Tag Archives: Brenda Roper

From Cerrillos to South Capitol

Poet applause in my heart

I wake into a Sunday of NPR discussion of Evangelical adoptions and Irish music and texting about a new odd job —to add to the five I already have in that slow flexible climb to enough a month for living.   I wake from a dream that spews forth like the Pavlof volcano erupting in Alaska.  Percolating notions and stand-ins for something important all mixed together and exploding from my unconscious.  The most vivid: the boa constrictor emerging from the side of the yard that is really a bedroom who turns into an alligator at the curb and flies across the street to climb a concrete porch where it is now a psychedelic lion with pink and purple flowers all beautiful and strong on the stoop.  Whoa.  From fear to glory.  And I fly too.  On my back, levitating in a long hall while two men look on.  As if I have to prove myself.  To rise up from “the help” wiping the salad dressing off the floor.  Okay.  Enough.  But I find dreaming fascinating.  And at the end of it all 34A appears.  A long ago number on a hospital bracelet that belonged to my mother.  Her room.  I made art out of it 10 years ago.  What are these messages?  These stories unfolding?


On Thursday I take my car in for brakes and walk from Cerrillos to South Capitol.  It is morning and I walk in the shadow of the buildings on the East side of the street as if I am in a foreign country.  Alive and elated and joyful.  Where does that come from:  a walk outside the perimeter of our own lives?  A change of direction?  Graffiti and signage and the dishevelment of an old street.  Gritty.  I like gritty.  I take out my new smartphone to snap photos as I go.  It so thin and heavy and I fear I may drop it.  I feel a bit conspicuous but that doesn’t matter.  Really.  At Baca Street I push the button to cross and take myself to Counter Culture where I’ve not been and eat the best lemon poppyseed cake ever with an equally delicious latte at a table by the wall beneath the art of photographs for pets.  The phone rings.

I rise to the occasion of the question and outside find a path I did not know that carries me all the way to the Railyard Park in a matter of minutes.  Past the community garden.  The Rail Runner runs and I pause to take its picture.  On my way to work but I have a moment to spare.  And now I vow to do that weekly.  A walk from this neighborhood to that neighborhood on a path that will carry to coffee.  To rambling thoughts of possibility and a person I use to be — on other paths.  In other places.

In this slow coming spring the days pass without focus.  A blur of interview and company and shuttle here and there.   The Etsy site undone.  The blog unwritten.  No poetry for Wednesday.  But there has been art.  In Microscale in Madrid at Metallo Gallery and An Affair with the Muse at Kristin Johnson Fine Art in Santa Fe where my work shares the walls with other artists, known and emerging and the joy of friendship and good times and wine and food and walking beneath the stars of the New Mexico sky.  A glimpse at  “behind-the-scenes” of movie making on porches and side streets and vans with kitchens on Armijo.  Those yellow signs with letters sideways and upside down that instruct those in the know on where to go.


And the trip to the Gulf Coast of Florida that blew open my closed perceptions has come and gone and my photos not posted or sent to friends, but still I keep the weather of St. Pete on my homepage.  Just in case.  I check rentals on craigslist and subscribe to a newsletter and the Warehouse Arts District but will the humidity be too big an obstacle? And my mom has gone into the hospital and is out again as I plan a trip back for the family reunion.  For my birthday.  To get together with sisters and brothers and cousins and those aunts and uncles that remains.  A hug to my dad and hopefully more than 30 minutes.  So hard to fit it all in.  A moment here and dashing off for a moment there.  Maybe a swim in a lake, a walk on the beach of Lake Michigan, wine tasting and a walk in the country but how to get from Detroit to Durand?  No public transportation that allows independence except a car I won’t really need and one might as well pay the difference to fly into the local airport.  For convenience but it is steep.  Pause.

Everything is changing.


Today a poetry reading in Eldorado.  200 NM poems.  I will sit in the audience to applaud the poets.  Important to applaud the poets.

Go well into the tomato starts, the basil outside the door, the pots of pansies that make you smile.  Through whatever gate you walk into whatever street you travel onto that path that carries us forward.  To life without fear.  To love.  To ourselves in all our imperfect beauty and authenticity.

Brenda is a visual artist and occasional poet who lives too far from the ocean but loves her new digs in South Capitol.  Her work can be seen at Kristin Johnson Fine Art or hereIn Microscale is up through the end of May at Metallo Gallery in Madrid.  Studio visits welcome and by appointment.



Posted in Dreams, Poetry, South Capitol, Travel Also tagged , , , , , , , |

March madness (not a shopping expedition)

March came on Friday.  Rabbit rabbit. A madness that blows in with the longing for spring.  The return of  light and warmth and hope for our weary winter souls.  Though we carry on.  Make our plans.  I felt disoriented.   Last week my balance off kilter.  Unsure where to be when, double booking.  Then pause.  Who’s on first?  Full moon.  A gentle interlude.  Obsession and isolation and be patient.  I feed myself movies and rice.  And today the sun shines so brilliant on flowers inside my house.  All the joy floods through the door.

Random thoughts from a weekend where winter reigned — beneath a full moon:

  • they call them “designer dogs” –crossing a Labrador with a standard poodle.  Labradoodle.  Originated in Australia. Love the Besa dog
  • to MAC or not to mac –and cheese.  PC?  These questions and iPhone or Droid and options and do I really need a smart phone?
  • I could run away my winter fat on the Dale Ball trails.  Or run away.
  • panic at being poor though not homeless and the perspective that brings it all back to grateful am I and so rich despite the bank balance and lucky too and talk to sisters and friends and take a bath and take a hike and maybe a walk on the wilder side of my nature.
  • Homeland has caught my attention and I cringe when Carrie goes through shock therapy thinking she’s wrong when she is the only one who has it right.  Still the label of crazy too convenient for dismissal in a world that does not allow for other. (I know it’s only sitcom).

And today the hope of spring prevails.  Fresh chard from the Farmer’s Market.  The mailman’s radio tuned to a ball game.  Bring me some peanuts and cracker jacks. . . permeated my sense of accomplishment at using day-glo zip ties to repair my dryer rack.  My version of duct tape.  I sat it in the yard feeling happy with laundry.  Sat in the sun talking on the phone to my big sister.  Chicken in the oven.  A glass of French pinot.


And I am painting.  Oil.  Glazing.  Small works on canvas.  Are they equations or villages or walls — or simply abstract shapes without narration?  Do I scribble more or less?  Excavate.  Smooth over.  Draw.  Then wipe it all away.  I am intuitive but the paintings do not feel intuitively painted.  Expressive yes but still I hold back.  Uncertain.  How to proceed.  When to stop?  Outline or blend?  What tool works best with oil?  I experiment. I am a trial and error artist.  Some call it process.  Not to be confused with progress though I believe I am making some.  Progress.

A friend gifted me 6 inches of Art News.  I look through the pages.  Tear out an image.  The cat rolls on her back.  I tape up an abstract by Lillian Orlowsky (who studied with Hans Hoffman).  Her foundation PAAM offers a grant to painters over 45.  Check it out!


What do you think?

I’m hopeful the gallery might be interested.  For the May opening.  Small works.  And if not I am still having fun.  On my path.  Figuring it out — one painting at a time.


Brenda is a visual artist and occasional poet who works as a Personal Assistant/Girl Friday to a variety of interesting people in Santa Fe, NM.  Please visit her website for more images of her work.  Studio visits welcome by appointment.

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A morsel of happiness. . .

Sound bites from the weekend:  Bowling is a working class sport  and I wonder why the uptown girl is hanging with the Bud Light guy but then realize neither are living up to their potential.  Like a magnet.  And I associate “meek” with STUPID because isn’t that what people mean when they think it?  Some even say it aloud Meek. Cringe. Because you are quiet logical pragmatic you don’t have a personality, or the capacity to think, or much to offer the plugged in party down hoe hum don’t sweat the small stuff no consequence mentality.  Okay.  Fair is fair.  Fuck you.

Potential –yes! always inspiration for the possible.



The pull of the moon.


Let us walk on water.


On the bright side I sold a piece of art this weekend.  Thank you EAI.  The Visa appreciates it too.  The other small art kudo is getting a piece accepted into the Recycle Santa Fe Juried Exhibition that opens November 2, 2012 at the Santa Fe Convention Center on Marcy Street.  Oh and the beauty of moon rise over the Sangre de Cristos with a lavender fade over autumn in the river down the block with no water.  Six (6) inches of snow in Montana as the east coast prepares for Hurricane Sandra and I long to be entertained. Escape.  Thank you Gwarlingo for poetry that spikes the senses.  James Arthur. Has won every fellowship I’ve ever dreamed of.  He looks young but obviously that is unimportant.  My friend Mike is a poet.  Sometimes me too.  The part-time poet.  Ha.

Started a fire with one match and I’m a water sign.  That is supposed to matter so quite a feat I suppose and I love the ambiance.  Lists are made and doilies discussed in great detail.  How to stiffen. Kept me busy on Saturday.  Research. Wallpaper paste still a favorite but I Google options and really the cornstarch and distilled water is a bust without the addition of glue. Spray starch on the ironing board for next time.  Or nada.  The 2 cups boiled water with sugar seemed too sticky before Christmas– but I have an idea.  The shopping carts filled then emptied.  Like the tide.  Pearl iridescent.  Jog bra.  I dream of money and horses and coffee.  Sleep is good.  An old friend flew to Cuba.  Today. Bon voyage.  He suggests a dremel with a fine tip for signing the bronze.  Signatures are important.  Picasso.  Sotheby’s.  Brenda Roper apparently.

Nothing remarkable still there is happiness.  My mother turns 80 a month from tomorrow (which is quite remarkable).  Go mom.  Happy Birthday.  She likes Bingo.  Dancing. Cards. Staying up late to watch the news.  Spanish rice, pork chops, meatloaf, baked beans with bacon on top, boiled dinner, Swiss steak on Sundays, scalloped potatoes (my favorite), chocolate cake with melted frosting.  Milk in our glasses and may I please be excused? No bake cookies. My sister always burnt the last batch. . . but she could pop corn like a queen.  Sea salt caramel gelato was not in my childhood freezer.  Think I’ll go have a spoon.  Or save it.  For later.  But than again why wait.  A storm is coming and all the stars are singing.  Twinkle like a prayer. . .


This blog is a creative ramble.  An exercise in the practice of expression without censor though I do.  A one year ambition of discipline like a script out of context though not without intention.  A road construction detour not coherent to a wide audience but that is not the point.  The success is in the practice.  The I do did fairly consistently.  Perhaps next year a new vision.  Theme.  Focus.  Direction.   For now a meander.  Thank you.

Brenda Roper is currently an artist in residence at El Zaguan in Santa Fe, NM.



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Intermezzo II –Gustavus C-47 series

November 1957 – A C-47 transport plane went down on the southeastern tip of Glacier Bay National Park (then a National Monument) during a snowstorm.  Four Alaska Air National Guardsmen were killed.  Three others walked away.  50 years later I walk down an obscure trail through the rainforest and see the wreckage, reclaimed by the understory and orchids.  The brilliant colors, the graffiti, the story preserved. I found it fascinating.

SIZE:  13″x13″ with frame
MEDIA:  digital photo, acrylic and found object mounted on painted panel

The 7 photo assemblages in this series are original photographs by the artist (Brenda Roper) taken July 2008  on a trip to Gustavus & Glacier Bay National Park in celebration of her 50th birthday and bon voyage (after 20 years of living in the far north).  Brenda relocated to Santa Fe where she “assembled” these as an Artist in Residence at El Zaguan.  With the closing of Virtu Gallery (Anchorage) they recently traveled back down the Alaska Highway.  Full circle it seems.

Now showing as part of  Zaguanistas:  Intermezzo II   –a group exhibition with works by Billy McLane, Bethany Orbison, Max Carlos Martinez, Adam Eisman and Brenda Roper

Price:  $300/each or make offer for the series (7 pieces)

Please stop by 545 Canyon Road

Open most weekdays 10 to 4pm/Friday evenings 5 to 7pm/Saturday 11 to 4pm

Studio visits by appointment

Summer ART Sale –$200/special price on limited 12″x12″ paintings

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

the Pearl Fishers

Santa Fe Opera

My first Opera: the Pearl Fishers @ the Santa Fe Opera.  Fantastic.  The preview dinner buffet beneath our flying sailed pavilion so fresh the air after on-again off-again afternoon rain.  Table for six (round).  Friends and strangers and the opportunity for conversation flowed with the wine.  An apricot tree hung heavy with fruits. Magical.  Truly.  A grand indulgence, champagne intermission, Y112/Y113 with views direct to the middle of the stage and that well-known architectural decisive backdrop (through 3 different theatres since 1957)  falls open to the vast New Mexico landscape.  A man approaches over the edge as if traveled a great distance. . .and the show begins.  A hush falls with dusk.

 Santa Fe OperaSanta Fe Operathe Pearl Fishers

Periphery lightning in the distance.  No rain falls.  Music.  A love story. Betrayal. Forgiveness.  Love prevails.

A few candid photos to document the evening preamble and the procession after (one or two before the speaker announced) — “no photographs in the theatre. . .” — many out-of-focus and poorly composed but still I share.  I loved the mix of dress from flip flop beach attire to suspenders and jacket.  Silk and linen, long and short, blankets and umbrellas, black to floral.  And a blanket or two tucked into the handbag.  Some more formal and some less.  The long line at the bathroom. The attendants in Serapes directing traffic.  Stair and Plaza milling around– abuzz like pollen.

Santa Fe OperaSanta Fe OperaSanta Fe Opera 

My mind present to circumstance and up-turned expression only.  My artistic eye lost in champagne effervescence and a world I felt grateful to visit.  People watching, conversation, eye contact, smile –everyone joyful and accommodating.  A slow spin to take it in.  To the sky soft with the coming of night, bells that sent us back to our seats and the sweet goodbye.


The Soprano amazing.

Santa Fe Opera

Brenda is a part-time personal assistant to interesting women in Santa Fe
and currently one of six artists in residence at El Zaguan on Canyon Road
Posted in Blog, Brenda Roper, Santa Fe Opera Also tagged , , , , |

The (art of) packing and rain in Santa Fe

I’m a girl who loves to travel but packing is worrisome.  I’ve not sold out to wheeled luggage (please shoot me) so still throwing the North Face duffle onto my broad shoulders, but it seems smaller than it was.  Hiking boots take up a lot of space for one hike in Two Medicine but there might be snow.  And packing for traveling north (50 miles south of Canada) over traveling south (to beaches south of the border) the clothes bulkier, and he doesn’t drink coffee.  So I pack the Bialetti.  A small melitta. Too.  I guess coffee is important.  Ethiopian Harrar.  He’ll buy the ½ and ½.  Thank you. I tell him I might just borrow a shirt and wear a pair of panties with hiking boots and call it good.  Wouldn’t that be simple?

I’m giddy and already drinking wine.  Music.  And the rain. Falls gently.  Intermittent.  In Santa Fe.  A blessing and how quickly the temperature drops and I love the change but I (also) love knowing it is temporary.  Not like Alaska.  Or Montana.  Where it can rain for days.  A week or more.  The entire summer. Gray skies and hypothermia. Here just a moment to appreciate the fresh scents. The sun disappeared.  The moon not visible.  Not dark but dark.  Cloudy and gray.  No energy.  Rain sucked up by the dry desert dirt.  Flowers smile.  Birds chirp.

I find a stamped envelope fat with earrings I meant to mail a week ago.  Oh my. In the corner of my purse.  What purse to pack?  The wallet too fat.  And not with dollars.


Pandora.  I listen to all the women:  Nanci Griffith, Patti Griffin, Allison Krauss, Kacy Crowley, Kasey Chambers, Suzanne Vega, Gillian Welch, Emmy Lou and the men too:  Tom Russell, Nick Drake, Jackson Browne, Leonard, Neil, etc.  Pandora puts them up and out.  So I’m drinking wine, eating pasta. Cheers.  Pear tart and gelato.  Maybe.  Gift the leftover Market greens to my neighbors.  Catching a plane to Montana.  Tomorrow.  To the possibility of love and friendship and getting-to-know. Rain on Canyon and I love the fresh scent.  The sounds of water as tires pass on their way home.  End of the day.  Low pressure.  June and the temperature drops 20 degrees.  Just like that. Wool sweater with white shorts.  Raincoat over my shoulders.  Bare legs in sandals and thoughts turn to soup and slippers. To tea. Orange sunset gray sky. West is quiet.

Packed now.  Ready (with options to revise) and it is always worrisome.  Packing.  I don’t have many clothes but I want to bring everything (just in case) and narrow it down to 3 or 4 pair of shoes (laughing).  Still excessive but no make-up and that counts for something.  Doesn’t it?  Hiking boots take up a lot of space and forget the blow dryer.  My hair is short these days. . . and the coffee pot, fleece, down vest, a favorite sweater,  my 17″ laptop.  Can I carry an empty water bottle through security ? –funny.  The library book? the SUN.  My camera.

Friends tell me they’ve never seen me this happy.  In 13 years or forever and how it’s long overdue.  I know –I whisper in the phone.  I smile over the glass.  It’s true.  A hug.  A well wish from those that care.  That knows.  Me. And I will soon be on that plane.  To a place I’ve been before but changed.  To time passing and beginning.  To cracking open.  To friendship old and new and shifting.  To joy.

The studio wishes me well too as it sits patiently in the dark.  The ironing board and yoga mat and round oak table.  The little red dress and the tin squares become what they will.  Eventually.  Such is creativity.  It isn’t like a clock.  That chimes.   Every 15 minutes.  Mariachi wedding.  High mass or low.  I don’t know these things but the bells go off.  Beautiful really.  Not tonight.  Birds sing again after the rain.  Are there worms?  Rooftop dining looking west toward the Jemez.  Duck pizza with Rose.  Yesterday.  After Las Golondrinas where Julia the Churro sheep was sheared the old fashioned way and all in one piece like a rug.  I worried his hand would nip the skin. Those ancient scissors.   I wanted him to talk to her more.  Whisper it is okay.  Treat her like his queen.  And in the 80+ degree heat of mid-afternoon blazing on my bare Sunday shoulders she seemed to understand.  Her ungulate hoofs tied with rope.  Softly.  She surrendered.  Hand dipped candles in ancient wax.  May our light shine.  Shine on.

Posted in Blog, Brenda Roper, Studio Art, Travel Also tagged , , , , , |

Books & alleys & blossoms come & go

Monday morning Memorial Day.  I read on the internet this morning that one can bid on the crypt of Elvis.  Really?  Is that cool?  Weird? –but in the interest of capitalism there is no marketing scheme not possible.  No mail today.  My Netflix cannot be returned but since I haven’t watched it yet, though it came five (5) days ago –well that works out.  That and our substitute mail carrier refusing to pick up the outgoing mail.  I chased her down the street on Friday but tactfully.  She appeared overwhelmed under the weight of her leather pouch and long dark hair.  And very young.   She laid the stack of envelopes I handed her on top of a painted Santa Fe style box at the end of Gypsy Alley and assured me she would take care of it.  I want to trust her so walked away and let it go.

Canyon RoadCanyon Road alley

No banking and Kaune’s might be closed for the holiday but I am working this afternoon.  Because there is no possibility of errand I can walk the 15 minutes to this day job.  I love walking.  And I love walking to work through the gravel one way narrow streets of Santa Fe:  Abeyta, Las Animas, Arroyo Tenorio. . .it has been the loveliest of spring and how quickly the blossoms come and go.  The brilliant orange petals of poppies.  The lilacs long gone.  The wisteria, apple and cherry blossoms no more.  Everything in its own time.  For images please click here.

Odes & Offerings

Prose by Robbins 18"x24" mixed media on panel

The Odes & Offerings Exhibit continues through June 8, 2012 at the Santa Fe Community Gallery on Marcy Street.  Part of the Santa Fe Poet Laureate program and the final project by current but outgoing Poet Laureate Joan Logghe — where 36 local poets were paired with 36 visual artists.  The poets provided two poems and asked the artist to choose one then embed the text of the poem into their work.  I met my poet Phil Geronimo at a reading in the Gallery a few weeks ago.  He is quirky and earnest and fun loving and I was thrilled to finally meet him.  Rumor says he was waiting tables on the night of the opening.  A former long time employee of Collected Words.  A good poet. Grateful he thought my piece “Prose by Robbins” captured the spirit of his poem in its colorful and somewhat quirky interpretation.  A good match.

Prose by Robbins
It has been a very sweet event.   So much literary talent.   So many books.  All the readers well-read and read well.  And word on the street is a book from the exhibit is forthcoming by Sunstone Press.  Stay tuned.  Thank you Joan.  Thank you poets.  Thank you Rod Lambert and the Santa Fe Community Gallery, etc.  If you haven’t been please go:  201 W. Marcy Street/ Gallery Hours: M–F 10 to 5/Saturday 10 to 4.  Closed Sunday/Monday.

Speaking of New Mexico and poets please check out 200 New Mexico Poems –A New Mexico Centennial Project celebrating history through poetry.  Submissions still accepted.  Enjoy!

James P Sweeney


More on books, words, sweet events and all –my good friend Jim. Sweeney.  or James P. Sweeney, has published his epic experience of survival in the Alaska Range in his new book (that took eight years to complete): Alaska Expedition Marine Life Solidarity.  I can’t put it down and hope you will consider supporting his endeavor.  It’s a great read and you won’t be disappointed.  Order your copy at http://www.jamessweeneybooks.com/.


Brenda is currently one of six (6) artists in residence at El Zaguan, the oldest continuous artist colony on Canyon Road.  Please stop by 545 Canyon to see  the Zaguanistas Summer ART Kick-Off:  Billy McLane, Bethany Orbison, Max Carlos Martinez, Adam Eisman, Marilyn Sahs and Brenda Roper -–an eclectic group exhibition of photography, painting, words and wood.  Friday 5-7pm/Saturday 12-4pm. Through June 8th.  Studio by appointment dreamcafe943@yahoo.com.

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I Love Lucy. . .a night in T or C

Road-tripping to hot springs, up the down stairs and a rattlesnake across the road on the east side of the Chiricahuas thick and yellow (ish) –me in flip flops decides not to hike the nearby trail though the sycamores beckon.  Not today but later.  A made from Cane Sugar root beer in front of the Portal Cafe.  Windows down music blasting road-tripping to 80 degrees down Hwy 80 and if anyone wants to “adopt” a highway it’s available all the way from Rodeo to Bisbee–why the department of Homeland Security/Border Patrol in their dog catching truck mobiles don’t volunteer is beyond me since they are prowling, parked and lurking the entire route once you get off the I-10 West– but I’m getting ahead of myself.

First stop Truth or Consequences “c’mon down. . .” –Blackstone Hot Springs a lovely oasis in an interesting place 3 hours south of Santa Fe.  Thank you Linda for tuning me in.  Retro renovated motor court motel done good.  I love Lucy is the room I choose.  And she sends her vitameatavegamin love from the red table.  Desi looks on but honestly I never liked him much.

I dance  “into the mystic” giddy in retro heaven.  Happily away from all things known and redundant and worrisome (if only self-induced).  Peace of mind and peace on earth.   Grateful for time.  Travel is good.

In a room where a pink clock keeps time with joyful nostalgia and the possibility of new beginnings.  Wash all your sins away in the deeply organic tub (in the privacy of your own room –yes!!) where healing waters are piped in with a simple flick of the handle.  All the way on or all the way off.  Swoosh and up the wall and everywhere hot water heaven.  Climb in.  Robes provided.  Aesthetic in a most artful way.  Light filters through the thick wooden slats on the window blocking out the Napa Auto garage.  Super moon on the rise.  Private and personal and perfect.  Oddly interesting T or C.  Here are a few images in case you’ve not been.

On the art front. . . I have a thing for these old fashioned chairs one finds all over New Mexico.   I love taking their portraits.  All colorful and fresh, or beaten and battered.  Wide-eyed and witness from Truchas to El Rito to T or C and roundabout this Land of Enchantment.  Watch for a new series of cards at the annual Mother’s Day Open House at 545 Canyon Road.  Santa Fe.  Sunday May 13th from 1 to 4pm.  Sponsored by the Historic Santa Fe Foundation. A self-guided fun filled afternoon.  Please mark your calendars.  I’m in El Zaguan #6 but stop by and say hello to all the Zaguanistas.  Be there or be square.  Though nothing about Santa Fe is straight or level.  Square it is not.  A bit arched but not a perfect circle.  Nothing is exact.   I think this is good.

The wind blows me fresh where I sit today in a turret with views to the beyond.  Somewhere near the borderlands.  Rich with Imagine and Writing by Women of New Mexico.  Two issues of the SUN so far behind.  See you out there on the porch.  In the chair kind of Saturday reading and thinking, and taking photos to mark my path.  Times are changing.  500 miles by car and 1246 miles to love.  It’s a numbers thing.  I request one day less to give me something more –like filling your freezer with tears.  Not the kind of math you find on Wall Street.  Portfolio in the making.  Stay tuned for 1000 steps and how I got lost in the roundabout of Bisbee.  



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The Complexity of Dreaming and Artful Details



bike garden

I’m not here this beautiful Saturday morning in Santa Fe to babble off the complexity of my own dreaming though it is vivid.  Always.  The way of the unconscious telling stories, striking a chord, a leaky ceiling revealing the past.  Ladders and tidal wave, a boat or bicycle.  Often I am not driving or lose my purse. . .a crocodile beside a canoe in flat water where a tripod sunk deep in this river takes photos, the camera placed just above the brown water.  On occasion I fly.  Those are the best.  But recently I have a brother at the periphery.  To the left of the dream frame.  Someone I have not dreamed of before.  We are not close.  Not estranged but grew up in other houses most of our lives.  He 7 years my elder.  And a man I loved once and those I call my friends all 7 years my elder.  Is there a connection?  Maybe not.  I look up the symbols: bricks falling, a toilet, a broom, old photos worn and faded but this morning I wake confused and sluggish.  What to blog about that is artful?


I bought a pair of sunglasses yesterday.  Prescription of course.  My old ones still working and intact after 10 years.  I love them but wanted something bigger. To have a back-up.  Blue eyes.  Even at 50% off I spend $235 and decline the warranty.  Now I fret about indulgence.  And when I walk in the arroyo after to test the vision I feel as if I am walking uphill.  The distance is good.  Clear.  But the depth perception to the ground is odd.  How come nothing is simple?  Though it is of course.  Not then or last night.  I cannot function.  This is not uncommon.  I handle it.  Last night by falling into bed too early.  I scratch my head.  I want an avalanche to crush my chest.  To quiet this unquiet.  I cannot function to read or write so I talk softly to myself.  It’s okay.  I cry.  Lullaby my voice.  Nurture.  Like to a child.  I crawl under the covers and do not return the phone call of a friend.  I question my job.  My choices.  The visa balance.  How to make a change.  How to sell my art.  Does it matter?

I contemplate why travel feeds me so –that rush of chocolate melt in your mouth with its warmth.  Color.  Anticipation.  A change of climate.  Water. Texture and possibility.  Perspective.  Is it only escapism?  Or something else?  Where to go from here.  Or simply stay.  Friends and family.  Or.  What do I have of value? To sell.  Do I return the glasses?   — not about the present. Red dust on the windowsill.  Desert winds blow. It is always about the past but triggered by the present.  Hmmm.

A good friend is moving.  Is here already.  Healing in the sunshine.  He finds organic wine for drinking.  Friendships renewed.  An apartment changes hands.  One friend (of a friend) to another.  Spring on the way.  Crocus poking up from the earth.  Sunset conversation over years that feel like yesterday.  Life can be like that.  As if no time has passed.  Yet we are so much wiser.  Despite confusion and emotional paralysis.  It is good to feel deeply.  To ponder.

 And so I share these images –a few details of my work.  Creative moments. I love details better than the whole I think.  Often.  I want to paint bigger because of this.  To see how scale will affect my composition.  My heart. Trust in elements of change.  A trigger to something more.  Of truth when it finds me. (For) better or worse.  Different.   A small piece of the puzzle magnified.  A crack in the wall.  A comfort in the world at large.  A safe place to mourn.



Posted in Blog, Brenda Roper, details, Dreams, Free Writings, Studio Art Also tagged , , , , |

Conceptual Underpinnings and I love text but I don’t text

Underpinning is defined as the material used for support of a structure and, through semantic change, has (be)come to encompass all abstract concepts that serve as a foundation.  I love the word “underpinning” –it could be gesso or panties or muscle or bone, scribbles or seed.  It could be a myriad of colors or as simple a white tablecloth pinned to a wall and entitled “May I please be excused?” –part of an installation I did once for a show called Family Secrets.  The reason I pine away at this is that I have an opportunity to participate in a show spawned from another.   A “deconstructed” exhibition examining the poetic intersection of words and image, or how that process occurred.  My conceptual underpinning still vivid inside my brain with only the leftover text and found objects scattered about my studio table.  Hmmm.  Does that count?  That I create the underpinnings after-the-fact?  In the concrete sense.  I am one to jump in with just a glimpse.  I was never good at maquettes in sculpture either and a failure in my sketchbook –full of words and lists and scribbles.  I carry my imagination in my heart –somewhat connected to the brain as a file system or sketchbook.  It is one part of my memory vividly intact.  My professor finally gave me his blessing, allowing me the freedom of skipping the “model” once he understood it existed somewhere in the context of the abstract.  Thank you Hugh.  I do scribble down ideas.  Mostly square or rectangular shapes with titles or random words — a list.  Ideas for a palette.  I am a writer first.  I suppose that is my underpinning.   And friends I don’t text though I use text. 


We Were Born

This painting “We Were Born” has an underpinning  I became embarrassed by after asking the opinion of my neighbor.  Not because of him but because I needed to reach out to know it was a disaster.  He loaned me books from the library and suggested I start with a vision.  I thought I had.  And so the underpinning rests beneath with its dark pods and disconnected message.  Perseverance or the conceptual underpinning of intuition eventually guided the painting into this beautiful palette.  What I wanted all along yet struggled (and it was a struggle) for weeks before giving in to what seemed to suddenly appear.   Like magic.  The soft blue greens.  A contrast between the play of red.  The grays I love. This my last oil on canvas before delving into the  mixed media work that has taken over the studio the past several months.  That led to Odes & Offerings and hopefully the “deconstructed” exhibition it spawned.  I want to go back.  Go bigger.  Oil on canvas.  Back to excavating shapes and color and a friendly composition.  Not so bottom heavy.  Play.  Conceptual underpinnings like grace.  One must believe in the vision however it finds you.  Wherever it leads.


Brenda Roper is currently an Artist in Residence at El Zaguan on Canyon Road in Santa Fe.  This painting “We Were Born” 48″x24″ oil on canvas is available for purchase.  To see other work by this artist or to arrange for a studio visit www.contemporaryartinsantafe.com

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