Tag Archives: artist

Happy Holidays!! — ART retreat & Adventure

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Happy Holidays!! to ART & Adventure

As the end of 2014 draws closer to Solstice and the days so dark I find my voice on this blog after a long hiatus.   A resolution to bring it alive in 2015.   A toast to new adventures in art and travel and living beyond my zone of comfort.  In all things.  Lions and tigers and bears oh my!!  And all that jazz.

I went camping in Big Bend National Park over Thanksgiving.  A solo 1,400 mile round trip road trip from Santa Fe in my trusty white subaru.  It was all good –from the colorful pink garden courtyards and pink patio of  Eve’s Garden Bed & Breakfast in Marathon (after a very uninspiring drive from Carlsbad, NM to Fort Stockton, TX) to the gathering of Javelinas around my tent on that first morning at Cottonwood campground.  Apparently they like to graze.  Docile animals. Thank you.  The park is long on vistas and fantastic hiking and Ocotillo.  A highlight was the natural hot springs beside the Rio Grande in the Hot Spring Historic District and that rowboat to Boquillas, Mexcio.  So glad I brought my passport.  I will long remember the color of green.  Lime.  And in the glory of the moment walked right past customs until reminded by a friendly voice “señora. . .”  Here are a few images to bring you closer to my experience, including the chairs in the church above:

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I am a visual artist.  I collect vintage linens and barbed wire and abstract domesticity in a variety of ways.  I am an explorer and adventurer of spirit and okay– an occasional poet.  I have journals under the bed from when I began writing them at 14 (years old) –a long time ago.  Trust me. All those words.  All those feelings pushing their way forward.  Not on the most direct route but on a path none-the-less.  Which brings me to present.  Time. Not in the way of Santa down the chimney put it in my Christmas stocking but maybe it’s the same.  Present time.  All wrapped up in ribbon.  I do love them.  Presents.  Such joy in the gift.  A gracious acceptance and childlike innocence in finding something at your grown up door or mailbox or a card from a friend of long ago.  Thank you.

And so it comes to this.  I am artist who works primarily as  Girl Friday/Personal Assistant.  Walk the dog, carry the books up three flights to storage, run an errand, pick up the mail, check the house, rack the leaves, document your estate, pick up a prescription and a bag of chocolates, etc.  Whatever it takes to earn the rent.  That’s me.  I don’t mind and I’m grateful. Truly.  But at some point I fall away.  The art undone.  The path disjointed.  Too much time passing.   I wake unsure of the day of the week or date or the obligation and remind myself it is Thursday, focus. Etc.  And so I create an artist retreat for this artist occasional poet person that is me and here I am putting it out for donation.  For support.  A request.

I am driving nearly 1400 miles (one-way) from Santa Fe to the Florida Panhandle to spend the month of January in a retreat to art.  Off-season exploration.  A new foray.  A structure of unobstructed creativity.  Goals with a bike on top of a car with 183,000 miles (go Subaru!!).  Bringing the title just in case.  Pack my new & basic Janome sewing machine.  I’m just learning.  My recycled linens and barbed wire, and photographs, and thread.  It is my intention to make 100 or 1000 6″x8″ linen pockets (stay tuned).  To stitch and stuff and blog about it here.  Dangling threads. Primitive.  Unexplored and sometimes the unknown is the only way.  Through. With scissors and bobbin and heart.  And sandy feet and eyes wide open from the emerald shores of winter.

 2014-11-04 13.32.26 20141215_161421 Artmatters

If you’ve stayed with me this far I have a final request.  An opportunity.  For all.  In the past month I have opened my studio for the holidays in the spirit of invitation and show and tell.  I am subletting my one room casita to help finance my retreat (it just fell through but I have faith) and I could still use a little gas money despite the drop in prices.  Thank you.  A little help for the time not working.  For the just in case.  For the return. For the inspiration and leap of faith.  For the belief that art matters.  And so I ask for your support and donation.   Think of it as an exchange.  A gift that goes both ways.

  • For any donation of $25 or more I will send you a hand-made artist card
  • For any donation of $100 or more I will send you an original 11″x14″ matted print ready for framing
  • For any donation of $200 or more (if you have deep pockets of generosity) I will send you one of my 12″x12″ painterly photographs

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Paypal is preferred.  Please include your correct mailing address.  I have included a link below but can be found here to dreamcafe943@yahoo.com.  If you prefer to mail a check you can send it to Brenda Roper 991 1/2 Don Manuel Street #B, Santa Fe, NM 87505.  Gifts will be sent as received.  If I am out of stock (due to travel) fulfillment will be made upon my return to Santa Fe in February.  If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me.  Thank you forever and in advance.

Happy Holidays and best for a joyful 2015!!


Posted in Artist retreat, Brenda Roper, Studio Art, Travel Also tagged , , , , , |

Election Day: a walk to the polls

Election night after one of the most beautiful fall days in Santa Fe.  The first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.  2012.  Only one week ago Superstorm Sandy pummels the east coast and today New York votes Obama.  A million people still without power.  Is that possible?  The results are rolling in.  From East to West.  Florida and Ohio too close to call.  People still standing in line as the count rolls across the Mississippi.  NBC is calling Obama.  NPR too soon to tell.  The polls still open in Alaska though we all know where that will go.  . .Texas, Wyoming, North & South Dakota.  And how any woman can cast a vote for the Republican candidate is beyond me but still some do.

I am amazed at how close and opposing this country can be.  Do not insert here my opinion on how the 2nd time Bush was elected (excuse me as I clear my throat –I mean “stole” the election) . . .  Too much too easy too little choice.   Take the money out of the campaign.  Still the process is processing.  Hope is the new revival.  The votes are being tallied.  The good volunteers at election central earnest and friendly and helpful as they direct me to the 47 Precinct table where I give my name and it is found and I sign at the number indicated.  The ballot is given with easy to understand instructions as I’m directed to the booth in the corner.  No curtain.  No TSA asking for my photo ID.  I keep my shoes on.  Bottle water is permitted.  No x-ray when I pick up the pen and shade in the oval –all the ovals — regressing to kindergarten I try (really hard) to stay within the lines.  No one rushes.  No line out the door.  Only a sunflower at the fence and a man handing me  I voted  sticker when I slide my ballot into the machine.

It is a lovely walk.  Everything is yellow.  Brass like a trumpet blasting hope up the scales and back.  In tune.  I buy a donut in celebration.  Thrilled to walk home just around the block.  I love my neighborhood.  No interference.  Sunshine and silence.  Not even 8am. A man walks his dog.  Yesterday I had a red head moment all juicy and bold but really I’m a blonde.  Not the dumb kind.  But the midwest good girl believe in the possible.  I set aside my own cynicism and the visible violent bully militant mentality too prevalent in this America to ride a wave of hopefulness on this election day.



Brenda is a socialist at heart and an artist currently living at El Zaguan, the oldest artist colony on Canyon Road.  Today she cast her vote for Obama.  This weekend her art was one of 32 works featured in the Juried Exhibit at Recycle Santa Fe where she met some very nice people and helped sell the #1 juried piece (very cool) to a very excited patron.  It was all very sweet.  The focus on reduce/reuse/recycle a lesson to carry inside and outside the home and studio.

 Go ART.  Go Obama.  Go well into this good election night.




Posted in Studio Art Also tagged , , , |

Sipping Gruet champagne (keeping it local) & Contemplating Artful & Other Goals for the New Year –!

Happy New Year! Christmas

Spent most of today working on a grant application with a deadline of tomorrow.  December 31st.   To a feminist fund that supports writers and visual artists.  It cost $20 to apply but that seems okay since it goes to support other women, in the event I am not a contender.  And so I follow the guidelines:  fill out the application, write a project description, a budget, an outline of the images I’ve included on a CD that goes before the resume. . .in that order or your application will be thrown out.  I read it at least three times.  Probably five.  If you are submitting a fiction manuscript you need three sets of everything collated in the proper order, but as a visual artist you only need one set.  Really?  I read it again.  Only four (4) images.  On one CD.  Only one collated set with an extra application and check.  Okay.  I think it is correct.  Sheesh.  Hate to get thrown out on the basis of a technicality before the review process even begins.  Still I doubt myself as I walk the steps to the post office.  Though my envelope already has the priority stamp I want to see it postmarked.  And so I have taken action.  I am a little bit proud of myself though know if I slept on it I would be mailing off an edited version.  Maybe better or not.  I find it difficult to separate my life from the project –to propose a perfect balance sheet.  My art crosses boundaries and bends into the past and the future and has already hung on a wall and maybe one piece will join another.  To me this is on-going. 

SculptureI include an image from 2006 to show that I know how to do this –what I propose.  To give them an example of the art to come.  They tell us not to send work of past projects.  I do anyway.   I like to recycle.  It is part of the story.  This may be my only story.  Pages and pages.  I am somewhere beyond the beginning and who knows how close to the end –this is important to them.  For the purpose of funding.  Okay.  Art is a process.  But at the end of this day I gave it my best.  Cheers!  Check is in the mail. 

And tonight the beginning of the weekend celebration of the New Year turning to 2012  I contemplate making lists of what’s next and where to go from here.  This moment.  The day job.  The wonderful apartment I can’t really afford with my current income.  The high mountain desert town with art but no water.  No mosquitoes.  A place where I sit under the portal and read a book and never swat a bug.  But is it my place?  Do I even have a place?  Doesn’t everyone?  I’ve been reading “the Introvert Advantage” –it is interesting but at times it feels like I have a disease instead of a state of being.  I take this into account at the end of this calendar year.  Of how to move forward on a path that is my path.  One where I can breathe and be safe and be bold and say no to those that I need to say no to and say yes to those that might ask.  I recently came across a blog that offered 30 challenges for 30 days of growth.  I highlighted a few:

  • Dedicate an hour a day to something you are passionate about:  hmmm –writing I think but with a specific focus not just a journal or blog.  Always wanted to take a headline from the news as a starting point. . .maybe, or get out my Spanish workbooks and tackle a language I long to know beyond “hola, Buenos dias”
  • Create something brand new in 30 days or less:  this one has to be the website/blog I keep thinking about.  Download Photocrati and get through the learning curve.  Just do it. 
  • Read one chapter of a good book every day –this one is pretty easy though the definition of “good” is relative.
  • Spend 10 minutes every evening reflecting on what went well –I love this one.  An opportunity to turn on some music and crawl into a yoga restorative pose.  10 minutes might not be long enough.
  • Pay down debt and don’t create any new debt for 30 days –I hate to even have this one on the list since I’m usually one of those people who pay off their credit cards every month but it’s been tough to catch up after the self-induced non-paid art and language in Mexico sabbatical of my own creation last winter.  Though faithfully whittling away, in very small increments, a loan from a generous sister I didn’t expect the Visa to be like a noose 10 months later –the student loan has become an appendage.  It’s okay.  I’m positive.
  • Document every day with one photograph and one paragraph:  this one sounds like too much fun.  Great blog or journal action.
  • Let go of one relationship that constantly hurts you:  this is the hardest one for me.  I think I did this once and here I am again.  Déjà vu. 


At the end of the day –at the end of the year may you light your own candle –for love and forgiveness and take action and welcome joy into your world. 

Our world will only be better because of it. 

Posted in Studio Art, Uncategorized Also tagged , , , , |

Inspiration & how dresses find me



Dear Hilda

I am inspired by little girl dresses.  White little girl dresses.  On a hanger or pinned with a single red pin to a gallery wall.  Aloft.  Ephemeral.   White on white.  Simple confirmation or a nightshirt with the tag Hilda sewn on the inside. So intimate suddenly.  Who is Hilda?  I remember worrying –how would Hilda feel, or her mother, if she could see what I turned the dress into?   A story now on view.  Not her own, or maybe.  Do I leave the tag or take it out?  From a thrift store in Baltimore.  I liked it in –something holocaust about that name (in my mind) –giving “it” more weight.   I’ve reworked it finally into the life intended.  From a bedroom wall on Bolton Street to the IGCA in Anchorage to Original Innocence (2010) at El Zaguan in Santa Fe.  On canvas with a silver chain like a girl scout badge of honor, and I think I will call her “Dear Hilda” having decided 6 years later to finally tear out the tag. Thank you. 


All Spice (aka Betty June) --love you mom

And how dresses find me.  Art.  An old pink tulle prom dress from Hope, NJ on a trip to visit a friend one October.  That piece (sculpture) made it into the Anchorage Museum of Art & History.  A friend bought it for $100 when I left Alaska.  It is about my perception of my mother’s life.  Her choices.  A toolbox filled with spices and domestic things: sewing and gloves and a vintage pair of nylons.  A pacifier.  Her hopes and dreams what were they?  About choices. Now people give them to me.  A brown christening dress I painted back to white (Thank you Bethany). Doilies too.  But it is the dresses that inspire most.  In the beginning I starched them with wallpaper paste and hung them on a clothesline –collaboration with friends.  I hung one from a tree in Bootleggers Cove  much to the chagrin of my neighbor.  He asked me to take it down.  I asked him to take down his flag (not really, but I wanted to). He was a bit of a curmudgeon.  I left it up for a few days. . .and some on canvas too, and now, and still.  One has a condom sewn into the throat. Another on the cover of Calyx, a journal of art & literature for women www.calyxpress.org (Volume 25, No. 2).


No More Secrets 2

A woman surmises, after some contemplation “. . .that is what happens when the condom breaks. . .”  I like that she shared.  A christening dress, she said. Thought about it –appreciated the work enough to pause in the gallery.  Though my intention may be different or on such a subconscious level that it is difficult to explain –but that’s okay.  That is art –visual articulation.  I get it but struggle if I have to explain outright.  Some get it mmediately. Thank you. That is validating.  You know who you are.

dressesA few weeks ago a friend brought me her mother’s wedding dress.  A lovely piece.  She tells me you can do whatever you want with it.  I ask, do you care if I cut it up, just to be sure though I probably won’t.  Well if you do she says, please send me a piece. . .like a lock of hair I think, and suddenly more attached than she realized. She tries it on.  They are beautiful together. I take photos.  We laugh.  A swirling glow of white wedding mom memory handed down to daughter dancing in the studio.   Afterwards I hang it for observation, for inspiration –in the corner where the other dresses live.  Next to the waterbottle collection.

 But it is the two red baby dresses I find in the package with other linens that inspire most.  Red.  So bold for a baby I think.  Did her mother know?  This child 60 years later doing the extrovert dance –did her mother know then?  Her baby, destined to be noticed, wearing power colors in the crib? 


I buy an old piece of ceiling tin at the Galleria at Double-Take this week.  Another $100 on the Visa but we won’t talk about that. . .I carry it home in the wind three days before Christmas.  Santa understands these things.  Excited about the possibility.  Should I cut it in half?  Make a frame for the back?  Two dresses or one at a time?  Stay tuned. . .For a studio tour of said dresses or other artful works please email dreamcafe943@yahoo.com 

Brenda Roper is a visual artist and occasional poet currently living at El Zaguan on Canyon Road in Santa Fe.  Her poetry (p.68) and photographs can be found in the newest issue of Cirque http://www.cirquejournal.com/index.php



Posted in El Zaguan exhibition, Studio Art Also tagged , , , , , , |

Deck the Walls: Celebrate Art with the Zaguanistas

painterly photos

Currently I am one of six (6)artists living in the James L. Johnson house at 545 Canyon Road in Santa Fe.  It is a magical place not only because of its location on the historic East side but because of all those feet that have walked through El Zaguan, stood upon the 150 year old floors, slept beneath the 12 foot ceilings, crawled inside their own lives within the ancient adobe walls.  Kiva fireplace, clawfoot tub, long windows fat with a geranium wintering in the high desert sun (well not today) and even french doors that separate my studio from my parlour (bedroom/live room).  Besides the porch swing, garden, orchard and fellow neighbors/friendship art that makes this compound a home, is the benefit of using the “conference room” adjacent to the Historic Santa Fe Foundation office (former Sala in the days of James L. Johnson) as an exhibit space.  Mind you it is not a gallery in the commercial sense but offers an abundance of charm and Santa Fe style that only exenuates the art and the spirit of the artists who present here.   Combine that with the warm energy of community and well our latest exhibit “Deck the Walls” was born.  Deck the WallsAn annual and group holiday show featuring the works of Greg Tweed, Max-Carlos Martinez, Brenda Roper (yours truly), Bethany Orbison, William (Billy) McLane and Adam Eisman.  A beautiful variety of painting, mixed media and photography. Our opening last night was quite fun despite the quietude of Canyon Road.  Holiday lights, farolitos, and a pair of candle sconces welcomed those who ventured through our gates. Nice interludes ensued with art speak &  holiday cheer, organic donuts & eggnog,  hello nice to meet you, and thank you for coming.

Feel free to stop by during the week and don’t be put off by “office” on the front door.  If the gates are open so are we.  Please come in.  I have a selection of handmade artist cards for $5/each and 11″x14″ photos ready for framing for only $45,  plus an abundance of fine original art that might be exactly what you didn’t realize you were looking for.    Deck the Walls this holiday season and celebrate art with the Zaguanistas.

Posted in El Zaguan exhibition, Uncategorized Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

Website & WordPress –what’s a girl to do?

Art ServesAfter my blogging class with three other strong artful women and our leader Melissa White at www.blogshopsantafe.com last weekend I have been driving myself a bit crazy researching both free and premium WordPress themes that will best suit my goal of having a website/blog that I can update and manage on my own –the artist with no HTML (well one dreamweaver class nearly two years ago).  This one is called “Adventure” and is free and great for blogging only I suppose, but I want a portfolio gallery and social plug-ins and the ability to use thumbnails, and a filmstrip for ease of displaying images.  All that color.  Texture.  A few thoughts. About me, contact, new happenings.  Maybe ecommerce — hmmm.  Basically a professional forum for showcasing my art/images that is user friendly.  Here are a few that I’ve jotted down:  ReCapture, Showcase, eGallery (only $19.95), Filtered, Deep Focus, Dandelion, Photosquares 2. . .but I think I’m going to go with Photocrati at $89 with free help for a year and a 30 day trial.  After that help comes with a small annual fee, but I’d probably just go back to my friend Melissa for a little one on one.  Keep it local.

While I’m not a fine art photographer I do include photographs in my art making.  Photocrati is a visual theme but I am finding most gallery themes are geared toward commercial art making –at least in their pitch.  Hmmm.   It was suggested that I “like it” out of the box and I think I do but do I really know what I’m looking at/for as far as features?  Thankfully I have the added advantage of a wild and wonderful tech saavy friend to help get me started as she hands off (points, directs, gives me the controls) to my existing-needs-updating hence the reason for all of this. . . www.brendaroper.com

ArtmattersYes, I know a bit of a boring post but thinking aloud is always helpful in the decision making process.  I welcome comments from artists who have successfully set up a WP format as a user friendly website/blog platform for the html challenged.  

Art matters in this crazy world of excess and not enough and too much and too little and too fast –.

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