Saturday, August 6, 2011

So, I Shall Go There--New Mexico!

San Miguel Mission, Santa Fe (8" x 8", oil on artists' board), Image © 2011 Melinda S. Esparza

The Good, the bad, the spectacular news.

What do you do when you've planned an artist's retreat for months, only to have it all fall apart due to illness?

We have choices, don't we? We can scrap everything. We can use we what we've learned through mindful meditation. We can redeem some portion of any time available.

This is what I did.

I left for New Mexico last July 28th, hoping to spend one night in Albuquerque and then on to stay for eleven days at the Gallina Canyon Ranch north of Abiquiu. Yes, that Abiquiu made famous by Georgia O'Keeffe. I packed everything, including all of my food and large canvases, pochades and palette tools.

Some kind of food borne illness got to me before I could get to Santa Fe.

There is so much that happened that I can't really write it all. Yet, I would like to say 'Thank you' to Elizabeth, one of the owners, and David, ranch employee, for more kindness, help and generosity than I would ever have expected from people I have never met. I would highly recommend traveling there because of the incredible beauty, but mostly for their beautiful spirits.

Enchanted by Juniper (8" x 8", oil on artists' board), Image © 2011 Melinda S. Esparza

I let go of my plans, got well in Santa Fe, and decided that taking over 400 photos from the car would redeem some of what I had lost.

wearing my purple huaraches, Image © 2011 Melinda S. Esparza

It was a proud moment standing at the entrance to the Ghost Ranch, turning to view the Pedernal that is now iconic as a result of O'Keeffe's work. I cried when I made it one mile onto the road that led to the ranch.

Something amazing happened while I was recovering in Santa Fe.

My son sent me a text that a packet had arrived from Flagstaff, AZ--not the usual rejection letter that an artist can receive in the mail after a submission...but a large envelope. Should he open it?

The spectacular news: I've been accepted as next summer's visual Artist-in-Residence at the Grand Canyon...for three apartment on the rim...with a studio. Did I mention it would be for three weeks?

I'm kind of speechless.

P. S. Two days after I returned home, our vehicle's power steering belt jumped off its pulley. This could have happened two hours from Santa Fe, in the middle of the wilderness. It could have blown the engine, because the belt also drives the water pump. I accept that circumstances change and letting go can reveal the reasons later. I am grateful.

The Road to Ghost Ranch, NM Image © 2011 Melinda S. Esparza


cohen labelle said...

Melinda this is fabulous news and a fabulous opportunity!!!
I’m overjoyed for you. You are certainly an inspiration to me every time I visit your blog and read your beautiful thoughts and work – your work never fails to touch me on a profound level and your good news is an indication of how much you have to offer as artist in residence next summer at Grand Canyon studio! Lucky people who will come into contact with you!!!

xo Marcia

Melinda said...

Dear Marcia,
Your kind words and enthusiastic comment fills my head and heart with a little more confidence to keep going.

What you and I want is to connect with others and touch their hearts with shape, color and an energy we transfer into paint, isn't it? When we do, it is a completion.

Thank you so much. It is my hope that I can be a good part of the Canyon experience for the visitors next year.

Hugs to you! I love where you are going with your work.

kathrynlaw said...

Wowee kaZOWEE!! This is so fantastic, and so well-deserved! They're gonna be so lucky to have you there, presenting your wonderfulness to all who are fortunate enough to cross your path. It's a perfect fit, your work and that unearthly-beautiful place. Huge hugs of congratulations!

Jeane Myers said...

life's long tangled fingers reaching in and pulling the most unexpected rabbits out of the hat - ugh for being sick and many harrays for being able to let go and recieve the other side of your expectations - thrilled for you and your residencey - life is good xo

Melinda said...

Hello, dear Kathryn! I wish you were here so we could do an artist's happy dance together. This is way cool It hasn't really sunk in yet.

Thank you for sharing in it. I do hope that I will fit in and do good work there. It's overwhelming.

I could see you there doing great work.

Hugs back atcha!

Melinda said...

Thank you, Jeane!
You're absolutely correct about "life's long tangled fingers."

And so, we also are sometimes able to grab victory from the jaws of defeat and at least mitigate tough times.

Don't we do this daily with our art?!

Virtual hugs!

Barbara Muir said...

Dear Melinda,

My heart sank when I read about the food borne illness thwarting your plans. And then I rejoiced hearing your good news. How absolutely wonderful and completely deserved. These two paintings astound me. And the photo of you is lovely. I am just back from my travels. Your words, paintings and photos are heartening and inspiring. Congratulations, and I hope you feel much better.


Donald Diddams said...

I was ready to exclaim about the beauty of the San Miguel Mission painting, and then read the rest! Who-ieeee, what excitement. You may have missed one beautiful experience, but did better than just making do, and now have been chosen for another. Congratulations!!
Sometimes things do happen for a reason... we just need the patience to discern what it is.

Edgar said...

Woo to tha hoo. I am so happy for you, for your overcoming, and for your selection.

You'll know what I mean when I say that I am leery of the Cult of O'Keefe. But you embody so much of her steely-eyed dedication, I am confident that Miz O'Keefe would be proud of who you are and what you have achieved.

Keep climbing, Melinda. The view will be worth it.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful images!

Melinda said...

Thank you, dear Barbara!
I've had you on my mind as I read about your travels. I'm so glad that you had a wonderful time without any upsets. Much better than last year, yes?

So glad you like the paintings. The one of San Miguel Mission was started in our hotel room. I was very ill, but very determined.

Virtual hugs to you and your!

Melinda said...

Thank you, Donald. You always seem to get right to the heart of the matter. I agree. It was an enchanted experience with lessons to be learned and remembered.

That we have a choice in how we view and respond to altered plans was the greatest lesson for me.

Thank you. Your comments are always welcomed here!

Melinda said...

Hi Andressa,
Thank you! And, welcome.
Hope you'll stop by again.

Melinda said...

Thank you, Edgar!
You really worked your tuckus off to get us home safely.

Yes, I know what you mean about the "cult of O'Keeffe." There was a moment a few years ago when I was not admiring her work because of certain elements. However, after more consideration and visiting the region, it is clear that she was an astonishing painter.

I'll keep climbing. I'll keep sharpening the steely eye as best I can. You do the same, okay?

Anonymous said...

Three weeks as Artist in Residence at the Grand Canyon!!! FANTASTIC! Of course they accepted you; you are just the artist to paint that terrain in an unconventional way. Twenty one days of uninterrupted time to contemplate and create. What a dream. Congrats!

Melinda said...

Hello, dear Silvina!
It's so great to see you online again.

Thank you! Yeah, it's way over the top exciting for me. I am deeply honored to have been selected. Humbled, too.

It is a dream come true.

I hope all your dreams come true with your art as well!

Anonymous said...

Holy smokes Melinda!!! What a huge honor and opportunity. Having gone to school in Flagstaff, I have done quite a bit of hiking in the Canyon - it is truly inspiring. Plus, this is something that is a really big deal and will be picked up by news media around the state. Congratulations!!! And way to go on dealing with what happens to come your way; the painting is WOW.
-- Nancy

Jeffrey J. Boron said...

Congratulations Melinda, yipeeeeeeeee!!!

Now when you are all packed and ready to go don't eat anything till you are there...comprende!!!


Melinda said...

Hello Nancy,
Yes! Holy Smokes is right. I'm still in amazement. We'll see how things go. It is a year away, so I have lots of time to prepare and think about an approach. It is overwhelmingly exciting at this point.

Thank you so much for your enthusiastic comment. It means a great deal to me.

Any tips on being at the Canyon would be most appreciated.

Virtual hugs!

Melinda said...

Thank you, Jeffrey!
Je vous comprends très bien. :-) And, I am in total agreement.

That is just what the ranch owners advised as well!

Your encouragement means so much to me.

Virtual hugs to you too...

Anonymous said...

Glad you recovered and congrats on your news. I'm so envious. Three weeks at the Grand Canyon! Wow, what could be better? High expectations - no pressure. Love the first painting looking up at the mission. Not easy to do that.

Linny D. Vine said...

I'm HaPpY dancing for you, Magical Melinda!!! WOW - what an adventure and these paintings and your are beautiful!!! Wouldn't I love to visit your while you're in res...
(Glad to know that you're healthy, happy and home safe, too...)

Melinda said...

Whoo-hoo, Linny! I can hear the music from here.

Love how creative you are with paint and letters.

Yes! I would love it if you could visit the Canyon while I'm there. That would be so fantastic. We could dance on the Rim and paint up a storm.

Thank you for your kind words and well wishes. You are an inspiration to me!

Martha Marshall said...

What fantastic news! That was such a nice surprise after your road adventures.

I'm glad you were able to salvage something positive out of your trip. What a beautiful, magical place it must be.

Melinda said...

Hello Martha,
Thank you!!

Like some paintings, we sometimes need to scrape, realign and salvage the materials, right?

It is an astonishing place--Abiquiu and all of New Mexico. There is a strong personality, energy, spirituality and serendipity everywhere there!

I'm so glad that art is healing AND a teacher.

Your work is wonderful and I hope all goes well with you and yours.

laura said...

Congratulations, Melinda. Wow--what a spectacular three weeks that will be. I've never been to the Grand Canyon and look forward to seeing it in your art!

Melinda said...

Thank you, Laura!
I'm hoping it will be as magical as New Mexico and without too many glitches.