Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It's Earth Day! I plan to participate in the Earth Mosaic project and urge you to do so, as well.

One of the things I love about New Mexico is that it is impossible to be unaware of the beauty of our planet Earth. While looking through my photos from the Land of Enchantment, I came across images of one of my favorite structures which happens to have been built from scratch using sun dried mud bricks.

Every artist and their relatives and neighbors have photographed/painted/sketched this adobe church in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico. In fact, it is said that no other public building in the U.S. has been depicted as often. Built between 1772 and 1816, its official name is the Church of San Francisco de Asis.

While at one time it loomed large among the dwellings in the village, the distractions of traffic, businesses, parking lots and power lines now make it easy to miss. If you're driving north on NM68 towards Taos, it's on your right just before the intersection of NM518. It will take your breath away.

The massive bulk seen from the road is actually the back of the church. I have photographed it a few times and noted, as countless artists have, that it offers as many different looks as there are moments that the sun skims across it's earthy skin. What strikes me most is that the lines and curves are quite sensuous. The photo above, which I shot in 2004, looks like woman's curves, don't you think? Considering its patriarchal history and intent, I see this is a quiet victory for matriarchy.

One of Ansel Adam's photograph of the back of the church:

An O'Keeffe painting:

This is an old photograph of the front of the church:

A painting I began a few years ago and never finished:

Two photographs that I've taken, with a solarized effect:


  1. That church is amazing. I know two Taos artists who have depicted it and one who's photographed it. You should finish that painting! Happy Earth Day!

  2. Fascinating. A stunning church and I love how you have captured different angles than the others. Beautiful work, Jane. Happy Earth Day!


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