Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Six Months in the Southwest

  In front of Sun Gallery, Truth or Consequences, New Mexico

My last blog post was in August, when I had just returned from a four-month West Coast solo RV trip.  I commented at the end that I was going to return to my routine, but couldn't remember what that was anymore .

Sometimes it's good not to remember an old story and to start a new one.  That's basically what I've been up to lately.

  Intuition Is My Compass, Mixed-Media on Canvas, 12 x 12 in.

I spent a few weeks just getting reacquainted with Truth or Consequences...hanging out in coffee shops, seeing friends, spending lots of time with Steve.  I also started making some new friends, since I'm now old enough to eat lunch and participate in other activities at the Senior Center.

 Jeff, John, Beverly and Joel enjoying lunch at the Senior Center
Something that has come up in my thinking many times over the years since I started spending time in TorC is the possibility of having my own art studio, art gallery, book store, antique store, or any combination thereof.  I began exploring this possibility in my talks with friends.

Desert Eden Mandala, acrylic on canvas, 12 x 12 in.

About mid-September, I decided not to partner up with anyone and to start my own folk art and antiques gallery.  The vision I've had for this type of business for many years has been to be open only part-time.  I've seen this model work in small towns where business isn't heavy enough to justify being open full-time.  TorC has a Second Saturday Art Hop, and I decided to have my new Sun Gallery open each month during the Art Hop weekend.

 Front window of Sun Gallery
I found a workable commercial space in the very busiest part of downtown TorC.  I'm in a block that is a beehive of small businesses, one of the hoppingest places in town.  After renting the space, I worked very hard to get it filled up.  I picked up my paintings, sculpture, mixed-media work, etc.,  from other galleries in town except RioBravoFineArt where I will continue to show my work.   

One of dozens of carloads of antiques that I have found for the gallery
I also bought many, many antiques in travels to Las Cruces, where I have a great working relationship with a woman who rebuilds, refinishes and even repurposes old furniture.  I also got to buy some great primitives from a local pecan farm where an old house was cleared out. Besides Las Cruces, I've had some fun shopping excursions throughout the Southwest this fall and winter.  

 Me on flute, Gina on djembe, Rich on keyboards, Bob on drums and Mario on guitar at one of our Second Saturday Art Hop openings at Sun Gallery

I opened the gallery in October and have worked pretty hard at it throughout the fall.  I was open for the Art Hop weekend in October, then headed to Arizona to do some antique buying and camping.  Most of November and December, I was open each weekend so I could garner the holiday sales.  Then it was back to just one weekend per month in January.

 A series of four large acrylic paintings about the Elements (Fire, Water, Air and Earth) that I painted after returning from my 2015 travels
This schedule is great.  It allows me to travel and make art in between gallery openings.  After my January opening, I had a full four weeks off before the upcoming February opening!  So I've been able to spend a nice long time relaxing at our place in Why, Arizona. 

 Local arts critic James Durham's first review of my new gallery

Just yesterday, I returned to Why from a quick buying trip to Palm Springs!  There is no better place for thrift store shopping than the Coachella Valley.  Driving along Highway 111, the loop through all of those connected desert resort towns, I was able to hit about 20 thrift shops in two days.  There were probably another 10 that I could have shopped if I'd had the stamina.  

 Desert Hot Springs wind farm
I had hoped to include some sightseeing in my Palm Springs trip--maybe a couple of nights up at Joshua Tree National Park or a side trip along the Salton Sea to Yuma on my way home--but we got the big winds this past weekend that hit the entire Southwest.  With 25 to 35 mph winds with gusts up to hurricane speeds, it wasn't a good time to drive my little Dolphin on I-10.  So I holed up for a few nights at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, which has a nice big lot for free RV parking.  

 The heavy winds that kept me sitting in one place for several days
Yesterday on my way back to Why, I stopped in Quartzsite to lunch with some of my Solo Wild-Women RVer sisters.  And today it's great to be back here in the quiet Senoran Desert!  I have a few days to relax, then it's back to TorC for the February Art Hop weekend opening.  I have a few new paintings to exhibit in February that I painted here in Arizona this past month, and I've also been able to start doing some mosaic again now that I have space to work in and a nifty new compound tile nipper that doesn't make my arthritic hands hurt. 

 Back to doing mosaic after a few years' abstinence
I'll be going back and forth between our New Mexico and Arizona camps for the next few months.  Then I have some big travel plans for the spring (New York City!) and summer (RVing up the Mississippi to the Midwest).  Stay tuned!  I'll try not to get too busy to blog.

For those interested in visiting my gallery, please visit my Sun Gallery Facebook page.
An interior view of Sun Gallery


  1. Brava,Sue! Love to hear from people who are out there doing what they love to do! Great blog!!

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Thanks, Julie! Your comment posted twice so I removed the repeat.

  4. I so enjoyed reading this post, Sue. Wonderful! Wonderful!