Yesterday I took a day trip over the New Mexico line to the Rio Costilla Studio Tour. This tour was for the towns of Jaroso (CO), Costilla, and Amalia, NM. I love studio tours--at least for a few hours. I always have hope that I will find the most wonderful undiscovered artist living in some enchanting studio in a little town in backwoods New Mexico. Studio tours are kind of what New Mexico art is all about to me. There are artists tucked into every corner of the state, living in all kinds of places, making art under all sorts of circumstances. Regardless of the circumstances under which these artists are working, the inspiration for me is that they are actually DOING the art that they love.
I saw some wonderful ceramic art along with functional pottery (like mugs that fit into your hand like they were made for you), found some gluten free bread in a kitchen full of bread I was sure I wasn't going to be able to eat, and saw Randy Pijoan's studio. Randy is certainly NOT one of those undiscovered artists, but seeing his studio in person was inspiring to say the least. Now, if you haven't seen the painting of Randy Pijoan, look him up. His work has a depth that makes you feel you have touched something essential in life. I could have stayed in his studio all day looking at those paintings. And besides painting, he runs a non-profit called Ventero Open Press which benefits art in these small communities, especially art for kids.
Randy's studio is in Amalia, NM. Amalia is one of those rural NM towns nestled in a river valley full of old adobes and cottonwood trees. It is one of those sleepy artsy towns that makes me want to move there immediately--especially if I can find one of those adobes in which to set up my weaving studio. We drove through Amalia and up to the Valle Vidal for some hiking. The Valle Vidal is an amazing caldera of open meadow ringed with pine trees, streams running throughout. After the dogs chased some cows and we had had enough walking, we drove the "back way" through Ventero, past San Francisco--towns I didn't even know existed until yesterday...
It was a stellar day.