’ll need are few and inexpensive and easily tucked into a day pack: a plain bound notebook, a pen with ink that doesn’t smear, and a tin of 12 colored pencils and a sharpener are all I ever carry.

My journal is a blend of nature observations, travel notes, sketches, including hand-drawn maps, and some feeble attempts at “artful” page compositions, geared to my trips and outings. My friend’s journal includes these elements, but with a seasonal continuity and a strong sense of composition. It’s all good.

The opening pages of “Summer” in Scott J’s journal

Many of Scott’s pages are devoted to “traditional” nature journal subjects, ranging from things seen on nearby hikes to the changes occurring right outside the window:

Even a bird’s nest, tossed into the driveway by the wind, can become a work of art:

A vacation becomes an excuse for pages of drawings:

We both love to draw what are often called “event maps”. These annotated, hand-drawn maps are an attractive way to telescope a day’s activities and observation all in one multidimensional place. It’s interesting to notice how one’s observations overlap – or don’t – with another’s. Following are two event maps of the same area, made during the same visit, at Chaco Canyon, New Mexico:

Scott J’s Chaco event map

Scott R’s Chaco event map

Many of my recent event maps have taken on a look like this:

A day’s hike to Puerto Nambe, all captured on a page

The need to figure out just what that attractive flower or odd lizard is named, which means poring through guidebooks later, has led to a vast improvement in my knowledge of local natural history. (This need has also filled shelves with natural history guides) I’ve completely worn out Robert Ivey’s comprehensive “Flowering Plants of New Mexico”. My rock identification skills, submerged under years of corporate knowledge, have resurfaced as well. I love to include cross-sections of the local geology, drawn from various sources; these help me put the regional natural history in context:

Everyone has their own particular interests, of course. But no matter what catches your eyes, you’ll discover that you are starting to see in a different way than you did before. You will start seeing like an artist. And you’ll be creating a record of your life’s experiences that is much more satisfying than a simple photo album or written journal, as important as those things can be. I have a stack of written journals 4 feet high that I never open – they might as well be sediment accumulating on a dark seafloor. There are no guideposts in that mass of scrawls. But I look through my nature journals with pleasure all the time. They quickly answer every question like “when did we go there?” or “when did the peaches ripen?” with visual cues to guide you. And as the years go by, these colorful records will be there to remind you of all the wonderful things you really have been doing in your life.

Scott J. sketching on Raven’s Ridge, far above Santa Fe

There are many websites devoted to nature journaling. Here are a few to get you on your way:

http://www.cathyjohnson.info/natural.html

http://ireneehret.com/nature_journals.php

http://margaretherrick.com/

The Lensic – Santa Fe’s Grande Dame

The Lensic – Santa Fe’s Grande Dame

The Lensic – Santa Fe’s Grande Dame

On June 24, 1931, alongside the beginning of the Great Depression, The Lensic motion picture “palace” opened in our fair city of just 11,000 souls.

Built by Nathan Salmon and John E. Greer, and named for Mr. Greer’s six grandchildren, the Lensic was an anagram of the first letter of each grandchild’s name. Built in the Spanish Baroque style, the Lensic’s distinct architecture has defined Santa Fe as much as John Gaw Meem’s Pueblo Revival style. She was the social center of town with her own ballroom and a stage for vaudeville acts, with a 6 musician orchestra pit.

Historic Lensic Exterior-EDIT

By the 1990’s, the wear and tear of passing decades made her look worn down. Because of Bill Zeckendorf’s vision that Santa Fe could and would support a downtown performing arts center, his wife Nancy and other civic minded Santa Feans began the arduous task of raising $9,000,000 necessary for its expansion and historic preservation. Without the foresight and shared vision of Alexis Girard and her family, the Lensic Board would have never been able to eventually own the theater, a critical requirement for philanthropic support.

B24
View from Stage

Throughout the years, this “wonder theater of the Southwest” hosted performers as diverse as Chet Grass and his Frontier Knights Orchestra to vaudeville shows with skimpily clad dancing girls like Maria Y Sable. When the Lensic premiered Santa Fe Trail in 1940, Roy Rogers Errol Flynn, Ronald Reagan and Olivia de Haviland all were in attendance. In 1934, Claudette Colbert appeared at the premier of Cleopatra, a young Judy Garland performed here, Rudy Valle crooned, and for the 1982 film festival, Lillian Gish, Ray Bolger, Gene Kelly and Ginger Rogers smiled, blew kisses and danced across the stage.

_68X0074

With this sort of history, most of our citizens felt the Lensic had to be one of the finest performing arts centers in America. The Lensic Performing Arts Center opened on April 22, 2001 featuring violinist Pinchas Zuckerman, Marc Neikrug, David Grusin and Eddie Daniels among many others, including a hundred National Dance Institute students performing on stage.

Future Voices of New Mexico Awards 2016

The Lensic was off and running, creating in the past 20 years countless diverse community oriented programs including dance, voice, musical, theatrical performances and lecture series.

_MG_5237b

Santa Fe is a city whose citizens pine with love for all the performing arts, and the Lensic is one of the major pillars supporting our City Different’s unique position in our land. The foresight of Nathan Salmon and E. John Greer, along with the drive and determination of the Zeckendorfs and Alexis Greer Girard, plus countless donors, big and small, including the State of NM and the City of Santa Fe, gave us this bountiful gift.  Any trip to Santa Fe should include a visit to the Lensic for a performance or two. Before your visit to the Inn on the Alameda, check out Lensic.org for a list of the coming attractions and get your tickets early. The Lensic is truly a gem in the crown of the Performing Arts in New Mexico, and is fortunately located right here in Santa Fe.

Welcome back to better days!

This is Joe, the proud owner of the Inn on the Alameda. What has this past year been like? Well, kinda like waiting for Christmas, Chanukah, your birthday, and the 4th of July all rolled into one. You can add to it waiting for the bell to ring at the end of Algebra 3...

read more

The Nature Journal

Although I’ve kept a written journal for many years, after I moved to Santa Fe, a friend introduced me to what is usually called nature journaling. A nature journal is a kind of sketchbook and written journal. It’s a place for you to record observations made during...

read more
The Galisteo Studio Tour

The Galisteo Studio Tour

The Galisteo Studio Tour

The spirt of Georgia O’Keeffe in Galisteo, New Mexico

One of the great joys of the autumn season in Northern New Mexico is the annual round of village studio tours.

Artists open their homes and studios to wandering aficionados of the arts in many of the picturesque small towns around Santa Fe over the weekend, beginning in late summer, with the first hint of fall in the high country, and ending in mid-November, when winter is starting to show on the peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Over the years these events have become remarkably well organized, with flyers and websites, welcoming stations with friendly folks passing out maps (surrounded by the inevitable bake sale), large and colorful signs guiding you along the obscure calles, and groups selling traditional meals and snacks  somewhere in a village gathering spot.

The village of Galisteo hosts one of my favorite tours. This old town, about half an hour’s drive southeast of Santa Fe, always picks a mid-October weekend to host, basking in autumn light and the golden glow of the cottonwoods along Galisteo Creek.

Crossing little Galisteo Creek on the village bridge

As always, the local Catholic Church is a good place to stop and plot your afternoon.

The church in Galisteo

The gnarled old roots of old New Mexico poke up from the earth here, as they do in every village:

A crumbling adobe, returning to the land

If you really want to see how an artist works, and find out what inspires him or her, a visit to the studio will go far to satisfy your curiosity.

Catherine Ferguson’s sign hanging outside her house and studio

A yard full of art

Everyone seems to be happy to talk to you, and to show you the tools of their trade. You’ll probably be offered a snack from the kitchen and the privilege of wandering around the house and yard – and if you see a work you can’t live without, you’ll very likely be able to purchase it on the spot.

Well over half the fun of making a studio tour is peeking into people’s normally private homes and gardens, seeing how they arrange their creative lives, and enjoying the rich intermingling of art, landscape, and livelihood that might well cause a twinge of envy as well as admiration.

An illuminated wall

A questionable invitation

Behind adobe walls. Paintings were hung all along this box of light.

So if you’re planning a visit out our way next year around this time – and what could be more delightful than the Southern Rockies in September and October? – take a moment to look into the local studio tours and make some time for a day trip. I think you’ll discover then, for yourself, why the arts and New Mexico are so firmly joined.

Looking toward Galisteo from the house of the chocolate artist

Welcome back to better days!

This is Joe, the proud owner of the Inn on the Alameda. What has this past year been like? Well, kinda like waiting for Christmas, Chanukah, your birthday, and the 4th of July all rolled into one. You can add to it waiting for the bell to ring at the end of Algebra 3...

read more

The Nature Journal

Although I’ve kept a written journal for many years, after I moved to Santa Fe, a friend introduced me to what is usually called nature journaling. A nature journal is a kind of sketchbook and written journal. It’s a place for you to record observations made during...

read more

The spirt of Georgia O’Keeffe in Galisteo, New Mexico

One of the great joys of the autumn season in Northern New Mexico is the annual round of village studio tours. Artists open their homes and studios to wandering aficionados of the arts in many of the picturesque small towns around Santa Fe over the weekend, beginning in late summer, with the first hint of fall in the high country, and ending in mid-November, when winter is starting to show on the peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Over the years these events have become remarkably well organized, with flyers and websites, welcoming stations with friendly folks passing out maps (surrounded by the inevitable bake sale), large and colorful signs guiding you along the obscure calles, and groups selling traditional meals and snacks  somewhere in a village gathering spot.

The village of Galisteo hosts one of my favorite tours. This old town, about half an hour’s drive southeast of Santa Fe, always picks a mid-October weekend to host, basking in autumn light and the golden glow of the cottonwoods along Galisteo Creek.

Crossing little Galisteo Creek on the village bridge

As always, the local Catholic Church is a good place to stop and plot your afternoon.

The church in Galisteo

The gnarled old roots of old New Mexico poke up from the earth here, as they do in every village:

A crumbling adobe, returning to the land

If you really want to see how an artist works, and find out what inspires him or her, a visit to the studio will go far to satisfy your curiosity.

Catherine Ferguson’s sign hanging outside her house and studio

Everyone seems to be happy to talk to you, and to show you the tools of their trade. You’ll probably be offered a snack from the kitchen and the privilege of wandering around the house and yard – and if you see a work you can’t live without, you’ll very likely be able to purchase it on the spot.

A yard full of art

Well over half the fun of making a studio tour is peeking into people’s normally private homes and gardens, seeing how they arrange their creative lives, and enjoying the rich intermingling of art, landscape, and livelihood that might well cause a twinge of envy as well as admiration.

An illuminated wall

Behind adobe walls. Paintings were hung all along this box of light.

A questionable invitation

So if you’re planning a visit out our way next year around this time – and what could be more delightful than the Southern Rockies in September and October? – take a moment to look into the local studio tours and make some time for a day trip. I think you’ll discover then, for yourself, why the arts and New Mexico are so firmly joined.

Looking toward Galisteo from the house of the chocolate artist

World Class Art in Santa Fe

World Class Art in Santa Fe

World Class Art in Santa Fe

There is a building in downtown Santa Fe that houses a world class collection of contemporary art, a building that is itself an example of the cultural synthesis that defines Santa Fe style and New Mexico culture: The New Mexico Museum of Art. Located within an easy walk to the Inn on the Alameda, the Museum offers exciting and challenging exhibits of contemporary art coupled with a permanent collection featuring many of the artists and artworks that define New Mexico.

NM Museum of Art Exterior

The structure housing this collection is itself a work of art. The incorporation of Santa Fe into the United States had brought architectural styles that were largely incongruous with the cultural surroundings. The exposure of modern trained architects in the early 20th century to the organic forms of Puebloan architecture resulted in a revolutionary synthesis of styles known as Pueblo Revival. Consciously building on the historical innovations of the Spanish Colonial era and the Pueblo peoples’ monumental structures, the Pueblo Revival movement helped define Santa Fe for the coming 20th century.

The New Mexico Museum of Art

The New Mexico Museum of Art is a masterpiece of this movement. Designed by New York-born architect Isaac Rapp, known as the “creator of the Santa Fe style,” this 1917 building has become an iconic example of Santa Fe architecture, melding elements of all the defining cultural influences in New Mexican society into a cohesive and attractive whole.

Georgia O’Keeffe – Lake George Reflection 1921 – 22

The permanent holdings of the collection are devoted to the history of contemporary New Mexican art. They include the Cinco Pintores, Georgia O’Keefe, the Taos Society and Gustave Baumann. The museum also has an extensive collection of American photography and multimedia works.

It is a world class artistic institution that has been home to numerous travelling shows challenging exhibits on the nature and function of contemporary artistic representation and media, and a continuance of their mission to expand their holdings.

Few exhibits better represent the complex and continuing mission of the museum than that of their past show: “Hunting + Gathering: New Additions to the Museum’s Collection” that exhibited in 2015. It was an illuminating exhibit designed to educate visitors to the complexity of the roles of “museum” and “observer,” the duty to challenge as well as curate, and the necessity to adapt and evolve to a very changing cultural and academic landscape. Encompassing multiple forms, the exhibit highlights works of sculpture, photography, prints, textiles, painting and mixed media, and displays them in a way as to challenge the viewer.

“Classic” pieces such as Ansel Adams’ photographs and Gustave Baumann’s paintings are juxtaposed with more challenging items such as Barbara Diener’s hauntingly composed and staged photographs and Sarah Magnuson’s evocative structures made of butterfly wings preserved under glass. These contrasts help to define for the viewer the paradoxes and challenges apparent within the collection, and hopefully, present a cohesive whole greater than the sum of their parts. This cohesion is mirrored in the Pueblo Revival building that houses it.

Gustave Baumann - El Rito Canon

The New Mexico Museum of Art is a quick 5-minute drive or 10-minute walk from the Inn via Paseo de Peralta, a main thoroughfare on the north side of town. The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays 10am-5pm and welcomes visitors for free admission on Friday’s from 5-8pm, May through October, and the first Friday of the month, November through March.

Discover other amazing cultural offerings here in Santa Fe

Welcome back to better days!

This is Joe, the proud owner of the Inn on the Alameda. What has this past year been like? Well, kinda like waiting for Christmas, Chanukah, your birthday, and the 4th of July all rolled into one. You can add to it waiting for the bell to ring at the end of Algebra 3...

read more

The Nature Journal

Although I’ve kept a written journal for many years, after I moved to Santa Fe, a friend introduced me to what is usually called nature journaling. A nature journal is a kind of sketchbook and written journal. It’s a place for you to record observations made during...

read more
NM Artist Profiles – Gustave Baumann

NM Artist Profiles – Gustave Baumann

There’s no shortage of natural beauty to explore here in Santa Fe and in the neighboring Pecos Wilderness. But our region has much more to offer than just natural beauty, and we highly recommend exploring Santa Fe’s art museums while you are here, particularly the work of artists who lived and worked here. One such artist, Gustave Baumann, lived in Santa Fe for more than 50 years and became widely known and appreciated for his work in color woodblock prints.

Baumann was born in Germany, and his family emigrated to the U.S. in 1891 when he was ten years old. He studied engraving at the Art Institute of Chicago and eventually moved to New Mexico. He originally came for the art community in Taos, but he found it too crowded and social. On his way out of Taos, his train stopped in Santa Fe where the curator of the newly created New Mexico Museum of Art persuaded him to stay.

During his time in Santa Fe, Baumann became a well-known artist. He created oil paintings, sculptures and hand-crafted wood marionettes. He continued his early work with engraving and print making, and that was always what he was most known for. Baumann is considered one of the key leaders of the American color woodcut revival, an art technique that involves carving an image into the surface of a block of wood and then using it to make a print.

‘Aspen_Red_River’_by_Gustave_Baumann,_New_Mexico_Museum_of_Art

Baumann’s prints depict many of his favorite places in New Mexico. His work features desert landscapes and the regional traditions that inspired him, including scenes of Pueblo life, Native American Indian petroglyphs and lush private gardens. Many of Baumann’s works are on display in the permanent collection of the New Mexico Museum of Art, located just off the plaza in Santa Fe.

There are many ways to explore Santa Fe’s history and arts community. The excellent New Mexico Museum of Art and many other notable museums and galleries are a short walk from the Inn on the Alameda.

To learn more about all that Santa Fe has to offer, or for help planning your trip to Santa Fe, visit our website.

To learn more about all that Santa Fe has to offer, or for help planning your trip to Santa Fe

New Mexico History – Palace of the Governors

New Mexico History – Palace of the Governors

No trip to Santa Fe would be complete without a visit to the city’s famed historic Plaza, and we highly recommend making the historic Palace of the Governors part of your visit. The Spanish government built the Palace of the Governors in 1610 as the main government building for the territory, which included most of the Southwestern United States at that time. This coincided with the founding of Santa Fe, which makes it the oldest capital city in the country.

The Palace of the Governors has been used by various governments for hundreds of years, and is the oldest continuously occupied public building in the country. Today, the building is a National Historic Landmark and a designated national treasure. It houses the New Mexico History Museum and sits at the hub of modern Santa Fe life.

InnontheAlameda-dreamcatcher

On any given day, visitors may find cultural events, live music and art shows in the Santa Fe Plaza. One of the plaza’s greatest attractions is the Native American artisans who sell jewelry in the colonnade out in front of the Palace of the Governors daily. 

This is widely considered one of the best places to purchase Native American jewelry because you can find a genuine piece at a fair price.

Once inside the Palace of the Governors, you’ll find objects and artifacts of New Mexico and Santa Fe’s history. As you explore the museum’s collection, you will see ancient arrowheads, the armor of colonial soldiers and family artifacts from the earliest Spanish settlers. The museum offers free self-guided and docent-led tours as well as seasonal walking tours of the area for $10.

If you’re exploring the area on your own, you’ll find many boutiques, restaurants, art galleries and even more history to explore. Santa Fe’s Plaza and the Palace of the Governors are a short walk from the Inn on the Alameda, and the Palace itself is a great way to spend part of a day in Santa Fe.

800px-Palace_of_the_Governors_and_Our_Lady_of_Victory_Procession,_Santa_Fe,_New_Mexico

We hope this has piqued your interest in Santa Fe’s colorful history.

To learn more about all that Santa Fe has to offer, or for help planning your trip to Santa Fe

BOOK NOW