Art

Awash in color

Taos Art Museum celebrates artistic tiles and watercolor works for Mother's Day weekend

By Tamra Testerman
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 5/8/19

If you're looking for creative inspiration this Mother's Day weekend, Taos Art Museum at Fechin House Museum Store's Meet the Artist series will feature the alcohol ink on ceramic …

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Art

Awash in color

Taos Art Museum celebrates artistic tiles and watercolor works for Mother's Day weekend

Posted

If you're looking for creative inspiration this Mother's Day weekend, Taos Art Museum at Fechin House Museum Store's Meet the Artist series will feature the alcohol ink on ceramic tile work of Taos artist Debra Piedrafita on Saturday (May 11) from noon until 4 p.m. in the Fechin Studio.

Later, at 6 p.m., there will be an opening reception for an exhibit of artwork by members of the Taos Watercolor Society slated to continue through June 23. This event features a living tribute and presentation by the society to one of its esteemed founding members.

Piedrafita discovered Taos in 1989 while she was a traveling nurse for the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque. She said she spent a magical Christmas Eve and Christmas Day here. "Snow softly falling on the drive up, a lovely room at Casa Benavides, a delicious and fun dinner with some fellow travelers, the plaza with the soft light of the farolitos reflected by the snow, the wonder of the Deer Dance at the Pueblo. I was hooked. I returned many times through the years and always left with something special -- a profound conversation, an unbelievable sunset, exposure to the beautiful ancient celebrations of the pueblo, a new friend."

She will be displaying paintings on ceramic tile with a medium called alcohol ink. It is a lesser known variety of ink that is used on nonporous surfaces. She said she paints on glazed ceramic tile, although she's used glass, Yupo paper or canvas in the past.

"I was introduced to the medium by my mother who had seen a demonstration on television," Piedrafita said. "She bought the supplies, and we had art night around her kitchen table. It was fascinating to see how the inks interacted with one another on the surface of the tile. As I kept experimenting, the inks became more predictable, although I still can't always anticipate how they will react to one another. Even though my efforts are more intentional now, representing abstractions of landscape, I still enjoy the happy surprises that result. The small format and rapid drying time keep it light and fun."

Piedrafita said her medical background as a nurse practitioner, showed her "there are many paths to healing. I think creativity is a powerful path that takes many forms. Providing care for patients requires deep listening, creative problem solving, effective communication, being able to see the whole picture. It involves an intimate involvement with the human condition - the reality that life is unpredictable and finite."

Creating a piece of artwork is a way to reflect inner landscapes and to celebrate the mysterious and fleeting beauty of life, she stated. "It can also be a form of relaxing meditation, requiring nothing more than paying attention to what is being created in that moment."

She said she hopes people who come to the show will "enjoy seeing a variety of bright, original, small format paintings done in this unusual medium and leave the show happier than when they arrived. Maybe they will also be inspired to find an accessible creative outlet that appeals to them."

Meanwhile, Taos Watercolor Society President Diana Smith said the group will be paying "a living tribute to our long-time member and master watercolorist Bob Cooley. who has been with the society since it began in 1992. We'll be presenting him with a framed letter expressing our gratitude, and his work will occupy the large easel in the studio. The Fechin Studio is hallowed ground and a mecca for people who know art history and Western artists. We feel fortunate to have been invited to exhibit there."

Cooley has a career in the arts that spans 68 years, beginning with graphic arts and advertising in Chicago. He continues to produce watercolors, oils, and wood and clay sculptures.

Signature members of the society participating in the show with a variety of work are Bob Cooley, Jinx Wright, Karen McCurtain Blair, Linda Grams Henderson, Carol Doughty, Diana Smith, Bren Price, Diane Nelson-Scott, Lonnie Shan, Diane Binder, Marilyn Price Reinbolt, Cher McMacken, Jennifer Ortega and Gayle Weisfield.

The venue is located at 227 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Taos.

Both events are free to the public. For more information, contact Taos Art Museum at Fechin House at (575) 758-2690, ext. 106 or visit the museum's website at taosartmuseum.org.

Note: The Taos Watercolor Society is exhibiting the work of their signature members in a second venue in Taos simultaneously. At the Taos Visitors Center, a reception for their new show featuring a good dozen artists takes place on Friday (May 10) from 4-6 p.m. The event is free, the artwork is for sale and the show is ongoing until June 28, with daily hours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Taos Visitors Center is located at 1139 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, Taos.

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