Tag Archives: exhibition

Leaves of Grass: Water, Field, Canyon, Cattail


One hour to madness and joy! O furious! O confine me not!
(What is this that frees me so in storms?
What do my shouts amid lightnings and raging winds mean?)


O the puzzle, the thrice-tied knot, the deep and dark pool, all
untied and illumin’d!
O to speed where there is space enough and air enough at last!
To be absolv’d from previous ties and conventions, I from mine and
you from yours!

To find a new unthought-of nonchalance with the best of Nature!
To have the gag remov’d from one’s mouth!
To have the feeling to-day or any day I am sufficient as I am.


O something unprov’d! something in a trance!
To escape utterly from others’ anchors and holds!
To drive free! to love free! to dash reckless and dangerous!
To court destruction with taunts, with invitations!
To ascend, to leap to the heavens of the love indicated to me!

To rise thither with my inebriate soul!
To be lost if it must be so!
To feed the remainder of life with one hour of fulness and freedom!
With one brief hour of madness and joy.

Walt Whitman (condensed version)


She stood in the arroyo and cried.

Sat on the long bench overlooking her childhood –so much memory in rural

in field

the early desert days 17 years ago + 15 before that and who she was then

in canyon

the map rolled open before her

the mountains

the men

the fork in the road


the hummingbird demands attention and why not . . .

such beauty in flutter

the hike the pond the bath

flow together weave and stitch and surrender

a dive into water  opens the heart

and when the head rests floating the body floating the sound of bullfrog croak

a duck a bird a wind through long grass and cattail


a life –and lichen

Cliff River Springs

Brenda is a visual artist and occasional poet currently living in Santa Fe, NM.  Her piece: Beauty Betty Bingo: Still Developing is part of an invitational group exhibition opening at the International Gallery of Contemporary Art (IGCA) in Anchorage, Alaska on September 4th.

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

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 , , , , , , , |

First BIG snow and a walkabout. . .

Sunday brought the first BIG snow of the season to Santa Fe — 5+ inches and the roads are ridiculous but before I ventured out by car today I ventured out by big boots, warm hat, sunglasses and camera.  A tourist on a walkabout of her own neighborhood.  The historic Eastside:  Canyon, Gormley Lane, Acequia Madre, Garcia Street and back to her lovely abode at El Zaguan where free firewood was being gifted (thank you). Here are a few favorites. . .


sit with a rose perfect and pink. . .ode to biking or a patriotic Christmas red and green

Not my door but classic –Santa Fe stylin. . .

Ristas, ride, welcome, relax with a cup of coffee —

Namaste –!

Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, Happy Our lady of Guadalupe Feast Day and other solstice celebrations in these days of little light.  Go into the light of your own hearts.  Go well.  Celebrate. Go with fire and grace.  Go with intention.  Do good.  Cheers!!


Brenda is one of six artist and writers in residence currently residing at El Zaguan.  Please stop by 545 Canyon Road for the annual Holiday Exhibit on view most weekdays 10 – 4pm and Saturdays noon to 4 o’clock.  Her work is also on display at the Rio Grande Arts Feast Day exhibition honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe at the Lucky Bean Cafe in the Sanbusco Market in Santa Fe.  Opening Wednesday December 12th from 6 to 8pm.  Through January 6, 2013.

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

Out and about: the studio, the art and the neighborhood

Art and love and the luminosity of such things. . .

I enjoy snippets of my own apartment/studio as fodder for contemplation and inspiration –here a very cool wooden decoy duck yellow eye found object from the yard of a friend and on my chair often I find gifts, a vintage speedometer that I love (thank you. . .?), a paper bag filled with vintage doilies, a bucket of gesso, a copy of Blue Mesa and other literary magazines, and sometimes a note directing me to offerings of rusty wire and such, donuts and other treats. . .$20 in the handle of my door for the wifi we share.

Ahoy! there potential patrons and weary wanderers can we entice you in for cider and clementines. . .a nickel and we’ll tell your fortune or you can tell ours.  Happy Holidays!! Art for sell or for free (to look)  come in, have a seat, stay awhile tell your friends.  Pretty quiet on Canyon but a beautiful day.  We gather together in harmony. Patty Griffin making pies all day no one doing laundry.  Asti and chocolate and no snow falls. Still darkness comes early.

El Zaguan Holiday Exhibition 545 Canyon 12-4pm on Saturdays through December and most weekdays


Up  the block I’m feeding the cat of a friend, and the pigeons, and really it is a bit of a backyard menagerie with the extremely social Polish chickens in feathers of  gray and white and black –with showy tufts on top. . .dancing madly across the yard to greet me at the gate.  Every time like the first. Time. What joy in their unconditional adoration.  Who knew? I smile just to think of them.  Their curiosity open and delightful and free from fear.  Peck peck nibble. Squawk.

Already December.  Narcissism on my mind and really it sounds like a new age ailment/affliction and too noble or needy or (really?  how did I get here –again?) to discuss though it is alive and well and sadly I bang my head against self-doubt and responsibility and action as I take steps to extract myself from the clutches of what is no longer benign. And remind myself:  It is okay to have an opinion.  To (agree to) disagree.  To be separate from your lover, boss, friend. . .etc.   I am not an appendage.  Not your appendage.  Enlightenment comes knocking knocking library books and conversation and a few tears on the walk this afternoon.  I use to cry everyday –my (ab)normal and now so seldom.  From one extreme to the other we go at times to find our way back to center. To balance.  To nature and hiking and phone calls to sisters. When one door closes another opens —they say.  A whole lifetime ahead of me.  Grandma lived to 96 and my mother just celebrated her 80th birthday.  Love those chickens.

Posted in Studio Art 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.

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

Nibbles & Bits (of inspiration)


We become attached to our own words, of course, in the poetic sense of poetry as a poet –of what they mean to us.  What they say.  What we hear.  And to others something else.  Not enough or sometimes redundant.  I appreciate editors.  It makes me look more closely to “as” or repetition as a hammer to the head pounding meaning in and again.  Or perfectly –to make a point.  Poetic license and perspective may resonate with some.  A few or even many, but never everyone.  And perhaps not those we wish to notice.  Who we are.

I had a poem published this week.  the Night Heron.  Inspired by watching a heron all day stalking the high tide line at Sin Duda Villas outside Xcalak in the Yucatan and a thought while dusting a dresser, and other miscellaneous nibbles & bits that reside in the mysterious card catalog of the brain.  In Other Words:  Merida.  Great new on line zine.  Check it out www.inotherwordsmerida.com   Other artful endeavors of note included delivering two pieces to local Santa Fe galleries in preparation of two openings next weekend.  Thank you universe.

Odes & Offerings

Spent 3 hours in the emergency room on Friday morning for a non-emergency pain no doctor can seem to diagnose.  Not my own.  I feel her frustration.  But mostly I am aghast at the lack of communication or compassion while waiting in limbo.  On a bed in a nice room where I could easily have stolen all the blue rubber gloves and created havoc with the machinery if so inclined.  No one would notice.  No one did (notice) though I didn’t.  Create havoc.  I am well practiced in the art of patience but now I question that perseverance.   No one bothered to pop in and give updates.  For the result of the x-ray,  to ask if she were comfortable  or would she like a glass of water (or a large dose of Maalox as it turns out) –no one stopped by for anything at all except the two characters rolling by with the cleaning cart like a circus.  Who brought me two empty cups when I asked for something to hold water and with a generous heart I thought to also offer two sizes and directions to the bano.  Likely they are paid the least of all those I encountered.  They pass again and again.   I had just watched “Like Water for Elephants” –the cruelty of desperation.  And the kindness of those with the least to lose. . .

 Aqua Fria lady of long agoAfter three hours a nurse popped in to “her room” –said she didn’t know anyone was in here.  Did she really say that?  Out loud.  “Did you just arrive?” she asked.  Really?  Very energetic and friendly.  In fairness she had just arrived but doesn’t anyone communicate?  Then not a peep.  Understaffed or something else?  The doctor when he came, at the end of it all, had a nice bedside manner but no panacea.  For this we pay the big bucks.  Going through the motions.  A script of rote because they must offer something.  We expect it but don’t they understand how far placebo goes?  A kind inquiry.  A thoughtful hello how are you.  A moment –At least once every 30 minutes would not pass unnoticed. 

The wind is wicked today though now the sun is back.  I ran outside the third time the shutter slammed against the window but too late.  It lay flat on the ground.  Torn from the hinge.  I felt bad but nothing broken that can’t be repaired.  Yesterday I find bits and pieces of inspiration not from the wind or spring cleaning of dust and spiders from a winter of corners but from a yard sale up the block.  Creative ponderings.  A bride and groom cake top and an oval frame with a faded portrait of a woman who lived in Aqua Fria.  More possibilities for the Vintage Affair.  Ideas for photographs and celebrations and dresses and such.

magic in Canyon Road treeLast night I flew in my dream.  At the end of the chaos with the travel agents, the car accident and waiting for a trolley.  I walk into restricted space.   To the head of the queue and out the door.  And I realize it is the moment that I recognize I can.  Fly.  that brings the most magic.  That moment of self awareness and testing.  One leap and another and the possibility of flight.  Of lift off and letting go.  Like magic.  Into this day at home when I was planning to drive to Taos for the opening of “the Art of the Dress” but did not.  Another time.  And next time perhaps a blog of more concrete ponderings:  the 40 hour/week paradigm and how that system is not my model though to more degree than I’d like to admit I’m on that track though the one without a pension or 401K.  Perhaps more  on the art of marketing –ecommerce, etsy, ebay, and others that comes so easily to some yet feels too exposed for me.  At the moment.  But if anyone is interested.  The art on this site is for sale.  I welcome email inquiries or a studio visit or a wink and a nod.  Wine and chocolate also accepted. 


Brenda Roper is currently an artist in residence at El Zaguan in Santa Fe.  Her work can be seen in the Odes & Offerings Exhibitions at the Santa Fe Community Gallery on Marcy Street  and GVG Contemporary @ 202 Canyon Road.  Open receptions on March 23  & March 24 from 5-7pm respectively.  Stay tuned for details about the Zaguanistas summer art kick off at the Historic Santa Fe Foundation gallery Friday May 25, @545 Canyon Road. 



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