Cork Storage

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

If you're ever wondering what to do with all those corks from all those wines you've been sampling here's a suggestion. The only problem is finding this cool container. This one is in St. Emillion, France. The other country I've seen them is in Italy. However, they were using them for a different purpose. These bottles originally contained wine, and the Italians would break the neck off (once the wine was gone), turn it over and use it as a lamp on the posts along a driveway. I thought it was a terribly clever way to recycle. Just imagine the amount of wine you would have to drink if you had a long driveway!
"Cork Storage" © Kathy Dunham 2008


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

When designing a new painting I turn to nature for inspiration. While I was in Santa Fe last week, I looked out the window and spotted these unique flowers growing at the neighbor's house. I haven't identified them yet, but snapped several photos from a variety of angles. I love to find different compositions within an image and when I first saw these I didn't initially think they would work in a painting. But their delicate stamens in the light, contrasted against the dark background, spoke to me. I just had to record the dramatic image for the pure pleasure of the moment.

It wasn't until I was sharing these images with my photographer friend Randy Bernardi and his wife Pat that the possible painting presented itself. I had zoomed in to show them the stamens and Pat spotted the beauty in the close up detail. Thank you Pat. I'll do my best to make the painting live up to your expectations.
"Reach Up" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Lady in Red

Monday, July 28, 2008

Three years ago, as I was recovering from cancer, I turned to mosaics as a form of therapy. Three great friends; Patty, Linda, Mimi and myself met each Monday morning to learn how to break plates and glue them to any shape, form or pot we found at the local thrift store. We weren't very good at first, but as time went by and I recovered from my surgery, radiation and chemo treatments, we continued to meet, improve our skills and enjoyed each other's company. These three gals were the best therapy I could have had. And they didn't even mind looking at my bald head. In fact, it was Linda who took the clippers and cut my hair all off before I looked like a molting bear. Now that's a friend!!!

The hair has grown back, I'm back to painting, our mosaics are at a professional level now and I've just finished this female torso I call "Lady in Red". My cancer is gone and I'm feeling pretty good. But having friends who care; who you can share a good laugh with; who will take you to the doctor and remember what he told you when you were too stressed to remember; and be there whenever you ask, are treasures in life not all of us have. I'm very fortunate to be rich in friends. I wouldn't want it any other way!

Long Ride Home

Sunday, July 27, 2008
I said my farewells and boarded the train for the trip back to the California desert I call home. The last time I took a long distance train trip was as a child when I visited my grandmother in San Francisco. My best friend would join me on the trip and visit her aunt. It was quite an adventure being allowed to take the 180 mile train trip by ourselves. This was a time when it was safe to let young adults travel alone. The conductor secretly kept an eye on us and we felt like we were adults making a journey to a far away land. Oh what memories!

Train travel is making a comeback since the price of gas has soared. It's a wonderful way to see America. You can get up and walk around, eat in the dining car, enjoy the views from the observation car, relish all the leg room and wide seats. It sure beats fighting traffic and driving fatigue.

Spanish Market

Friday, July 25, 2008

Today is the start of Santa Fe's Spanish Market. An annual tradition, this event brings visitors and shoppers looking to savor or purchase a treasure reminiscent of the Spanish Colonial days in this area. Santos, retablos, bultos, colcha embroidery, tin work and hand carved furniture are all offered for the prudent collector. The entire town participates. Stores display Spanish items in their windows, musicians play typical Spanish music and of course the food. New Mexico grows some wonderful chiles used in the great dishes indigenous to the area. You will find the mix of Spanish and Native American cuisine a treat to the palate.

I only wish I wasn't leaving tomorrow. I enjoy experiencing new and exciting adventures and there is enough here in Santa Fe to keep one busy for a long while. I'll be back. I've had a great time thanks to my wonderful hosts John and Thea Farnsworth. If you're ever in Santa Fe, stop in the Farnsworth Gallery at 716 Canyon Road and say hi. Better yet, take home one of John's beautiful painings. You can see more of his work at

Santa Fe Colors

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Santa Fe is rich in history but for an artist like me it is also rich in color. Everywhere you turn, from the glorious colors of the sunrises and sunsets to the turquoise trims on the houses, it is a veritable feast. As I was walking the streets of downtown Santa Fe, every shop window was a delight to the eye. Galleries with their paintings, ceramics and jewelry. Clothing shops filled with a unique style so indigenous to this area screaming to be purchased. And Native American Indians sitting on their colorful blankets under the portales of the Governor's Palace remind us that this is the oldest seat of government in the United States.

I love flowers and the colors they add to our lives was evident in the "art district" along Canyon Road. Sunflowers, petunias, marigolds and hollyhocks are just a few of the touches of color Mother Nature painted with her palette. White ones, pink ones, red ones and all the colors in between. They grow here like weeds, along the roadsides and in gardens. It's a long way from their origins in the Ottoman Empire.

Santa Fe Hollyhocks
Kathy Dunham 2008

A Sunny Day In Santa Fe

I've been in Santa Fe for four days now and the feeling one gets being an artist in this mecca of artists is hard to describe to the outside world. I'm staying with fellow artist John Farnsworth and his wife Thea and through their insights am seeing this wonderful city through unique eyes.

John is a fantastic artist, photographer and purveyor of knowledge. He will be joining me on my workshop in the Dordogne Region of France next May. It will be exciting to share our skills with those who will be accompanying us (to learn more go to

Yesterday we drove to Albuquerque to see the Blumenschein Exhibit at the Albuquerque Museum. Ernest Blumenschein along with Bert Phillips were responsible for the start of the Taos Art Movement. I had only seen a few pieces of his works at various other museums but this exhibit was spectacular. If you visit this area soon, I'd put this on my "must see" list.

On our drive home in the dwindling evening light through the lush, yes lush, countryside north of the city and near the Rio Grande River, we spotted beautiful cloud formations over the Sandia Mountains unlike those I usually see in the Southern California desert where I live. They were turning the most awesome color I've ever seen. Like a cross between a peach and a watermelon. John told me that "Sandia" means watermelon and the mountains got that name because of the color they turn at sunset. I was not disappointed.