Greetings from the Zen Crow Studio
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BLUE JAY AND ASPEN, 24" x 60" triptych, acrylic on cradled birch panels. In private collection in Midland, TX
Wow! I cant believe how fast time flies. The last time I sent you a newsletter I was living in Black Mountain, North Carolina and working in my timber frame studio on two commissioned paintings for the Cherokee Indian Hospital in western NC. But all things in life have a way of changing.

I am now living in Eldorado with my wife and our little rescued Tibetan Terrier mix. It's a "small" community of 6000 inhabitants, many of whom are artists, just outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
The homes are all in the style of the adobe flat roofed homes of the Southwest and each is situated on acreage that allows for viewing vast horizons and big beautiful views of western sunsets and starry skies.
  It has been a learning experience for us to become acclimated to the new rural high desert environment where at any given time coyotes in pairs or even packs of six or more can come trotting down the street or past your windows looking for a rabbit or quail dinner.

Being awakened in the morning by the raucous calls of huge black ravens outside your window is new too.  And of course there is the occasional rattlesnake or bullsnake crossing ones path neither of which I am sure I will ever get used to. There are also bobcats that like to crawl up on the flat roofs to sun themselves and even an occasional mountain lion being spotted in the community from time to time.

Our home is situated at the edge of the community (which was once a vast open cattle ranch) and is next to an open greenbelt that acts as a nature conservancy. Beyond that lie several very large horse ranches. Hiking trails abound everywhere as well as plenty of trails for both mountain and street biking. Twice a year the local Eldorado art organization holds a Spring artist studio tour and a Fall show, neither of which I have been able to find time to be involved in yet. Because the area around Santa Fe and most of northern New Mexico is a haven for artists and craftsmen, every small community or town holds its own artists studio tour throughout the year.

All of these events as well as the annual Indian Market in Santa Fe and the International Folk Art Festival also in Santa Fe provides something artsy happening at any given time.

My wife and I were drawn to the Southwest ever since we started visiting here for my Santa Fe gallery openings three years ago. It didn’t take long to fall in love with the Georgia O’Keeffe terrain, the dry warm climate and the Spanish influenced architecture of Santa Fe and its environs. The blending of three cultures – English speaking, Spanish and the Native Americans – makes the area unique.

Taos Mission made famous by Georgia O'Keeffe painting

With over 200 galleries throughout the town, art museums and international artists’ studios on just about every street, and the surrounding pueblos that are home to some of the most talented potters, weavers, jewelers and sculptors you will ever find, Santa Fe is a mecca for art collectors, art lovers and artists. 
SACRED MESSENGERS, 24" x 36", acrylic on board. In private collection in Tucson, AZ
We are enjoying the lifestyle change, meeting new friends, finding new restaurants and coffee shops and exploring all that is offered in the many art and historical museums. Friday nights usually entail a trip to gallery openings and weekends will find us at the Plaza Indian Market downtown, visiting a new show at a museum, perusing the Farmers Market in the upscale Railyard District, trying a menu at one of the many great restaurants or travelling the countryside discovering new experiences beyond Santa Fe.

My wife and I both enjoy the Netflix series Longmire and when we found out that it is filmed right here in the Santa Fe area we were like little kids searching where the next location was for filming a segment of an episode. No, we haven’t bumped into any of the actors on their days off from shooting but some have been known to show up in downtown eateries. One of our friends we met early on in Santa Fe is actually an actor who has been in several movies and TV series filmed here including Crazy Heart, Breaking Bad, Into The West, Wild Hogs and even had a bit part in Longmire. A great guy and very down to earth we try to have breakfast at a coffee shop with him whenever we can.

My studio is currently in our new home like so many of the artists here in Eldorado and is supplied with the bright, clear light of this region of the country. I have been busy creating new paintings ever since moving in. My work is evolving becoming more influenced by the Southwest. Because of the need by some clients for paintings to fill larger wall space my paintings are growing in size and I have been working on cradled birch panels sometimes in dimensions that far exceed my other work. That said, I continue to work in the smaller sizes because of my trompe l’oeil style where subject matter needs to be actual size as much as possible.
QUAIL HEART, 24"x16", acrylic on board. In private collection in Santa Fe, NM
I recently took part in a three-person show at my gallery in Tucson, Arizona that represents me. Our first venture into the southern part of Arizona and in particular, Tucson, was exciting and was filled with meeting new collectors, other artists and seeing what a large, expansive desert city looks like. We had time to stop in at the Tucson Desert Art Museum to see one of my works hanging in their show there.

Upcoming next month, I will be having a showing of my new paintings at the gallery here in Santa Fe that represents me to coincide with the arrival of hundreds of female Harley Davidson bikers who descend on the town every summer. This year they are invited to my opening since the ‘leader of the pack’ is also a collector of my work. Should be very interesting!

COYOTE NIGHTS, 36"x24", acrylic on board

Since moving here other Asheville artists have made the trip west to relocate in Santa Fe. Our good friend and clay sculptor lives right in Santa Fe near the Railyard District. Another, an encaustic painter, is currently living in the city near an area called Museum Hill and two guys who do some great clay work live right here in Eldorado. It seems many Santa Fe folks are aware of Asheville and refer to it as their small sister city.

It has been fun sharing some of my new experiences of living in this beautiful and cultural area of New Mexico. Check my website for occasional updates and perhaps one day we will see you too in Santa Fe.


Brad Stroman
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Copyright © 2016 Brad Stroman, All rights reserved.

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