Skip to main content

On Madrid, New Mexico

About a half hour drive south of Santa Fe, Madrid is an old mining town that still consists of a single winding street lined with old wooden cabins and small houses:

After the mines closed, Madrid became a ghost town for a while, before being revived by artists, gallerists, musicians, and assorted eccentrics. This ceramic totem outside one house gives you a flavour:

We were there to see John McNair, Patty's nephew-who-is-four-months-younger-than-me, play with his band at a place called The Mineshaft. The band is called The Family Coal, and if you click on that name you'll go to their website. That's Johnny, below, with the shades and the white shirt, playing the mandolin and looking every inch the folk-roots god that he is:

The Mine Shaft Tavern used to be, believe it or not, a mine. It's built around all the detritus and left-over paraphernalia of a mining operation, such as boardwalks leading into the hill sides, odd bits of machinery, and a giant steam locomotive in the back yard:
Art, music, good beer, a town with a fascinating past, and a breeze bowing the heads of the bushes cascading down the sides of the hills: it was a good way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

 Subscribe to Praeterita in a reader


Popular posts from this blog

Brancusi in Plastic

Artist Mary Ellen Croteau is showing these columns made from recycled plastic cartons and lids in the window of the Columbia College bookstore on Michigan Avenue. They are a playful homage to Brancusi's "Endless Columns", with a serious environmental message for our times:

Mary Ellen also runs a wonderful experimental art gallery in a window space in west Chicago, called Art on Armitage. I will be exhibiting a mixed media piece there during August 2012.

How to etch a linoleum block

Linoleum as a material for printmaking has been used for nearly a hundred years now. Normally, you cut an image out using special gouges similar to woodcut tools, cutting away the lino around the image you want to print. This is called relief printmaking, because if you look at the block from the side, the material that remains stands up in relief from the backing material. You then roll ink with a brayer over the surface of the block, place paper over it, and either print by hand or run it through a press. You can do complex things this way (for example, reduction linocuts), but the beauty of the process is that it is quick, simple, and direct.

A few years ago, I saw some prints that were classified as coming from etched linoleum blocks, and I loved the textures I saw in them. In the last few months, I've been trying to use this technique in my own studio, learning about it as one does these days from websites and YouTube videos. I've also had email exchanges with several pr…

Me Talking About Alexander Calder

In the first years of this blog, in 2010-2011, I created a series of 100 short illustrated talks on art that I called Meditations on Art. There is a page on this blog linking to a complete playlist. I remember, about a year after I completed the series, checking in via YouTube and seeing that one of them had passed 1,000 views. An insignificant number compared to your average viral cat video, of course, but considering I made these little videos mostly for my own amusement, it still amazed me that one of them would get 1,000 clicks (whether they were purposeful or accidental).

Well, I just looked at the stats again, and I am amazed to find that one of these videos, the Meditation on Alexander Calder, has now surpassed 18,000 views. Here it is: